Wheelon to Vacate Leased Blount County Barn

Tennessee Walking Horse trainer Larry Wheelon, accused of soring horses in his care, has until June 10 to vacate the barn he leases in Blount County, Tenn.

Soring is the deliberate injury to a horse's feet and legs to achieve an exaggerated high-stepping gait. On the federal level the Horse Protection Act forbids soring, and the practice is also unlawful under Tennessee state statutes.

On April 25, law enforcement and animal welfare authorities removed 19 allegedly sored horses from the barn leased by Wheelon Stables in Maryville. Some of the removed horses belonged to Wheelon's clients and others belonged to Wheelon himself. The horses were transported to a safe location for rehabilitation.

Law enforcement authorities subsequently arrested Wheelon and charged him with one count of felony aggravated animal cruelty. An investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, Blount County General Sessions Court Judge William R. Brewer, Jr. said that on May 9, Wheelon appeared in Blount County General Sessons Count relative to his use of the barn property. During the court session, Wheelon agreed to vacate the barn property by June 10, Brewer said.

“There was not a court order, just an agreement between him and the barn owner,” Brewer said. “If he does not vacate the property by June 10, he could be ordered to vacate.”

Wheelon was unavailable for comment.

Wheelon is slated to appear in General Sessions Court on May 14 in connection with the criminal charge.

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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