Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Twisted Thanksgiving Tale for Tennessee Horses

This might be a little hard to read. It was for me and it's even harder to write about. Tennessee, the Volunteer State, doesn't have such a hot record when it comes to the treatment of animals. Dogs have been set on fire. They have been tossed back and forth like a football and dumped over the side of bridges. And, of course, the whole wide world knows about the abuse of Tennessee Walking Horses, the most gentle breed of horse there is.

Eighty-four horses in Cannon County were found sick, starving and without water. Thanksgiving came for them when the owners were arrested and the horses were trailered to the State Fairgrounds in Nashville where they are being vetted. Volunteers from all over the country are feeding and watering them and doing whatever they can to keep these poor animals alive. None have died so far. Allegedly there had been numerous complaints but apparently the authorities didn't listen or care.

The owners voluntarily went with sheriff officers when they were arrested. I'd like to volunteer to wipe those grins off their faces. What do they think this is? A joke? The guy on the left is dear old dad Charles Howland and that smirky punk on the right is his son Clint. Each face 84 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. God, I hope they fry.


Fairgrounds staff members are looking for supplies to help nurse the horses back to health. They need horse bedding, quality hay and feed for the horses. The volunteers who have worked tirelessly could use a little feed as well and of course money is always a good thing.

•Tennessee State Fairgrounds donation information: 615-862-8980
•The Humane Society of the United States adoption information:

Photo Credits:


  1. Thanks for making us aware of that, Lesley. How can people think these animals are soulless?

    Tom Degan

  2. I agree. How can they? I'm afraid a lot of people consider animals - and children - as property and nothing else.

  3. Hi Leslie,

    Tom passed this to me. Thanks for posting this. It is both devastating and heartbreaking. You hit it right on the head when you said that animals are treated like property. So basically people can pretty much do what they want to their "property." The laws cannot even be counted on to give stiff sentences for this kind of cruelty. Animal cruelty is generally (mostly) treated with misdemeanor charges--a slap on the wrist with a fine. I believe in Tennessee that law enforcement can charge offenders as felonies only if the offense is against a companion animal. That means that these guys will probably serve 0 jail time and have minimal fines - even with all 84 counts. The horses are considered "livestock"--a convenient word that we use to take the "personhood" out of a feeling and thinking living being.

    Link to learn the shocking news on the punishment these guys will face:

    Read and watch here for the full rescue by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)


    We must continue the fight to help children and animals -- the most innocent of all.


  4. Tennessee isn't the only place where there are jerks that treat animals like crap. We had a horse farmer close to my hometown that treated his horses like crap. It took them almost two years to get the horses away from and prosecute him. He got a slap on the wrist. Moved to Missouri and got more horses which he treated like crap. The story ended when he drowned his wife in a pond on his Missouri farm and finally wentto jail. I'll send you his name if you want.

    If someone is cruel to animals it's only a matter of time before they start on fellow human beings.

  5. I'm so glad to hear from you-all (as they say here). I'm going to have to respond tomorrow but I promise I will, so please come back. One thing though, the American Humane Association, which also advocates for abused children, has said for years that children who abuse animals abuse adults later on.

  6. Tracy, thanks for the links. Hadn't seen that particular Humane Society video.

    There are several links to animal cruelty laws by state but I don't know the specifics of TN's law re felony charges. I think you almost have to go to the state gov sites to get detailed info. Interestlingly, Oklahoma seems to have the toughest laws.

    The state fairgrounds are only about a mile from me. My vet said what they really need is feed and money. Lack of funds is why I don't have horses anymore. Will go over tomorrow to at least see if I can muck, feed, or whatever -or maybe even go Monday when a lot of people have to go back to work.

    Sadly, you're probably right about those two jerks getting off scott free. Hopefully the national attention will put a little pressure on the justice system to do what's right, but I don't have a lot of hope. Anyway, I found their smirks infuriating.

    Truth, what a story but I can believe it. Abuse of animals does transcend to abuse of humans. Kids often abuse animals because they have seen their dad beat their mom or they have been beaten. All profoundly sad.