Greyhound Jetsun Singer had to be put down after the dog’s trainer failed to seek proper treatment for his pressure sores. Photo/GRNZ
A greyhound trainer gave his sick dog antibiotics he had been prescribed for a lung infection, instead of taking him to the vet for pressure sores, resulting in the destruction of the animal.
“I should have gotten the right antibiotics from the vet,” Howard Scott told investigators after his dog had to be put down due to injuries.
Instead of getting the right medication for his racing greyhound Carrie – or Jetsun Singer as she was known at the track – Scott gave her antibiotics her doctor had prescribed for a lung infection months earlier.
Racing Integrity Board investigators found the dog with three pressure sores during an audit on Scott’s property in Tokoroa in June this year.
Scott told investigators he noticed Carrie was chewing her wounds and they were getting worse but her car wouldn’t start, so he didn’t take her to the vet.
The attending vet noted in his report that failure to take the dog to a vet and administer his own antibiotics amounted to “gross negligence” on Scott’s part.
Scott told investigators that after he noticed Carrie was licking her hips so much that the skin was turning pink, he started administering antibiotics twice a day and wiping the area with sterile wipes he got from his veterinarian a year earlier.
He denies that Carrie was in pain or showed any signs of pain, but acknowledged that failure to seek veterinary advice was a factor that ultimately led to her being destroyed.
The RIB vet said underlying muscle and tissue was exposed in the dog’s wounds and “a foul odor indicated significant necrosis [dead] tissue was present”.
“Mr. Scott reported that Jetsun Singer was chewing his wounds, he noted that they were getting worse. Mr. Scott’s only treatment was to give him his own antibiotics, and they were clearly ineffective,” the vet said.
Since the incident, Scott told investigators he hasn’t raced any of his other 11 greyhounds “because it doesn’t seem fair until this process is complete.”
“I quickly admitted to those present at the kennel audit visit that I had been negligent in the steps taken to care for Carrie,” he said in his remarks to the board. .
“I acted quickly on the recommendation of Dr Joan Hessell and took Carrie to South Waikato Veterinary Services that day, June 27, 2022.
“It is after long discussions with [his vet] that I made the difficult decision to have Carrie euthanized rather than prolong her suffering.”
Scott told the board he was devastated and fully accepted he had made a mistake and should have sought the vet’s attention sooner when it became apparent Carrie needed treatment.
He has a previously spotless record on audits and no animal welfare charges have been brought against him in 23 years of dog keeping.
However, the RIB rated the offense as “at the high end of seriousness” and banned Scott from racing for two years.
“He knew, or should have known, that his greyhound was exhibiting symptoms or behavior that required appropriate veterinary treatment.
“But rather than seek help from a professional vet, he opted to administer antibiotics previously prescribed to him by his GP.
“No doubt he could [mistakenly] thought he was doing the right thing, but he did it without considering the risks or consequences involved.”
Earlier this month, two Taranaki trainers were also banned for two years after 15 of their dogs were found in “squalid” and “abhorrent” conditions.
The move drew ire from the SPCA and the Greyhound Protection League, as the dogs’ owners had signaled their intention to retire from greyhound racing before the ban.