ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A veteran greyhound trainer had his license revoked after several of his dogs tested positive for cocaine.
At least five greyhounds competing in races at St. Pete's historic Derby Lane race track tested positive for the drug. All five belong to Malcolm McAllister, a trainer with nearly 40 years of experience in the sport.
"Unfortunately it happens more often than you would think. In the state of Florida they have found cocaine metabolites in 46 greyhounds since 2008," said Don Goldstein, who has rescued former racing greyhounds for more than 25 years.
The State of Florida's division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, part of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, conducts random screenings of greyhounds that compete in Florida's 12 greyhound tracks. Urine samples are tested by the University of Florida's College of Medicine. So far in 2017, eight tests have come back positive for cocaine, including six samples from McAllister's dogs.
McAllister did not dispute the state's allegations and waived his right to a hearing. In a written response to the state, McAllister denied he had a hand in doping his own dogs.
"I had four different helpers in this time frame. One of those undesirables had to have either dropped or administered the cocaine. My only plead [sic] is that it was not me," McAllister wrote in a document obtained by FOX 13.
"It's beyond me how that could be found as an excuse. Whether they were intentionally giving the dogs cocaine, which would just be evil in my opinion, or whether they just left it laying around. It's hard for me to imagine how that could happen," said Goldstein.
Derby Lane said each greyhound contracted to race at its track is provided with kennel facilities. Dogs have access to their individual kennels, a turnout, and the track, but do not go home with handlers or trainers.
"Kennel Owners are expected to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the American Greyhound Council and the National Greyhound Association, as well as Derby Lane track rules and policies. Greyhounds are monitored by the State of Florida Dept. of Business and Professional Regulation. In a perfect world, there would be no need for rules, but those that don't comply are dealt with and are not welcome to race at Derby Lane, " a Derby Lane representative said in a statement.
McAllister did not respond to requests for comment. His state Pari-Mutuel license has been permanently revoked. (Read the order here.)