Manawatu greyhound tests positive for methamphetamine after trainer's string of excuses to 'thwart test'

"Methamphetamine can cause agitation, seizures, and even death in greyhounds."
"Methamphetamine can cause agitation, seizures, and even death in greyhounds." Photo credit: Getty Images

Another greyhound racing dog has tested positive for methamphetamine after its trainer offered a number of excuses to "thwart the test".

On June 10, licenced trainer Maree Jeanette Gowan took 'Big Time Cardy' in her vehicle to the Manawatu Raceway and the dog completed a trial before the programme began.

After its trial, a Racing Integrity Board (RIB) steward choose Big Time Cardy to undergo a post-race urine swab - a demand allowed within the racing rules "to ascertain if there are any illicit substances".

But the RIB says Gowan was "unhappy" about the steward's decision and pitched a number of excuses to "thwart the test".

RIB said Gowan didn't agree with the steward's direction as it was only "out of competition".

They added over the course of an hour, Gowan continued giving various reasons as to why she wouldn't comply, first by saying she would not kennel the dog until she received a direction in writing, which isn't a requirement under the rules. Then Gowan claimed the swabbing steward didn't meet with her.

The RIB said when Gowan was told the swab "had to be taken", she said in the meantime she had fed Big Time Cardy half a pie and given it a supplement drink.

"So, she claimed, the swabbing process would not proceed."

But Gowan was told the swab had to continue and offered another excuse - her kennel mat was wet after it'd been left in the rain, meaning she could not kennel the dog.

Gowan was then offered the option of the dog having a blood test instead of a urine swab, which she declined too.

Two hours and 15 minutes after the dog's trial, the urine swab was taken and analysis found methamphetamine and amphetamine in 'Big Time Cardy's' system. Methamphetamine metabolises or breaks down over time to amphetamine.

Gowan said Big Time Cardy was seated on the back seat of her vehicle and the positive test could have been due to traces of methamphetamine around the driver's side.

She had a job working in a laundry and wondered whether some methamphetamine-contaminated items might have got onto her body or hands.

"The presence of methamphetamine traces in the front cab of Ms Gowan's vehicle reinforces the finding that someone, somehow associated with the training operation, had an involvement with methamphetamine prior to 10 June 2022," the RIB report stated.

Gowan was liable due to being the trainer of Big Time Cardy and the greyhound was disqualified from its trial race on June 10.

A penalty decision is yet to come while the Adjudicative Committee waits for submissions from the informant and respondent.

SAFE for Animals campaigns manager Anna de Roo said methamphetamine detections are the result of "extreme negligence".

"Methamphetamine can cause agitation, seizures, and even death in greyhounds."