published Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Maryville, Tenn., horse trainer facing cruelty charges

  • photo
    Frame captures from video from a Humane Society of the United States investigation show the measures taken to produce the exaggerated stride of Tennessee Walking Horses. In the video, horses are struck with clubs, shocked and have their hooves treated with chemicals and mechanical devices.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — A Maryville walking horse trainer is facing animal cruelty charges for the second time this year.

Larry Wheelon was first charged after officials raided his stables in April, seizing 19 horses. That case was thrown out on a technicality.

The Tennessean reports that on Monday, the Blount County grand jury indicted Wheelon along with Randall Gunter and Brandon Lunsford on criminal charges. They are accused of abusing 16 horses by either chemically burning their legs or irritating their hooves.

The process is called soring, an illegal training method used to force an exaggerated gait.

Wheelon's attorney, Rob White, told the paper the idea that his client had sored horses was "absurd."

Farrier Blake Primm also was indicted, but is named in the case of only one horse.

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