Horse trainer indicted again for animal cruelty

Dec. 4, 2013 at 3:45 PM
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MARYVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A Tennessee Walking Horse trainer and show judge was indicted by a Blount County, Tenn., grand jury on animal cruelty charges for a second time.

Larry Joe Wheelon, 68, of Maryville, Tenn., and three others are accused of applying acid to the horses "in a depraved and sadistic manner," the indictment, delivered Monday in Maryville, reads.

Unscrupulous trainers burn horses' pasterns, the area of the legs immediately above the hooves, to induce the breeds' longer and higher gait, a process caller soring, the (Nashville) Tennessean reported Wednesday.

Similar charges were filed against Wheelon, a former ethics committee member of the Walking Horse Trainers Association, in the spring, but were dismissed after a prosecutor's procedural mistake during a preliminary hearing in August, the report said.

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