BELL BUCKLE, TN. (Times Free Press) -- Tennessee walking horse trainer Joe Cotten, of Bell Buckle, Tenn., has been suspended for 71/2 years and fined $5,000 by the SHOW horse industry organization for filing false information at a June 15 horse show, according to a news release.

"This is one of the longest suspensions ever issued to a Tennessee walking horse trainer, even longer than what is required by the federal government," said Dr. Stephen L. Mullins, SHOW president. The penalty could be increased after a hearing, Mullins said in the release.

The release said Cotten filed false entry information for five horses at the Liberty Lions Club Horse Show in Shelbyville, Tenn., while on suspension from one horse industry organization and probation with another.

According to the release, Cotten hired Marvin North, a full-time employee of 5-Way Farms, to take his horses through inspection and put them in the ring. Cotten used North's trainer's license number and told North that he would pay any fines the horses received.

Read more on the story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.