Two of 19 horses taken in a raid April 25 on Wheelon Stables were returned to owner Becky Andrews of Maryville Wednesday morning.

Longtime area horse trainer Larry Joe Wheelon, 68, Miracle Drive, Maryville, picked up the two horses in a trailer at the exchange location, McNutt Farms on Old Niles Ferry Road, Maryville.

None of the parties questioned would say whether the two black horses, Jose Happy Feet, with the barn name of Laura Kate, and The Engineer, known as Andy, were going to Wheelon’s new barn on New Blockhouse Road, Maryville. However, they were driven off in a Wheelon trailer pulled by a silver pickup that Wheelon was driving.

Wheelon and two men who work at Wheelon Stables picked up the horses.

On hand was owner Becky Andrews, who brought 4 pounds of carrots as treats for the animals.

Andrews, Wheelon and his attorney, Rob White, signed papers accepting custody of the horses.

Wheelon had been charged with one count of aggravated cruelty to animals for allegedly using the illegal training method of soring. However, Blount County General Sessions Court Judge Robert L. Headrick Aug. 28 dismissed the case after the veterinarian who examined the hoses when they were seized sat in on 30 minutes of courtroom testimony.

Headrick had sequestered those to testify and the vet had arrived late from Mississippi and did not realize Headrick ordered the witnesses to wait in the hall.

Headrick ordered the horses returned to their owners.

Reprinted from The Daily Times: By Iva Butler | (