Walking horse trainer faces state charges after federal case is dropped

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:


SHELBYVILLE, Tennessee––A Blount County grand jury on
December 2, 2013 indicted Tennessee walking horse trainer Larry Joe
Wheelon, 68, and stable workers Randall Stacy Gunter, 44, and
Brandon Randall Lunsford, 32, on 18 counts each of aggravated cruelty
to livestock animals and conspiracy to commit the cruelty.
Each faces 13 felony counts plus five misdemeanor counts.
Farrier Blake T. Primm was indicted for one felony cruelty count
and one misdemeanor conspiracy count, both involving the same horse.
The indictments allege that the four men “Did purchase, mix
and/or apply acid or other caustic substances or chemicals to exposed
areas of walking horses, in a depraved and sadistic manner, without
justifiable or lawful purpose, and did purchase, mix and/or apply
compounds, including blistering compounds, to inflict burns, cuts,
lacerations, or other injuries or pain, to the legs or hooves of
walking horses,” in order to force the horses into a high-stepping
show gait called “The Big Lick.”

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Illegal horse track busted

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:


ALBUQUERQUE––New Mexico State Police, Valencia County
Sheriff’s detectives and the Department of Homeland Security on
November 20, 2013 raided an unlicensed horse racing track near Las
Lunas that had allegedly held twice-a-month racing cards attracting
hundreds of bettors for years.
“The facility includes starting gates and a well-maintained
track surface,” reported Crystal Gutierrez of KRQE-TV in Albuquerque.
“They were set up for photo finishes at the end,” said New
Mexico State Police Major Ryan Suggs.
The raid came a year after KQRE reporter Larry Barker included
the Las Lunas track in an exposé of illegal activities associated with
horse racing throughout New Mexico. “Barker’s undercover
investigation showed it wasn’t just the horses that drew many to the
events; it was also the money. The investigation revealed the jockeys
also scored big, the races were fixed, and horses were often drugged,”
recounted Gutierrez.

Bands bail on SeaWorld

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  November/December 2013:

ORLANDO,  SAN FRANCISCO,  TAIJI––Shortlisted for Oscar consideration as “Best Documentary of 2013,”  the Gabriela Cowperthwaite exposé of SeaWorld Blackfish between November 28 and December 14,  2013 persuaded all six original headline bands and one of the replacements to withdraw from scheduled performances at the SeaWorld “Bands, Brew & BBQ Fest,”  due to begin on February 1,  2014. Read more

BOOKS: Weekends with Daisy

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2013: (Actually published on November 20,  2013.)

Weekends with Daisy  by Sharron Kahn Luttrell Simon & Schuster (1230 Ave. of the Americas,  New York,   NY  10020),  2013.  311 pages,  hardcover.  $26.00.

Weekends with Daisy is a journey into the care and training of puppies who will be placed with disabled people.  Before service dogs enter advanced training,  they live with foster parents for socialization,  housebreaking,  and introduction to public places including airports,  bus stations,  and shopping centers.  Read more

Ivory speculation makes captive elephants in Thailand & India worth more dead than alive

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2013: (Actually published on October 8,  2013)

BANGKOK,  Thailand;  THIRUVANATHAPURAM,  India––Unscrupulous owners of working elephants are increasingly often deciding that the rising cost of elephant care and soaring prices paid by speculators for ivory mean their elephants are worth more dead than alive––and are resisting legislation to protect the elephants,  who have often been illegally captured from the wild. Read more

BOOKS: The Possibility Dogs

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  July-August 2013:

The Possibility Dogs   by Susannah Charleson Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (222 Berkeley Street,  Boston, MA 02116),  2013.  260 pages.  $27.00 hardcover,  $9.45 Kindle.

The Possibility Dogs is a sequel to Texas search-and-rescue dog handler Suzannah Charleson’s 2010 hit,  Scent of the Missing:  Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog.  The Possibility Dogs follows a turn in Charleson’s dog-handling career and interests,  after an especially gruesome search-and-rescue job stresses her so much that she struggled afterward with post-traumatic stress disorder.  Read more

BOOKS: Bloodhound in Blue: The True Tales of Police Dog JJ and His Two-Legged Partner

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  July-August 2013:

Bloodhound in Blue: The True Tales of Police Dog JJ and His Two-Legged Partner by Adam David Russ Lyons Press (246 Goose Lane,  Guilford,  CT  06437),  2013. 273 pages,  hardcover.  $24.95.

Bloodhound in Blue is an action book about Salt Lake City police officer Michael Serio and his canine partner JJ,  a bloodhound who by mid-career was acclaimed as the best search-dog the Salt Lake City police had ever used.  Read more

BOOKS: Trident K-9 Warriors

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  May/June 2013:

Trident K-9 Warriors  by Mike Ritland with Gary Brozek St. Martin’s Press (c/o MacMillan,  175 Fifth Avenue,  New York,  NY  10010),  2013. 272 pages,  hardcover.  $25.99.

A health issue forced Navy SEAL Mike Ritland to retire from active duty.  While serving in Iraq,  the precision of military dogs impressed him.  So Ritland combined his love of dogs and service to the U.S. by forming a company that trains military dogs.  Read more

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