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Hard luck for greyhound trainer who doped his dogs with Viagra

A greyhound trainer and his kennel hands have been banned for doping their dogs with sex drugs.
© Greyhound Board of Great Britain - Twitter

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain has fined and banned a greyhound trainer and his kennel hands after the outfit was found to have “routinely” doped their dogs with people drugs.

By G. John Cole, 4 Jun 2019

Richard Whelan’s greyhounds were regularly given erection pill Viagra and birth control drugs at his facility in Ormskirk, Lancashire.

Dopey men

The sex drug Viagra is believed to increase a greyhound’s heart rate and blood pressure, giving him an unfair advantage over his fellow greyhounds. The pill’s active ingredient, Sildenafil, was found in a sample taken from the racing hound Skywalker Stevie in 2017.

Nine other dogs in Whelans care were variously found to have consumed birth control chemical norethisterone or pig sedatives. Birth control pills are used to allow female dogs to run while on heat, while the pig medicine slows dogs down – allowing trainers more control over race results.

Gary Morley, Barry Murphy, Ian Orr, and Jake Parkinson were reprimanded alongside Whelan, who claimed that rival kennels may have spiked his dogs. He said that it was “very strange” that his dogs were found in the condition they were. The doors to the kennels at Hall Green racetrack in Birmingham, where the dogs ran, were said to be unlocked between races.

“A lot of people did not like us training dogs,” Whelan told the Mirror. “We were very good at training dogs. We had a lot of winners.”

Whelan further claimed that he only handled the “money side of the business.” The board said that he had placed “reckless trust” in his handlers.

“The regime at the kennels was one in which the abuse of doping substances was frequent, if not routine,” the authority’s scientific advisor, Tim Morris, said.

Hairy situation

Leonas Lark, one of Whelan’s champion dogs, was found to have ingested minoxidil, which is used in human men’s hair loss treatment. It seems that Lark used it to boost his track performance rather than to restore his lustrous, virile look.

Whelan and his assistants were each fined £5,000 for the caper and banned from the so-called sport. It is just the latest scandal to hit a daft and corrupt money-spinning pastime after dogs were recently found to have been coked-up ahead of racing.

“In our view, race-fixing and doping is commonplace,” said Rita James, of greyhound protection group CAGED. “People are putting dogs at risk to line their own pockets.”