Emergency suspension of second Jax greyhound trainer ordered by state

There are now 24 instances of dogs testing positive for cocaine metabolites in the last nine months that First Coast News has found in its investigation.

A second Jacksonville area greyhound trainer has had their license yanked by the state while a final hearing is still pending.

This suspension comes in the middle of a First Coast News investigation into illegal drugs found in greyhounds racing at Bestbet in Orange Park. 

In June, First Coast News identified over a dozen cases of greyhounds testing positive for Benzoylecgonine (BZE) -- a metabolite of cocaine. 

Trainer Natasha Nemeth has six pending cases before the Department of Business and Professional Regulation's division of pari-mutual wagering (anything you can legally bet on). All six cases involve metabolites of cocaine found in dogs trained by Nemeth between October and July. 

According to the state order, "the division found that immediate serious danger to the public health, safety, or welfare requires the emergency suspension of Nemeth's license."

The state suspended the license of another trainer Charles McLellan in June, also on an emergency basis. 

Bestbet president Jamie Shelton has said greyhound trainers are independent contractors and not employees of Bestbet. Shelton also he does not believe the small amount of cocaine found in the greyhounds indicates they were intentionally drugged.

Bestbet president denies responsibility for greyhounds found with cocaine

Nemeth's license has not been fully revoked, and is only temporarily suspended until the hearings in her cases are complete. 

With 56 scheduled races between July 28 and September 30 at the Orange Park Kennel Club, DPBR said in its order it was necessary to suspend her license on an emergency basis because of an immediate and serious danger to public health, safety, and welfare. Without the suspension, Nemeth would have been able to work as a trainer at any facility in Florida, according to the state order. 

Neither Nemeth nor McLellan face any criminal charges in connection to the DPBR code violations. 

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment