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54 Horses, 7 Goats Rescued from Deplorable Conditions in Giles County, Tennessee

Rescue groups in Tennessee will receive financial assistance from The Humane Society of the United States to care for 54 Tennessee walking horses who were living in filthy conditions and had little-to-no food. The Giles County Sheriff’s Office seized the horses, including stallions, mares, yearlings and foals, on April 14. The owner, Jeffrey Mitchell, has been charged with animal cruelty and surrendered all of the animals to Volunteer Equine Advocates.

Volunteer Equine Advocates, Horse Haven of Tennessee and Safe Harbor Equine and Livestock Sanctuary will nurse the horses back to health and ultimately find them new homes. The HSUS will provide more than $16,000 to assist with the initial care expenses for the horses.

According to reports, Mitchell has prior convictions for cruelty to animals. He also has a history of horse soring activity on his public record and has competed in “Big Lick” horse shows across the southeast, including the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in 2014. These shows are commonly associated with horse soring. For example, in May 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued Mitchell a warning for showing a horse found to be in violation of the federal Horse Protection Act – which prohibits the showing of sored horses. 

This spring, The HSUS expects that legislation will be reintroduced in Congress to bolster the Horse Protection Act. The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act would do away with the failed system of industry self-regulation, increase penalties for horse soring, and outlaw the specific devices used in soring.

Those interested in providing donations for the continuing care of the horses can do so through the organizations’ websites.


Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org

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