Greyhound Trainer Forged Dead Veterinarian's Name as Proof of Vaccinations, State Says

Categories: Animal Planet

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James E. "Barney" O'Donnell, a man who runs greyhounds at Mardi Gras Racetrack in Hallandale Beach, showed state officials proof that 94 of his greyhounds had had their vaccinations updated and could, therefore, keep on racing.

The problem?

The vet who signed the paperwork has long been dead.

See also: Greyhound Racing Decoupling To Be Decided By Senate Gaming Committee

The state requires that kennels show proof that racing dogs have been vaccinated for things like kennel cough (which sounds pretty horrible), and O'Donnell apparently has been showing proof that from July 2010 to 2011, the dogs had indeed got their shots.

But according to a complaint filed by state regulators, O'Donnell has been forging the signature of a dead Miami vet, Dr. Emilio Vega.

Vega has been dead since June 2010, making it pretty much impossible for him to have signed the vaccination papers in July and onward.

This news comes after it was revealed that O'Donnell was charged with illegally possessing performance-enhancing drugs, hinting that he juiced up his greyhounds like they were A-Rod.

Last year, investigators found hypodermic needles, syringes, and an empty IV bag in a kennel refrigerator where O'Donnell kept his dogs. They also found two Absolut vodka bottles containing anabolic steroids on a kitchen counter. Tests later confirmed that the bottles contained testosterone, boldenone, and androstenedione -- the same crap baseball players like A-Rod put into their bodies (allegedly).

O'Donnell, 84, who is considered one of the country's largest greyhound operators, also races dogs at the Orange Park Kennel Club in Jacksonville and the Derby Lane Kennel Club in St. Petersburg. The state is asking a judge to revoke O'Donnell's greyhound racing license and to fine him $96,000.

In the meantime, the Jacksonville and Hallandale Beach race operators have suspended O'Donnell's contract.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

"If these dogs aren't properly vaccinated, it can cause all kinds of problems,'' said Dan Adkins, owner of the Mardi Gras Racetrack and Casino on Hallandale Beach. "If you're going to do that, what else are you going to do?"

All in all, what O'Donnell's alleged actions show is that greyhound racing is a pretty shady, dirty, inhumane business.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.

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