Sheriff says he's against PAST Act, despite Facebook photo

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The way that Facebook inserts photos in posts is being blamed for a misunderstanding on a public official's position on legislation affecting the horse industry.

Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce issued a statement denouncing what he called false accusations that he supported the PAST Act. The sheriff referred to a link that Marty Irby, U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield's press secretary, posted on Facebook on April 23.

Irby's post referenced a letter the National Sheriffs' Association sent to Whitfield and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte in support of the PAST Act, which is also called the Whitfield Amendment to the Horse Protection Act.

Industry backed

"Our county relies heavily on the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and I support the industry and all of the citizens of Bedford County that are impacted by it," Boyce wrote in his letter. "Any statement to the contrary is simply not true."

Irby said that he was simply reposting a link to Billy Go Boy, a blog about the walking horse industry, and that the picture that showed up was part of Facebook's algorithm of suggested art.

"I never made any statement about him," Irby said of Boyce. The photo "is what Facebook automatically places in when you repost the article."

Link's photo

The link shows a still image of Boyce taken from a television newscast. It was posted on the blog as a mugshot of the sheriff.

Boyce said in his letter that he is not a member of the National Sheriffs' Association.

"I have not spoken with Marty Irby regarding the PAST Act and do not endorse this piece of legislation," he said.