WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Video of a well-known greyhound trainer in Weld County has prompted an investigation for accusations of using a live rabbit in training.
"This is an incredibly cruel and barbaric activity where greyhounds are given small animals to chase," Carey Thiel said.
Theil is with GREY2k USA Worldwide, an activist group with the objective of ending dog racing around the country. Theil says the organization hired an investigator who took low-quality video of what Grey2k claims shows a man dropping a live animal then releasing the greyhounds to chase after it.
Using live animals to train dogs is illegal under state law.
"It’s been prohibited in the industry for decades," Theil said.
GREY2K says the person in the video is John Lashmet. Lashmet, along with his wife Jill, breed greyhounds to race in Mexico and the few states in America where dog racing is still legal.
"These are high profile breeders that have been in the industry for many, many years — decades and decades," Theil said of the Lashmets.
Lashmet did not return our request for comment, but he did deny the accusations to our partners at the Denver Post, claiming the object in the video is a motorized object used to simulate a rabbit's movement.
Theil isn't buying it.
"That’s just not the case. No reasonable person would look at the footage and think that," Theil said.
A spokeperson for Weld County Sheriff’s office told Denver7 it’s clear there is something in the person’s hand but that because of the grainy video, they are unable to identify what it is and who is in the video. Deputies have been out to the farm twice since the complaint was made and haven’t found any evidence to corroborate the claims.
Lashmet is the most recent greyhound breeder GREY2K has accused of illegal training. Three other cases in the last two years have cost trainers their license in Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma.
"We’re hoping this will be the case where finally not only is there action in terms of them losing their license, but criminal charges will be filed," Theil said.
The Colorado Division of Racing Events is now investigating and is working with the Weld County Sheriff's Office but would not comment further.