A former ‘professional’ greyhound trainer attached to Newcastle stadium, has been jailed for 10 years for supplying cocaine and amphetamine – the second trainer in just over 6 months to be imprisoned for drug offences.
An article in the local press covering the court proceedings, reported Brian Stirling as a ‘respected greyhound racer’ – this is wholly inaccurate and far from the truth.
Brian Stirling was in fact subject to a National Stewards Inquiry on July 12th 2007 where he was found guilty of doping a greyhound – Hillfire Utah – with methylprednisolone. Although not an illegal substance, methylprednisolone is used to mask injuries and the consequences of racing a dog whilst the injury is masked can prove fatal for that dog.
Astonishingly, under the Rules of Racing, doping your greyhound is NOT considered a welfare issue for that animal but merely an issue of integrity whereby illegal gambling practices maybe in force. As a result of the inquiry Brian Stirling was warned off all licensed race tracks and fined £1,000. A punishment which was deemed too severe for the five trainers found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to greyhounds during 2008.
Another ‘professional’ trainer Graham Calvert, who last year attempted to sue William Hill for failing to prevent him from gambling, was also subject to two separate National Stewards Inquiries in 2006 for doping his greyhound Tweedale Scott with methylprednisolone. A more lenient punishment of a severe reprimand and £700 fine was served on Calvert.
As with Stirling, Calvert’s criminal activities led him to court and in 2008 he was jailed for firearms and drugs offences, including possession of cocaine.
Greyhound racing provides an ideal environment for the criminal elements of society to profit from the misuse of drugs.
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