NASHVILLE (AP) -- The federal government will implement a new rule mandating stiffer penalties for horse soring and other related violations.
According to The Tennessean, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new rule will require organizations that inspect horses to assess minimum penalties to violators of the Horse Protection Act, including violations from soring Tennessee Walking Horses.
Currently, outside organizations licensed by the USDA and certified by the department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service can inspect horses for soring and other violations. The new rule would require these organizations to assess the same level of federally mandated penalties in any horse show they are inspecting.
Soring is pouring caustic chemicals on the hooves and lower legs of horses to induce the high leg kick that wins prizes in competitions.
Last month, the Humane Society of the United States released a video showing Collierville trainer Jackie McConnell abusing and soring horses. The video first aired on ABC's "Nightline."
McConnell later pleaded guilty to federal charges of violating the Horse Protection Act. He will be sentenced later.
The new final rule will be published by the government Thursday and will take effect July 9, The Tennessean reported Tuesday. This would be in time for the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville in late August-early September.
The paper quoted the USDA as saying any violation of the Horse Protection Act will now require the horse in violation to be dismissed from the show.
If the horse is shown to be sore, the new rule also will require those responsible for the soring to be suspended from participating in shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions. The suspensions would increase in length based on the prior number of violations per individual.