Trainer of greyhound on meth to appeal two-year ban

  • 02/05/2018

A veteran Auckland-based greyhound trainer says he will appeal a two-year ban from the track, after one of his dogs tested positive for methamphetamine.

Denis Schofield, who's been a trainer and greyhound owner since 1995, told Newshub the two-year disqualification was "excessive and severe" and could put his entire livelihood at risk.

At the time his greyhound, Zipping Andre, tested positive, it was being looked after by Mr Schofield's son David and two other registered handlers, Ingrid Archer and her son Jacob Hodgson, at a farm in the north Waikato.

In 2011 David Schofield was fined after one of his dogs, Have A Yap, tested positive to amphetamines and in 2016 his handler's licence was revoked.

When investigators visited the farm where David and the two handlers live, all three declined to provide hair samples for drug testing.

The Judicial Control Authority said Denis Schofield didn't see his dogs every day and generally his role was limited to collecting the animals on race day and taking them to the track.

However, as he is the registered trainer, he's ultimately responsible for presenting the dogs in a drug-free state when they race.

The positive result and subsequent punishment is a blow for Schofield, 77, who has a blemish-free record and is well respected in the industry. He told Newshub he was "shocked and shattered" and believed he'd become the "fall guy" and was being discriminated against because of his son's past indiscretions.

The Judicial Control Authority noted in its decision that he had an "exemplary record" and "loss of face" in the industry is in itself a penalty.

But it decided that a two-year disqualification was appropriate to send a message of deterrence.

Greyhound Protection League spokesman Aaron Cross questioned why a greyhound should ever be exposed to any illicit substance, let alone methamphetamine.

"It's time the government did the right thing and developed a strategy for winding this hideous industry down", he said.