HSUS Undercover Investigation Leads to Animal Cruelty Charges and Grand Jury Indictment


Tennessee Grand Jury Indicts Former Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer Jackie McConnell

Hats off  to the Humane Society of the United States for their undercover investigation of Jackie McConnell and associates' practice of soring horses. Subsequently, a Fayette County Grand Jury has indicted McConnell and two co-defendants on 38 counts of animal cruelty for illegally soring and torturing horses as documented in HSUS' undercover investigation conducted in 2011, and which aired on ABC's Nightline.

A nationally recognized walking horse trainer, McConnell is now notorious for horse abuse following a federal felony conviction for conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act. McConnell has been indicted on 22 counts of animal cruelty in Fayette County, for charges stemming from footage captured by an HSUS  investigator of McConnell and his associates abusing horses and using painful chemicals on horses' legs in a cruel practice known as "soring." Soring is the method trainers use to force Tennessee walking horses to perform the exaggerated, artificial gait known as the ‘Big Lick.' McConnell is already serving 3 years of probation and has been fined $75,000 for his federal felony conviction.

Since 2011, The HSUS has assisted the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tenn., the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of the Inspector General, and the Tennessee 25th Judicial District Attorney General's Office in prosecuting the offenders and assisting in the rescue of horses from McConnell's training operation. In March 2012, eight horses were seized from McConnell's stable following the execution of a search and seizure warrant. At the state's request, and at great expense, The HSUS has been providing the horses with intensive rehabilitative care for the past year and will continue to do so.

Categories: | Breyer_News


BreyerLover2222 Says:
12/14/2016 at 1:42 pm

I hate people who would sore their horses----it is so mean, abusive and cruel, and everyone who does that needs to be stopped!!!!! Thank you to all the places who are helping these poor horses and pressing charges against those who do this!!!!!!

Turfgirl(min) Says:
04/25/2013 at 4:22 am

After the $$$

All of these so called sports like human sports are paying way too much money and encouraging the greed and cruelty .Athletes and trainers will try and get away with whatever to get the $$$$.We cannot complain if we buy the tickets,videos and merchandise.
In the past animals were abused but they were used for transport,work, ploughing, etc before moderner methods.Agree with army vet.When animals in this country are abused for the owners wealth and fame it has yto be stopped .Some of this money that is splurged could feed ppl .There should be limits on breeding etc too.

mccumbers Says:
04/15/2013 at 8:58 pm

This is wrong

@ IssyG.... I totally 100% agree with you. I am a huge fan of Hickstead even if i am a western rider (mostly) and some people on youtube said it was cruel and it was Eric's fault. Reality check people!! Stix died from a aortic rupture. He lived a great life with Eric and his death was quick and painless.....This abuse case however could have been prevented. If owners were smart they would learn to bond and work their horses and actually get better results rather than taking short cuts and trying to save money and get results quicker. But, the horses always lose and to go through rehab to live a normal horse life. I mean if you were a horse do you want to be crammed in a same stall with a 1/2 dozen other horses, given steroids, killed because you are "different"? No not really.

army vet Says:
04/14/2013 at 9:24 pm

I have to agree with breyerluver17. There are so many children/humans etc that are suffering more than these horses. I wish all abuse and suffering could be stopped all at once but its small victories.

Megan Says:
04/14/2013 at 2:18 pm


Now that someone's actually been indited, maybe he'll be punished severely enough to set - not just an example - but a guideline. Now they can go after others who've done the same thing, and start weeding out this reprehensible practice.

While this isn't as bad as starving children or abused children, it's still wrong. Just as we (should) punish people who harm children or other people, we need to start actually punishing people who harm animals.

Chip&Dale Says:
04/14/2013 at 10:53 am

response to breyerluver17

I'm not going to beat you up, because I happen to agree with you. I agree abuses to animals are wretched, and horrible, and should not be tolerated, just as the same treatment should not be tolderated towards PEOPLE. However, many people consider horses livestock. Thoroughbreds are racing machines/money makers. when they no longer make money, they go. it would be nice if there was an "old race horse farm", where it is all good grass, sunshine, and rainbows, so, retired Thoroughbreds could live out their days, but there is not. It is sad, but it is true. Not everyone looks at horses as pets, companions, or good friends.

breyerluver17 Says:
04/13/2013 at 8:24 pm

I know i'm going to get beat up over this, but here is my opinion. They're animals people! No, they should not be treated like that, but they are just animals. They aren't people. Babies are being killed by the millions, but all you hear is "Save the whales!" or "Stop animal cruelty". Again, i don't agree with torturing animals, but let's get our priorities straight.

IssyG Says:
04/13/2013 at 5:57 am


I was never a fan of Tennessee Walking Horses, but after research I found that It's only when you put those massive shoes they do the "Big Lick" thing. Naturally TWHs' gait is quite cool in my opinion. But there are always going to be bad people in different sports and good people too, and sometimes people assume a sport is wrong just because a few people abused it, or something bad happened.
Hickstead was a magnificent horse, when he died some people blamed showjumping. They said "the poor horse died because he couldn't do it any more. show-jumping is cruel and it should be banned!!!", that was an actual quote of someone off youtube. Horse-Racing is probably the worst at being abused. Many horses die, yes, and get slaughtered for being not fast enough and people assume It's horse-racings fault. But (good) owners try to strive for fast and safe racing, and only breed from the best. It's not like they're a bunch of rich people recklessly breeding and running around on horses.
-Back to the point- I hope these rescued horses live out long happy lives!! =) =) =) =)

army vet Says:
04/12/2013 at 7:48 pm


I wish this kind of positive justice was served all over the world. With humans AND animals. It makes me proud to see our justice system giving criminals what they deserve. I deployed to iraq and afghanistan and saw animals suffering just because their owners were too poor to care for them properly. But coming back to the states and seeing these sick people doing this to animals when they have the means to treat them with TLC and love, infuriates me. I am saving money to run a ranch out west for recovering wounded soldiers and i plan on having all the horses on my ranch be rescues. So i can benefit both humans and animals. Keep up the good work HSUS. And BREYER, can you let us know if there is a way to donate to HSUS? I am sure these good samara tins could use it. I would gladly help out these guys monetarily if i could. They are doing fantastic work.

Chloescloud9 Says:
04/12/2013 at 5:54 pm

I hate it when people hurt animals! I couldn't even think of anyone who'd want to do it.... it's so sad

sant Says:
04/12/2013 at 2:16 pm

I hate it when people abuse their horses! Not just their horses, but their animals too! Its just wrong to cause a horse intentional pain! I've been around rescue horses since I was seven, and I'd have to say that they can be some of the best and sweetest horses ever.

breyerfever Says:
04/12/2013 at 10:18 am

Those poor horses!! It makes me really sad when i hear about things like that :( I hope they will be okay.

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