Regulators plan to keep using emergency rule on race-dog drug testing
Photo: Van Abernethy

Greyhounds, Southland Park

Gambling regulators this week said they plan to keep using an emergency rule that allows them to continue testing racing greyhounds for drugs.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates gambling through its Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, posted a “notice of renewal” in Thursday’s Florida Administrative Register.

In Florida, live dog racing is still conducted at 12 tracks.

The emergency rule on “Procedures for Collecting Samples from Racing Greyhounds” was adopted late last December.

That was after an administrative law judge struck down the testing program, saying it was invalid. Thursday’s notice said a rule challenge was still pending in the Division of Administrative Hearings.

Judge Lawrence P. Stevenson barred the state from relying on a 2010 testing manual because it wasn’t properly adopted, though as one of the division’s lawyers said, “There aren’t that many ways to do urine collection.”

The emergency rule, for example, includes using “evidence tape” to seal samples and storing them in “lockable freezers” until they’re sent off for testing.

A cocaine-in-dogs controversy came to light in Jacksonville last summer. That in part spurred a constitutional amendment for the 2018 ballot to ban greyhound racing in the state.

Attorney Jeff Kottkamp, who represents the Florida Greyhound Association, has said it has “a zero-tolerance policy for anyone that would give a racing greyhound any illegal substance.” The organization advocates for the state’s race-dog owners and breeders.

Photo credit: Van Abernethy

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected]


2 comments

  • Jennifer Newcome- Committee to Support Greyhounds

    June 21, 2018 at 11:58 am

    A more secure sampling method and chain of custody recording is certainly needed. Look at what happened with the case in Jacksonville last year. When the “positive” sample was sent to another lab for testing, the findings were that the sample contained NO CANINE DNA. How does that happen? Clearly, someone feloniously and maliciously swappped a greyhound sample for a contaminated sample that has been discovered does not contain the DNA of 10+ species. Someone set those people up, now the question is WHO? Could it be the head of the department who oversees the sampling and custody process? It’s quite possible seeing as how he resigned upon hearing that the request was made to have the split sample retested. Could it be the animal activist group leading the charge against racing, who is now represented by that same DBPR employee who resigned upon learning of the intention to have the samples retested? Very possible. It it conspiracy or coincidence? It certainly looks to be the former.

  • steven Grabarczyk

    June 21, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Just don’t understand why the DBPR will not simply do their job as mandated by Statute. It’s simple and backed by scientific experts. The testing cutoff needs to be at 40-50 ng/ml to account for environmental contamination, which contrary to some peoples views, DOES exist and here is the link to educate yourself on the science. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e6f4/2d1c2a90e6d1c69448de396281297c77fc41.pdf This is not some pro or anti racing propaganda, it is scientific facts that certain people will not accept, but offer nothing to refute. That would solve the dilemma on the drug testing at the DBPR, but as indicated by a tainted urine sample that could only have been tampered by a DBPR employee or a track employee, they appear to not be neutral on greyhound racing, which may explain their stubbornness to solve this the simple way.

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