Three Plead Guilty in HPA Violation Case

A Tennessee gaited horse trainer and two other individuals have pleaded guilty to charges that they conspired to violate the Horse Protection Act (HPA) by soring horses.

In March a federal grand jury in Chattanooga, Tenn., handed down an indictment alleging that between 2002 and 2010, Spotted Saddle Horse trainer Barney Davis and two other individuals--Christen Altman and Jeffery Bradford--conspired to violate the HPA by applying soring practices to horses and falsifying forms and other paperwork required to exhibit animals. On April 26 the jury handed down a 34-count superseding indictment also charging horse trainer Paul Blackburn in the case. The superseding indictment also contained wire fraud and money laundering charges against Davis and Altman that were not included in the previous indictment.

On Oct. 18 Blackburn pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the HPA.

On Nov. 8 Davis, Altman, and Bradford also pleaded guilty to the HPA violations, said Sharry Dedman-Beard, public information officer for the U.S State's Attorney's Office, Eastern Tennessee District. Davis also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit witness tampering in the case.

Davis faces penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, Dedman-Beard said. Altman and Bradford each face a term of one year in prison and a $3,000 fine. Sentencing for Davis, Altman, and Bradford is slated for Feb. 13, 2012, in the U.S. District Court in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Attorneys for Davis, Altman, and Bradford were unavailable for comment.

Teresa Bippen, vice president of Friends of Sound Horses, praised the Department of Justice (DOJ) for its work on the case.

"We are extremely pleased with the work done by the DOJ," Bippen said. "A lot of investigative work was necessary in this case, and they did a wonderful job."

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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