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☛ Manion appealing to NCHA Appeal Board 8-28-17

TOMMY MANION APPEALING HIS ANIMAL-ABUSE CASE TO NCHA APPEAL BOARD

By Glory Ann Kurtz
Aug. 28, 2017

For all of you wondering what is happening in the Tommy Manion animal-abuse case within the NCHA, the Executive Committee evidently found him guilty as, according to a Facebook posting by NCHA Vice President Ron Pietrafeso, Manion then appealed to the Grievance Committee.

After the Grievance Committee heard the case, they obviously also found him guilty as now Manion is appealing that decision to an Appeal Board which is included in the 2017 NCHA Rule Book.That Board is appointed by the NCHA President and will have a minimum of five (5) and a maximum of nine (9) members. Each member must be in good standing of the NCHA. A majority Of the committee members shall constitute a quorum for hearing purposes.

Click for NCHA Rule Book on Special Hearing Committee>>

 

Background of the case:

For those of you who don’t know the background on this animal-abuse case, I previously wrote an article stating that on Saturday July 15, Tommy Manion, a top Non-Pro, shot a tied-up unruly stallion multiple times with a BB pistol at an NCHA cutting at Whitesboro, Texas. A member took a video of the event and called NCHA’s Director of Judges Russell McCord, who told him, “to do whatever it took to stop it and and make the person shooting the horse leave,” which the caller did.

I talked to several witnesses who all told me that Manion not only shot the stallion with a BB pistol but at one time had the pistol under a jacket draped over his hand, dropped it on the ground and bent over to pick it up – all of which is shown on the video.

The shooting was definitely against the NCHA’s highly advertised ZERO tolerance “horse-cruelty” policy.

After receiving and confirming the reported horse abuse by Manion, I reached out to Rick Dennis, a Threat Assessment/Risk Analyst who is also a former Drug Enforcement Agent, for clarification of penalties resulting from Manion’s actions – for Manion, those who witnessed the event and the NCHA committees that are now determining Manion’s fate.

Essentially, Rick informed me there are two laws in play here, one Federal, the other state, as well as two NCHA rule infractions.

The Federal Law:

There is a little-known Federal Law entitled 18 USC 4 – Misprision Of A Felony, which specifically states:  “Whoever having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.” Animal abuse is now a Federal Felony with hefty fines and prison sentences.

The State of Texas law:

Also, the State of Texas Animal Cruelty Law, which rates animal abuse as a Felony, states those prosecuted could be punishable by two years in a state jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

Therefore, since the NCHA has already been notified of the animal cruelty case, along with being supplied with a video of the act, Manion has placed the association in a precarious spot, as whoever doesn’t report this gross violation to law enforcement in accordance with the provisions set forth in the USC 4 Code -Misprision of a Felony – is in direct violation of the federal law and could be subjected to arrest and prosecution themselves at a later date.

This includes Russell McCord, who received the phone call, as well as the Executive Director and the entire Executive Committee who met after being informed of the incident and who determined their association’s punishment for the offense – and possibly even the lawyer who was informed of the infraction and gave the Executive Committee advice, as well as show management.

Difference of penalties between NCHA and governmental agencies:

The other curious nature of Manion’s act is the two violations in the NCHA Rulebook pertaining to animal abuse and cruelty and how they differ from Federal and State laws.

More specifically, the NCHA Rulebook states “if show management or a judge at any NCHA-approved or sponsored event discovers inhumane treatment or abuse of a horse, they may immediately bar the responsible party and contestant’s horse from further competition in the event and the judge will give a score of zero. The Executive Director must be notified within seven (7) days of the closing date of the show involved and the complaint will be referred to the appropriate NCHA Committee for investigation and consideration. Note: the Federal law says “as soon as possible It must be made known to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States and (the person) is to be fined or  imprisoned for not more than three years.”

While the NCHA disciplines animal cruelty by offense with a fine ($1,000 to $10,000), probation and/or suspension, the State of Texas Animal Cruelty Laws say that the perpetrator could be punished by two years in a state jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

Also, the NCHA should make sure that the abused animal is made available as soon as possible to a licensed veterinarian for any damage that has been done, especially since the person who described the incident to me said the when the BBs hit the stallion, he crouched and his body shook in fear.

What has been done?

According to a notification on the NCHA website, the NCHA has fulfilled its obligation to satisfy the Misprision of a Felony law by submitting a complete evidence package in this matter to the District Attorney in the county where the animal abuse violation occurred.

The notification further stipulates the District Attorney has provided the evidence to the Sheriff’s Office in this county for investigation as well as referral of criminal charges (where warranted).  Further, I’ve learned the SPCA is also investigating this matter.

Notwithstanding, there are two motivating factors: 1) The ZERO Animal Abuse policy rule violations of the NCHA and 2) Criminal charges (where warranted).  Each entity operates separate and apart from each other. In other words, the NCHA has to make a decision and law enforcement has to make a decision. The incident becomes problematic for the NCHA due to existing membership rules and member opinion.

In my opinion, the NCHA should be commended on the “fast track” this incident has been placed on and a final decision should be determined on prima facia evidence (only) and regardless of Manion’s financial affiliations with the NCHA. After all, a rule violation is a rule violation. Evidence is evidence. A decision should be made on the facts of the case, and the facts alone.

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