In a shocking case of animal abuse a Greyhound trainer's license has been suspended after 12 dogs under his personal care tested positive for cocaine.
The dogs who were all racers at Bestbet Orange Park, tested positive for Benzoylecgonine (BZE), a metabolite of cocaine.
Carey Theil, Executive Director of GREY2K USA in Arlington, Massachusetts said, “This is the largest greyhound drug case in American history.” GREY2K is a non-profit that opposes greyhound racing and monitors dog tracks around the country. "This is staggering." Theil stated.
Massachusetts State Department of Business and Professional Regulation records show a disturbing 12 dogs in the care of trainer Charles McClellan tested positive for cocaine during a total of 18 individual cases in a 4 month period.
The state requires the Winners of each Greyhound race to submit to drug testing after each race. Urine tests are conducted by the University of Florida College of Medicine’s Racing Laboratory came back positive for BZE, which displays clear cocaine abuse.
McClellan has been given a Class 1 drug violation for each positive test and now faces potential criminal charges for abusing the animals.
Bestbet Racetrack officials not surprising chose to decline requests for an interview,. Michael Munoz, Bestbet spokesman released this statement,
“Bestbet Orange Park completely supports the swift action taken by the state in this matter and as always, fully cooperated with state officials as they conducted their random and routine tests. Bestbet Orange Park maintains a zero-tolerance policy for any trainer or staff member that does anything which puts one of the dog’s health at risk. In this instance, the process carried out by the state of Florida and the regulators was carefully followed under state law. The bottom line is, the system worked.”
Carey Theil says this is misleading stating that, “The track tells the public the dogs are well taken care of at their facility. We’re making sure everything is fine. So they can’t have 18 greyhound cocaine violations and say, 'oh, sorry, it’s not our responsibility.'”
Veteran crime analyst Mark Baughman has said that it looks like the trainer was trying to influence race outcomes. "I would call it a doping case. It's definitely a doping case. They're trying to give that dog a competitive edge."
As per results of the state's investigation, one dog who was victorious actually had cocaine in her system. Flicka, the winning dog, won first place in her race on March 1st. After the race she then positive for cocaine the same day.
They also discovered evidence of cocaine in another dog who was randomly screened named Castle Rock, the following day, March 2.
Then more cocaine positives on March 5th, 15th, 23rd, 27th, 29th and 31st, for Flicka as well as other dogs.
Baughman suggested the continuous presence of cocaine tells a tale of intentional abuse to rig thee outcome of races. "It shows there's been some cocaine administered into that animal, in this case, the dog," he says.