Irish Independent 16/11/04

Column: Dog Chat - John Martin c/o Greyhound Journalist

Article: A & E for 'dopey' handler


One of the country's already over-worked accident and emergency

departments had a rather bizarre admission, this month, to again

underline the extent of the doping problem faced by greyhound authority

Bord na gCon.

A greyhound handler presented himself in considerable pain and was

obliged to related an embarrassing tale to the doctor on duty. Before

leaving for the track, the man had attempted to inject his dog at the

kennel with a prohibited substance. Perhaps the greyhound had been

through the experience before. The dog freaked and the owner managed to

lodge the syringe in his own thigh.

While the circumstances here are extreme, there is no doubt that

administration of dope is a regular feature of greyhound racing in

Ireland. Not all handlers know what they are doing. Some give sedatives

like largactyl to prevent greyhounds giving of their best. Others

administer Viagra in the belief that will quicken the heart rate and

propel the dog from traps quicker than the opposition.

It is a dangerous business and not simply because it is cheating. The

consequences can be far reaching. One Irish greyhound recording fast

times in Britain is believed to have been injected with EPO which it was

not possible to detect. The word is that the side effects were damaging

to the extent the greyhound suffered horrific withdrawal when taken off

the drug.

The knock-on has been seen in poor performances at stud and this is a

pretty unmistakable trend with greyhounds drugged during their racing