Tennessee HPA Violation Indictment Expanded

A federal grand jury in Chattanooga, Tenn., has returned an indictment that adds charges against three Tennessee residents already accused of violating the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and indicts a fourth Tennessee man in connection with the case.

The previous indictment returned in March alleges that between 2002 and 2010, Spotted Saddle Horse trainer Barney Davis, along with Christen Altman and Jeffery Bradford, conspired to violate the HPA by soring horses. The three are also accused of falsifying forms and other paperwork required under the HPA to exhibit animals.

According to that indictment, Davis allegedly placed bolts in horses' feet, taped blocks to horses' feet, and applied other soring techniques to horses prior to competition. The indictment also alleges that Davis would remove external devices prior to pre-performance HPA compliance inspections, and inject horses with pain reducing drugs to limit the animals' reactions to inspection procedures.

The indictment further alleges that Davis and Altman used others as nominee trainers to obtain trainers' licenses, and that Davis, Altman, and Bradford falsified horse show entry forms and other documents claiming that Bradford and others were trainers of horses actually trained by Davis.

Sharry Dedman-Beard, public information officer for the U.S State's Attorney's Office, Eastern Tennessee District, said the most recent 34-count indictment handed down on April 26 indicts horse trainer Paul Blackburn of Shelbyville, Tenn., in the case. It also contains wire fraud and money laundering charges against Davis and Altman that were not included in the previous indictment.

According to the superseding indictment, Davis, Altman, Bradford, and Blackburn conspired to violate the federal Horse Protection Act by soring horses and falsifying entry forms and other related paperwork.

The superseding indictment also alleges that Davis and Altman defrauded out-of-state clients by collecting payments based on false representations that the training methods applied to the clients' horses would be HPA compliant. Davis and Altman then allegedly used these funds to support their training operation that applied non-HPA compliant training methods including mechanical and chemical soring procedures. The indictment alleges that Davis instructed clients to make checks for training payable to Altman. Altman then allegedly endorsed those checks, which were ultimately deposited into Davis' bank account.

Neither Davis, Altman, Bradford, nor Blackburn were available for comment. They have not appeared in court for arraignment on the new charges.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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