Iowa Greyhound Breeder Gets Prison for $500K Steroid-Peddling Racket

An Iowa greyhound kennel owner has been sentenced to 15 months in prison on doping charges and conspiracy to defraud the United States, The Des Moines Register reports.

Iowa greyhounds
Iowa greyhounds
Greyhounds racing at the Dubuque Greyhound Racing Park, which closed for good in May, heralding the end of the sport in Iowa. Failed drugs tests at the track in 2018 led investigators to Stidham. (Image: Des Moines Register)

In January, Jon Stidham admitted peddling half a million dollars-worth of performance-enhancing drugs to other dog breeders and trainers. From 2015 to 2018, he sold more than 300,000 doses of methyltestosterone, an anabolic steroid that mimics the effects of testosterone, for a profit of more than $324,000.

Via the internet and through his store, Kennel Supply, in the tiny city of McClelland in western Iowa, he illegally distributed more than 50 other prescription drugs. He did this by forging a veterinarian’s signature. These sales generated additional profits of more than $200,000, prosecutors said.

Drugs Bad for Dogs

The use of methyltestosterone in greyhound racing is banned on integrity and animal welfare grounds in the UK, Australia, and all jurisdictions in the US except West Virginia, where it available by prescription. That state hosts two of America’s three remaining greyhound racing tracks.

Methyltestosterone is administered to female greyhounds to boost performance on race day. It causes thickening of the heart’s pumping chamber in dogs, and long-term use can result in cardiac hypertrophy, according to research by the University of Oulu in Finland.

Stidham is a former board member of the Iowa Greyhound Racing Association. He was arrested in 2018 after a number of positive drugs tests at the now shuttered Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque were linked to his operation.

Detectives with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation uncovered prescription bottles of methyltestosterone from several kennels that carried labels with Stidham’s name.

Investigators raided Kennel Supply and seized more than 4,000 capsules of the drug, plus records of prescriptions signed by a Kansas veterinarian whose signature Stidham had forged. They also found a list of dog names and more than $51,000 in cash.

Profits Forfeited

In addition to prison, the judge in Cedar Rapids fined Stidham $7,500 and ordered him to forfeit $527,510 in drug proceeds. He must serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.

“The laws regarding the labeling and dispensing of controlled substances and prescription drugs exist to protect the health and safety of our community,” said Acting US Attorney Timothy Duax in a statement.

“When those laws are violated, it endangers those who come into contact with the unprescribed or mislabeled substances. Accordingly, when individuals like Mr. Stidham try to profit by ignoring or violating controlled substance and prescription laws, they will be vigorously prosecuted, and the proceeds of their illegal activities will be seized,” he added.

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