Trainer Sentenced to Prison for Soring Horses

Three defendants including spotted saddle horse trainer, Barney Davis, were sentenced today for horse soring violations.

Davis was ordered by US District Judge Harry Mattice to serve twelve months in prison and to pay a $4,000 fine. When he is released he will serve three years supervised release. The judge also ordered Davis to write an article or help in the production of an educational video showing soring methods and demonstrating how inspectors can better detect sored horses.

During his sentencing, Davis described mechanical devices and chemical irritants used to sore horses and showed examples of chains, bolts, blocks, and eight-pound tungsten shoes used to cause a gaited horse to adopt an exagerated gait for the show ring. He stressed the pervasiveness of soring in the gaited horse industry and testified that horses “have got to be sored to walk,” referring to the exaggerated gait displayed in the show ring.

The Humane Society of the United States announced that it will pay out $10,000 to the person who provided the critical evidence that led to Davis’ arrest and conviction. “We applaud this sentence and are gratified that our reward program has helped bring a soring offender to justice,” said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The HSUS.

Christen Altman and Jeffery Bradford were sentenced to lesser penalties for their crimes. They both were ordered to serve a year probation and pay a $1,000 fine. They must also put together educational articles that discuss the methods of soring, the effects of soring horses, and the types of people who seek out trainers who sore horses.

The three pleaded guilty in November to various violations of the Horse Protection Act. Davis also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit witness tampering in this case.

US Attorney Bill Killian said, “The crimes committed by these individuals are examples of wide-spread problems in the equine industry that give unfair and illegal advantage to some competitors over others, in addition to causing extreme pain to the animals. This issue has our attention and we will continue to pursue violators of the Horse Protection Act to assure fairness in competition and to protect the welfare of the horses that are a symbol of our state.”