Tipster Gets Cash Reward Connected to HPA Violation Case

A tipster has received a $10,000 reward from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for having provided information connected to a high-profile Horse Protection Act (HPA) soring violation case that culminated in the sentencing of three Tennessee residents earlier this week.

In April 2011 a federal grand jury in Chattanooga handed down a 34-count superseding indictment charging Spotted Saddle Horse trainer Barney Davis and three other individuals--Christen Altman, Jeffery Bradford, and Paul Blackburn--with conspiring to violate the HPA by applying soring practices to horses and falsifying forms and other paperwork required to exhibit animals. All four later pleaded guilty to various HPA violation charges. Davis also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit witness tampering in the case. In January, Blackburn was sentenced in the case. On Feb. 27, Davis, Altman, and Bradford were sentenced.

Following the Feb. 27 sentencing, HSUS announced that the unnamed individual who had provided information leading to the arrests and convictions in the case had received a $10,000 cash reward. Keith Dane, HSUS director of equine protection said that organization had a long-standing reward offer to encourage tipsters to report incidents of soring, but had never before made a payout: "This case is the first time anyone has come forward and provided physical or video evidence in a case. The payout is historic."

Law enforcement authorities sometimes encourage organizations and individuals to offer rewards in order to generate leads in criminal and other cases. Atty. Jerry Summers, who represented Christen Altman in the HPA violation case said that while reward offers can benefit law enforcement, those making such offers should be mindful that some tipsters might have "ulterior motives."

"I do not know if that was the situation in the Shelbyville case," Summers said. "But I have great concerns about people who may be involved in illegal practices themselves and get financial rewards for turning in their competitors."

Dane said the HSUS will continue its rewards program for information leading to arrests and convictions in HPA violation cases.

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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