Skip to content

Blackburn Pleads Guilty To HPA Violations



Editor's Note:  The following news release was obtained from the United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Tennessee.  The violations occurred at a Spotted Saddle Horse Breeders' & Exhibitors' (SSHBEA) sanctioned event.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.-- Paul Blackburn, 35, of Shelbyville, Tenn., pleaded guilty today, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Chattanooga, to conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act. Sentencing has been set for January 23, 2012, at 9:00 a.m., in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga. Blackburn faces a term of up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.

On April 26, 2011, a federal grand jury in Chattanooga returned a 34-count superseding indictment against Barney Davis, 38, of Lewisburg, Tenn., Christen Altman, 25, of Shelbyville, Tenn., Jeffery Bradford, 33, of Lewisburg, Tenn., and Paul Blackburn, 35, of Shelbyville, Tenn., charging them with violations of the federal Horse Protection Act and related financial crimes. Hearings for Davis, Altman and Bradford are scheduled in U.S. District Court, Chattanooga, on November 8, 2011.

According to the factual basis presented during the rearraignment, Blackburn, along with Davis, Altman, and Bradford, conspired to violate the federal Horse Protection Act by “soring” horses and falsifying entry forms and other related paperwork. “Soring” is a unlawful practice where items like bolts are driven into horse’s hoofs, foreign objects are attached to the legs of the animals, or chemicals are used to produce pain and sensitivity to alter the gait of a horse. The altered gait is valued at horse competitions.

This indictment was the result of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General (OIG). The USDA-OIG has the authority to investigate criminal violations of the Horse Protection Act including allegations related to soring and false entries or statements. The OIG investigation of this case was initiated in August 2010.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Neff and Kent Anderson represented the United States.

More Stories

  • Latest_Issue_June_25_18

    Read More
  • Christmas In July schedule update

    The Christmas In July show, scheduled for July 4-5, has modified their original class schedule. Class 32 will now be Amateur Country Pleasure Western and class 9a will be Amateur Country Pleasure English. Read More
  • Supreme Court Decision Holds ALJs Must Be Appointed

    The United States Supreme Court has ruled that Administrative Law Judges must be appointed by the department head and not how they are currently retained by the agency they represent.  The case, Lucia vs. the Securities and Exchange Commission, does not deal with administrative law judges in the USDA, however the ruling could have a major impact on the enforcement scheme currently utilized by the USDA in Horse Protection Act cases. Read More
  • Obituary – Sam Hartsell

    Sam “Shot” Hartsell, age 74, of Newport, passed away Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Knoxville. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nan Hartsell and parents, Floyd and Viola McMahan Hartsell... Read More
  • WHOA announces International judging panel

    The Walking Horse Owners' is pleased to announce the three judges selected by current WHOA members. Charlie Brown, Shelli MeHaffey and Lonnie Messick will officiate the 40th Annual International Pleasure & Colt Championship.

    Read More
  • Savannah Lions Club adds classes

    The 52nd Annual Savannah Lions Club Show, scheduled for June 23 at 6:30 pm, has added two classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • Scrivner selected to judge Mid-South

    The Mid-South Walking Horse Association Show, scheduled for July 14, has selected Dickie Scrivner of Murfreesboro, Tennessee to mark the cards for this year's event. The show will be held at Pugh Bourne Park in Jackson, Tennessee.  Read More
  • Equine Obituary - Gen’s Armed & Dangerous

    The Report has recently learned of the passing of Gen’s Armed and Dangerous. The beautiful stallion was the 1994 Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Champion. Read More
  • Ohio Valley adds class

    Ohio Valley Walking Horse Association show, scheduled for June 23 in Stanford, Kentucky, has added a 4 and Under Trail Pleasure to their show.  Read More
  • Walking For Hope Show updates

    The Walking For Hope show, scheduled for June 16, has selected Chris Zahnd to judge this year’s event. Originally scheduled to start at 4:00, the show will start at 5:00 pm. Read More