Friday, March 18, 2011
Department of Justice
United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee
TRAINERS INDICTED ON HORSE CRUELTY VIOLATIONS
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn - A federal grand jury sitting in Chattanooga, Tenn., returned a four count indictment against Barney Davis, 38, of Lewisburg, Tenn., Christen Altman, 25, of Shelbyville, Tenn., and Jeffery Bradford, 33, of Lewisburg, Tenn., charging them with violations of the federal Horse Protection Act.
All three defendants were arrested and will appear in U.S. District Court today at 4:00 p.m.
According to the indictment, Davis, Altman and Bradford conspired to violate the federal Horse Protection Act by “soring” horses and falsifying entry forms and other related paperwork. “Soring” is a unlawful practice where items like bolts are driven into horse’s hoofs, foreign objects are attached to the legs of the animals, or chemicals are used to produce pain and sensitivity to alter the gait of a horse. The altered gait is valued at horse competitions. Additional allegations are outlined in the indictment, which is on file with the U.S. District Court, Chattanooga.
United States Attorney Bill Killian said, "the alleged violations in this indictment undermine the equine industry and give unfair advantage to some over others, in addition to causing cruelty to the animals. We will always pursue cases involving the falsification of federal records."
The investigation leading to this indictment was conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG). The USDA-OIG has the authority to investigate criminal violations of the Horse Protection Act including allegations related to soring and false entries or statements. The OIG investigation of this case was initiated in August 2010. Special Agent-in-Charge, Karen Citizen-Wilcox, Southeast Region, stated, "The USDA- OIG will continue to aggressively pursue violations of the Horse Protection Act in order to protect horses and competitors from illegal and unfair acts and practices."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Neff will prosecute the case on behalf of the United States.
The public is reminded that an indictment is a form of accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.