Trainer Pleads Guilty, Federal Prosecutors Step Up Horse-Soring Actions

Former U.S. Sen. Joseph Tydings, D-Maryland, wrote the Horse Protection Act when he served in the U.S. Senate from 1965 to 1971. With little funding, however, the act has not been widely enforced, as the Tennessean reports. Tydings said he hopes things are finally about to change, not only because of the release last week of undercover video showing soring and other abuses, but also because of federal prosecutors’ willingness to pursue violations of the act. Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for East Tennessee, and Jerry E. Martin, U.S. attorney for Middle Tennessee, are supportive. “If we get wind of soring, we are going to vigorously pursue the case," says Martin. Today in Chattanooga, Jackie L. McConnell, the horse trainer featured in the video, pleaded guilty to violating the act. He could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Neff said, but prosecutors are recommending probation.