Attorney for Larry Joe Wheelon of Maryville says stable raid warrant invalid
By Iva Butler | (email@example.com)
An attorney for a Maryville man charged with animal cruelty is asking a judge to throw out the search warrant that authorities used to raid his horse stables.
The suppression motion will be heard in the aggravated animal cruelty case against Larry 2Joe Wheelon, 68, at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Blount County General Sessions Court.
Wheelon’s attorney Rob White contends the search warrant used to raid Wheelon Stables, 2743 Tuckaleechee Pike, Maryville, on April 18, was not valid.
Judge Robert L. Headrick is scheduled to rule on the suppression motion on Tuesday. If the motion fails, a preliminary hearing for Wheelon will be heard at 9 a.m. On Wednesday.
The raid search warrant was obtained by Agent Julie McMillan of Nashville, a special agent with the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Also involved in the Walking Horse stable investigation were Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA), the Humane Society of the United States and Tennessee and Horse Haven of Tennessee, a West Knoxville horse rescue group.
A week after the initial raid, the BCSPCA on April 25 seized 19 of the 27 horses at Wheelon Stables.
With the help of the other agencies, the horses were examined and those deemed suffering from soring were loaded in horse trailers and transported to a unspecified horse barn in another county for treatment and care until the case is resolved.
The U.S. Humane Society is paying for the treatment, feed and assorted costs of housing the horses.
Soring is an illegal training method where caustic chemicals and bolts are used to make the horses’ feet sore so that they will step higher, accomplishing the “Big Lick” that helps horses win Tennessee Walking Horse competitions.
Wheelon, of Miracle Landing Drive, Maryville, is free is free on $5,000 bond.
In an interview with The Daily Times on April 26, Wheelon emphatically denied there were any illegal use of such things as bolts to sore the horses he trains.