The dog, called Zipping Sarah, raced to a first-place finish at a track in Christchurch last November in what authorities say was a meth-fuelled performance. Urine tests after the race showed that Zipping Sarah had methamphetamine and amphetamine in her system, according to RNZ News.
Zipping Sarah’s team was immediately disqualified and denied the $4,000 in prize money for winning.
The dog’s trainer, Angela Helen Turnwald, has since pleaded guilty to failing to produce a substance-free dog for the race, New Zealand’s Stuff News reports. She was fined $3,500 and banned from the sport for four months as punishment.
Authorities did not say for sure how Zipping Sarah got the meth in her system, but they say Turnwald stopped off at a friend’s house with Zipping Sarah and another dog before attending the race. Officials ultimately ruled that there was no “deliberate wrongdoing” in the case.
Nevertheless, the incident sparked anger among animal rights groups in New Zealand.
“Giving a dog methamphetamine to improve their race performance is depraved, it’s abhorrent,” Will Appelbe, of the rights group SAFE, told RNZ. “It’s a reality in greyhound racing in New Zealand at the moment.”
It was reportedly the third case of dog doping within the last six months.
New Zealand’s minister for racing recently announced plans for a sweeping review of the country’s greyhound-racing industry amid broader concerns about animal welfare within the community. A 2017 report revealed high rates of euthanasia, injuries and disappearances among racing dogs in the country, and the recent meth dog story has only fuelled more criticism of the industry.
Zipping Sarah was allowed to continue racing after the drug test and notched four top-three finishes, official records show.
Her last race was in March and her status is now listed as “retired.”