Manawatu Standard

Winning greyhound tests positive for meth

- Martin van Beynen

A leading trainer has been disqualifi­ed for four months after one of her greyhounds tested positive for methamphet­amine (meth) and amphetamin­e.

Foxton trainer Angela Helen Turnwald lined up Zipping Sarah, owned by a syndicate, at the Canterbury Greyhound Racing Club on November 12 last year.

The greyhound finished first, winning a stake of $4011.

Turnwald pleaded guilty to failing to produce Zipping Sarah free of a prohibited substance for the race. The stake money was not paid, and she was also fined $3500.

The greyhound has come first, second or third in nearly half of its nearly 300 races.

It is the third doping case in the greyhound racing industry in the last six months, according to animal rights organisati­on Safe.

In a decision released this week, the Judicial Control Authority (JCA) said it could not establish who or how the drug was administer­ed, but it had to impose a sentence to ensure trainers were vigilant and took precaution­s to ensure their greyhounds did not consume prohibited substances before a race.

The decision comes only weeks after Racing Minister Grant

Robertson announced a review into animal welfare in greyhound racing, which has been plagued by allegation­s of excessive dog euthanasia, high numbers of injuries and unaccounte­d-for dogs.

The authority heard Zipping Sarah was driven to Addington in Christchur­ch by Turnwald’s partner, a licensed kennel hand, who stopped for a few hours at a friend’s house in Kaiapoi where it got some exercise.

Turnwald initially claimed the meth could have come from syndicate members who patted the dog after the race.

It was said some syndicate members – not identified – had smoked the drug hours before the race.

This defence was abandoned after the Racing Integrity Unit brought expert evidence that showed the vast majority of the meth must have been ingested before the race meeting.

JCA panel chairman Warwick Gendall QC said the ‘‘surmised defence was untenable speculatio­n’’.

Methamphet­amine, a potent central nervous system stimulant, posed significan­t animal welfare issues and the level of amphetamin­e was ‘‘particular­ly large’’, Gendall said.

Gendall said no deliberate wrongdoing had been establishe­d, but deterrence was ‘‘crucial’’.

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