A Tennessee judge ruled last month to throw out the search warrant in the case against Wheelon, who was accused of soring horses. Wheelon faced multiple charges of aggravated animal cruelty, due to evidence obtained during a search, that the judge deemed unconstitutional.
Blount County Circuit Court Judge Tammy Harrington opined Wheelon’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated by an April 2013 search and raid at his stable. Judge Harrington said authorities did not follow the law by conducting undercover visits when no one was at the farm, prior to obtaining the warrant. There were also issues with the warrant.
The defense sought to suppress evidence resulting from the search warrant.
During the seizure, 19 horses “visibly in pain” were removed from the farm. Wheelon was accused of soring the horses.
Soring is an illegal and abusive method used by some in the gaited horse industry as a shortcut for training. It includes the application of caustic chemicals and painful devices to the hooves and legs of horses to produce the artificial high-stepping “Big-Lick” gait.