Former employee describes horse whipping incident at Pigeon Forge stables

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Former employees of Goldrush Stables said they asked the owner to fire David Allen Whaley back in May, after they caught him on video whipping a horse several times in less than a minute. The video was only recently released, but, according to Kaylee Guinn, she said the video was from May.

“It’s very easy for things like this to go unnoticed,” Guinn said.

Guinn said she has been around horses her whole life which included her time at Goldrush Stables from Oct. 2021 through May 2022. Guinn said it was shocking to see Whaley whipping the horse after seeing the video.

“They’re tourist horses. They’re somebody else’s property. If they’re willing to do this to someone else’s property, what would you do to yours,” Guinn said.

Guinn said that she, along with other employees who were let go since the video was taken, asked owner Peggy Wilson several times to let go of Whaley for the way he treated the horses.

“We see that that was the necessary step,” Guinn said.

Wilson said on a phone call that the former employees putting the video on social media was retaliation because she fired them. She said she found out about the video back in May and scolded Whaley and chose to keep him on staff. After the video was released, she felt she had to fire him.

Guinn said it was the best decision to help protect the animals.

“We did try to keep it out of the public eye. We tried to make this a personal issue between the employees and owners of the stable but after our efforts failed while we were still there once we were relieved we had to step out and speak up,” Guinn said.

Whaley was arrested by Pigeon Forge Police for animal cruelty. Police said someone did check out the horse in the video and it appeared to have no injuries.

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