One of the largest greyhound kennel operators in the state used the signature of a dead Miami veterinarian to forge vaccination records of dogs racing in South Florida, St. Petersburg and Jacksonville, according to a state complaint.
The allegations against James E. “Barney” O'Donnell raise more questions about the safety of the animals that run at Florida’s greyhound tracks and an apparent lack of oversight from the Division of Parimutuel Wagering - the agency assigned to regulate the industry.
State law requires that every kennel show proof that all active and inactive racing dogs be vaccinated for certain diseases such as kennel cough. From July 2010 until the end of 2011, O’Donnell offered regulators proof that 94 of his dogs who raced at Mardi Gras Racetrack in Hallandale Beach, the Orange Park Kennel Club in Jacksonville and the St. Petersburg Kennel Club had been vaccinated.
The documents included the signature of a long-time Miami veterinarian, Dr. Emilio Vega.
But there was one problem: Vega was dead.
“Dr. Emilio Vega has been deceased since June 30, 2010, and therefore did not administer vaccinations to Respondents greyhounds between July 2010 and 2011,’’ the state wrote in its complaint.
The state now is asking an administrative law judge to fine O’Donnell $96,000 and revoke his license to race greyhounds. Story here.