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Non Raceday Inquiry RIU v JT McInerney - Penalty decision dated 21 Dcember 2018

Created on 26 December 2018

BEFORE A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OF
THE JCA IN CHRISTCHURCH

IN THE MATTER of the Rules of New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association (Incorporated)
 

BETWEEN

RACING INTEGRITY UNIT (RIU)

Informant

AND

JOHN MCINERNEY, Licensed Trainer
Respondent


Informations: A11005 & A11006
Judicial Committee: Prof G Hall, Chairman - Mr S Ching, Member
Appearing: Mr G Whiterod, Chief Stipendiary Steward, for the informant - Mr McInerney in person

PENALTY DECISION OF JUDICIAL COMMITTEE

[1] In our decision of 18 December we found Mr McInerney to be in breach of r 40.3 in that on 28 November 2018 in race 11 at a race meeting conducted by the Wanganui Greyhound Racing Club he scratched TIDDY CASH without a valid reason. We also found that at that meeting he presented TIDDY CASH down in weight by 1.8 kg from the dog’s last start on 12 November 2018, which is a breach of r 45.11.

[2] We held a teleconference yesterday morning at which we heard oral submissions as to penalty from the parties.

[3] Mr Whiterod submitted that a “standard” $150 fine was appropriate for the breach of r 40.3, as this was the respondent’s first breach of this rule.

[4] Mr Whiterod produced Mr McInerney’s record with respect to r 45.11. Mr McInerney had three breaches in the past 120 days: 24 September and 22 October, where the fine was $300 on each occasion; and the one before us. Mr Whiterod submitted that these fines, which he described as “quite steep”, were evidently not getting the message through to Mr McInerney. He believed a deterrent penalty was appropriate and submitted that a fine of $300 should again be imposed.

[5] Mr McInerney’s submissions focused principally on the r 40.3 breach. He raised the issue of animal welfare and emphasised that his actions were focussed solely on ensuring the safety of TIDDY CASH on the day. The fact the dog was down in weight to such an extent and in a short space of time suggested to him that the dog had a health issue. This suspicion was subsequently borne out by the dog scouring due to it suffering from diarrhoea. We note the later veterinarian’s certificate to this effect. With respect to r 40.3, neither inspection by the official race day veterinarian showed that anything was amiss with TIDDY CASH and the dog was declared to fit to race. Mr McInerney withdrew the dog.

[6] Mr McInerney questioned why the dog’s temperature was taken only at the second veterinarian inspection. TIDDY CASH would have been in an air-conditioned kennel for a few hours and, despite this, he said the 38.2 reading was above normal.

[7] We see merit in Mr McInerney’s comment that where the variance in a dog’s weight is substantial it could be thought to be appropriate that consideration be given to taking the dog’s temperature as an animal welfare issue. That, however, is not an issue that this Committee need address further.

[8] We place no weight on the location of the veterinarian clinic to which Mr McInerney took TIDDY CASH.

[9] We are satisfied for the purpose of the imposition of penalty that Mr McInerney had a genuine welfare concern, which was later discovered to be diarrhoea. He put the dog’s interests and, as he emphasised, those of the persons who place investments on the dog, first.

[10] This is a weighty mitigating factor and, in the unusual circumstances of this case, we impose no penalty for the breach of r 40.3 (withdrawing without valid reason). We understand a 28 day stand down was imposed under r 40.7. We do not interfere with this. There has been no application under r 66.20.

[11] The second rule, r 45.11, was breached as TIDDY CASH was 1.8 kg underweight. The diarrhoea we accept is possibly a reason for this, although it only became evident in the later scouring. This is a lesser mitigating factor in this context. Mr McInerney has previous breaches of this rule and it may be appropriate for the kennel to reconsider its practice of weighing dogs on the Sunday before that week’s racing, as this may be too long a gap for the dogs racing midweek or later.

[12] The number of previous breaches has to be considered in the light of the fact the respondent’s kennel is large, with a number of dogs racing each week.

[13] We take as a starting point the penalty imposed on the two previous occasions of $300. We would uplift by $50 for record, having regard to size of the Mr McInerney kennel.

[14] After a $50 discount for the health issue, the penalty for the breach of r 45.11 is one of $300.

[15] The RIU does not seek costs and there is no award in favour of the JCA.

Dated at Dunedin this 21st day of December 2018.

 

Geoff Hall, Chairman
 

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