Trainer Jackie McConnell barred from owning horses after abusing them

July 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM
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SOMERVILLE, Tenn., July 10 (UPI) -- Jackie McConnell, a once-celebrated trainer in Tennessee, has been barred from owning horses for 20 years after admitting mistreating Tennessee Walking Horses.

McConnell, who pleaded guilty to 12 misdemeanors at Tuesday's hearing, was also fined $25,000, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported. He will be in his 80s before he is legally able to own horses.

"Our primary focus was to seize and protect the abused animals and prohibit Jackie McConnell from being in a position to abuse animals again," District Attorney General Mike Dunavant said. "That's effectively a lifetime ban. It puts him out of the walking horse training business."

An investigator for the Humane Society of America secretly filmed McConnell "soring" horses, burning their lower legs to accentuate the distinctive walking horse gait.

McConnell was given three years federal probation and a $75,000 fine last year.

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration removed McConnell from its Hall of Fame and has barred him from its grounds in Shelbyville. The Celebration, held every year at the end of summer, has also begun testing horses for soring.

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