The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating the case of a greyhound trainer whose dog tested positive for methamphetamine last year.
In November, Angela Turnwald’s dog ‘Zipping Sarah’ was found to have a “particularly large” amount of methamphetamine in her system after winning her race at Addington.
Turnwald was fined $3500 by the Judicial Control Authority and was banned from racing for four months, but MPI, which has the power to prosecute when animals are harmed, did not pursue the case.
In an email to the Greyhound Protection League last week MPI said it did not follow up on the case because “MPI has no evidence to suggest the pain and suffering of the dog was at a level to warrant the application of an animal welfare act offence.”
But MPI told 1 NEWS this week that email was a mistake.
“The email you refer to was inaccurate in its description of MPI’s involvement in this case and was a result of human error. We apologise for that mistake,” Director of Compliance Gary Orr said.
“This case was not reported to MPI and as such, it is accepted the comment that there was 'no evidence' could be misconstrued as there has been no investigation by MPI.”
Orr says although the Judicial Control Authority was the appropriate authority at the time, MPI is now looking into the case.
“MPI is now reviewing and assessing all available information with regard to this case.”
Emily Robertson from the Greyhound Protection League says they welcome action from MPI, “as long as it’s thorough”.
“In their responses to us they’ve basically said they’ve delegated investigation responsibilities to the Racing Integrity Unit. You shouldn’t be delegating an investigative function to an organisation that has no focus on animal welfare.”