Winning greyhound tests positive for meth
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’’.