published Friday, April 26th, 2013

Blount County, Tenn., trainer charged with cruelty to horses by soring

A Blount County horse trainer was arrested on a felony animal cruelty charge and 19 horses were seized from his stables Thursday, marking the second time in as many years that a prominent figure in the Tennessee walking horse industry has been charged for alleged “soring” abuses.

The trainer, Larry Joe Wheelon, 68, is charged with one felony count of animal cruelty, with additional charges pending, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Thursday’s seizure came a week after U.S. Department of Agriculture agents and Blount County authorities executed a search and seizure warrant at Wheelon’s barn on Tuckaleeche Pike in response to an anonymous tip.

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