Greyhound Tests Positive for Meth, Trainer Disqualified and Fined

Posted on: April 28, 2021, 04:15h. 

Last updated on: April 28, 2021, 07:42h.

A New Zealand greyhound trainer whose winning dog tested positive for methamphetamine begins a temporary disqualification on Friday.

A greyhound bolts ahead of other dogs in a legal race. After a dog-doping incident, the industry is under investigation in New Zealand. (Image: Newsweek)

Trainer Angela Helen Turnwald is disqualified for four months and has been fined the US equivalent of about $2,530, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Turnwald’s 3-year-old greyhound, Zipping Sarah, finished first in a race on Nov. 12 at Addington Raceway in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The winning stake, about $2,879 in US currency, went unpaid after Zipping Sarah tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine in a post-race urine sample, the newspaper reported.

Warwick Gendall, who serves on a Judicial Control Authority for Racing panel, said the drug sample discovered in the dog was “particularly large.”

Methamphetamine is a potent central nervous system stimulant which poses significant animal welfare issues,” he said.

Authorities said it was unclear where or when the drug was administered and who might have been responsible for it. Racing regulators ruled that Turnwald did not carry out “a deliberate wrongdoing,” the newspaper reported. 

Prior to this, Turnwald had a “blameless record over a lengthy period of training greyhounds,” according to the newspaper.

A licensed kennel hand had brought Zipping Sarah and another dog to the track on the day of the race. This person had stopped for a brief period on the way to the track to visit a friend, the newspaper reported.

The incident prompted Minister for Racing Grant Robertson and others to call for a government review of the greyhound racing industry. He said he would consider shutting down the industry in light of “far too many incidents” that have led to dog deaths and injuries.

Dogs Drugged with Cocaine

Dog doping incident have occurred elsewhere in the industry.

From 2008 to 2017, Florida’s racing industry had 46 cases of greyhounds testing positive for cocaine, a stimulant, according to the Associated Press.

Florida officials in 2017 revoke a trainer’s license after five of his greyhounds tested positive for cocaine.

In November 2018, Florida voters approved Amendment 13 to ban the sport at the end of 2020. The last race was held in December.

Dog racing had been legal in Florida since 1931. At one time, the state had 11 of the 17 dog tracks in the nation.

With the ban in Florida, legal wagering on dog races is only occurring in Iowa, Arkansas, and West Virginia.

Soon Down to One State

By the end of 2020, West Virginia is expected to be the only state with legal greyhound racing.

In Iowa, a subsidy to the greyhound industry sunsets in December 2022. This is expected to finish off dog racing in that state.

At Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis, Ark., dog racing is expected to be phased out by Dec. 31, 2022. Southland is across the Mississippi River from the larger Memphis, Tenn., metropolitan area. 

With this phasing out, the number of dog races at Southland is going from 6,656 in 2019 to 2,662 in 2022, according to media accounts.