2 May 2018

Greyhound meth scandal: 'simply shocking'

7:16 pm on 2 May 2018

The Green Party wants a ban on the greyhound racing industry in New Zealand if animal welfare standards do not improve.

Greyhound racing

Greyhound racing. (file photo) Photo: 123RF

A greyhound trainer was disqualified from racing for two years after their dog was found to have traces of methamphetamine and amphetamine in its system following a race last year.

Animal Welfare spokesperson Gareth Hughes said it was unacceptable for a trainer to treat their dog that way.

"It would be absolutely unacceptable for a human athlete to take performance enhancing drugs.

"We know that meth is a scourge in our community and it's simply outrageous to think that a owner would be doing it to their own dog to get a competitive advantage, is simply shocking and has no place in New Zealand."

Animal Welfare group SAFE echoed Mr Hughe's sentiment, adding that last year 500 or 600 racing dogs were euthanised, but only 50 of those were put down because of track injuries.

The greyhound, named Zipping Andre, won a race in Cambridge, Waikato, on 29 December last year but after the race tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine.

As a result, New Zealand's Judicial Control Authority for Racing decided to disqualify 77-year-old owner Denis Schofield's dogs from competing for two years.

It also ordered the $1322 winnings of the December race to be repaid, and ordered costs of $1035 to be paid.

Even though Mr Schofield was the registered trainer, the summary of facts showed it was his son David Schofield who did the actual training and worked the greyhounds, while Denis Schofield's Auckland home was about 100km away from the Waikato training facility.

When questioned on the December 2017 incident by investigators, David Schofield made comments about the greyhounds being "nobbled" either in the carpark of the Waikato Greyhound Racing Club or once they had been kennelled by someone who did not get on with his father.

David Schofield had been fined in 2011 when one of his dogs tested positive for amphetamine.

David Schofield, who has been in the industry for 15 years, was quoted in the judgment as being devastated by the decision.

"Mr Schofield said any loss of public training privileges would be devastating on his family financially and would create substantial stress and hardship, as he was approaching 78 years of age and the 35 greyhounds he owned were his only income," it read.

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