published Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Shelbyville, Tenn., man guilty in horse abuse case

A Shelbyville, Tenn., man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Chattanooga to conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act, U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Sharry Dedman-Beard said in a news release.

Paul Blackburn, 35, faces up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine, Dedman-Beard said. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2012.

Blackburn, as well as Barney Davis, 38, Christen Altman, 25, and Jeffery Bradford, 33, were indicted in Chattanooga’s federal court on April 26 on charges of violating the federal Horse Protection Act and related financial crimes, Dedman-Beard said. Hearings for Davis, Altman and Bradford are scheduled for Nov. 8.

According to the factual basis presented when Blackburn, Davis, Altman and Bradford were rearraigned in this incident, the four engaged in “soring” horses and falsifying entry forms and other related paperwork, Dedman-Beard said.

Soring is an illegal practice where items like bolts are driven into horses’ hooves, foreign objects are attached to animal’s legs or chemicals are used to produce pain and sensitivity to alter horses’ gaits, Dedman-Beard said.

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