Greyhound trainer admits having banned substance in kennels

Co Louth trainer Craig Kelly gets probation act after agreeing to pay inspectors’ costs

The search followed a tip off after a greyhound trained by Craig Kelly had tested positive for a banned steroid at a race meeting in London the previous year, the court heard. File image: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

The search followed a tip off after a greyhound trained by Craig Kelly had tested positive for a banned steroid at a race meeting in London the previous year, the court heard. File image: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

 

A banned animal drug was found during a search by Department of Agriculture inspectors at the kennels of a Co Louth greyhound trainer three years ago, Drogheda District Court heard on Tuesday.

Craig Kelly, Chapel Road, Clogherhead, Co Louth pleaded guilty to possessing an unauthorised animal remedy at his premises on February 11th 2016 while his 69-year-old father Michael Kelly of the same address pleaded guilty to obstructing a veterinary inspector during a search at the kennels on the same date.

The search followed a tip off after a greyhound trained by Craig Kelly had tested positive for a banned steroid at a race meeting in London the previous year, the court heard.

Prosecuting counsel Michael Finan BL for the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine told the court that two authorised inspectors attended the kennels on February 11th 2016 and found vials containing a substance known as Promote there.

The barrister added that Mr Kelly snr had impeded the search for a time by grabbing two syringes from the inspectors before handing them back when the inspectors threatened to call the Garda.

Defence solicitor Paddy Godwin told the court Craig Kelly was using the substance as a muscle repair remedy. However, Mr Finan said the contents of Promote were unclear and the defendant would not have known what he was injecting into the animals.

“Its an animal welfare issue,” said Mr Finan who added the defendants had since paid €5,000 to cover the department’s legal costs in the case.

Mr Godwin told Judge Eirinn McKiernan his clients had been “put to the pin of the collar” to come up with the money as Mr Kelly snr who had been involved in greyhound racing for 30 years was a pensioner in ill health and his son worked for a farm contractor.

Replying to the judge, Mr Finan said the search followed confidential information that Craig Kelly had unauthorised remedies at his kennels after a dog he had trained had tested positive for a banned substance at a race meeting in Wimbledon.

Judge McKiernan gave both defendants the benefit of the Probation Act noting they had no previous convictions and had given a significant sum to cover the department’s costs.

A successful greyhound trainer, Craig Kelly was in January 2016 given a six months ban by the greyhound racing authorities in Britain after Bellmore Neymar, a greyhound trained by him, was found with the performance enhancing steroid stanozolol in its system after winning a heat in the first round of the Greyhound Derby at Wimbledon on May 27th 2015.

Mr Kelly told a local inquiry in London that he believed the stanozolol was present in Bellmore Neymar when he took charge of the greyhound in April 2015 but he failed to attend a subsequent inquiry conducted by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain which imposed the six months ban.