Walking horse trainer, stablehands to be sentenced

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A walking horse trainer and two stablehands who were caught abusing horses in an undercover video are to be sentenced in federal court in Chattanooga.

Prosecutors have recommended five years' probation for Jackie McConnell, whose Whitter Stables in Collierville was the subject of the video. It shows McConnell and others applying caustic substances to horses' legs and hooves and beating the horses to make them stand.

The illegal process is called soring and is used to enhance the horses' high-stepping gait.

Prosecutors said sentencing limitations left them no choice but to recommend probation for McConnell, although he could also be fined up to $250,000.

McConnell, Jeff Dockery and Joseph Abernathy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act. They are scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday.

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