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ROBERT REICHARD v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/29/85)

decided: October 29, 1985.

ROBERT REICHARD, V.M.D., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE HARNESS RACING COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania State Harness Racing Commission in the case of In Re: Dr. Robert Reichard, P.L. No. 117, dated February 21, 1984.

COUNSEL

Richard J. Makoul, for petitioner.

Gerald T. Osburn, with him, John B. Hannum, Jr., for respondent.

Judges Rogers and Palladino, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 446]

This is an appeal by veterinarian and horse owner, Robert F. Reichard (Petitioner) from an order of the Pennsylvania State Harness Racing Commission (Commission) which sustained an order of the Presiding Judge at Liberty Bell Park imposing a fine of Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) against Petitioner. We affirm.

Petitioner is licensed by the Commission as an owner of harness racing horses. Petitioner owns the horse, Annihilate, which finished first in the second race at Liberty Bell Park on March 26, 1983. Pursuant to usual procedures, Annihilate was subjected to post-race testing which showed that the horse had participated in the race with the drug Procaine in its system. When the Presiding Judge at Liberty Bell Park was notified of the test results he requested that the horse's trainer report to his office. The trainer did report and was accompanied by Petitioner. Petitioner told the Presiding Judge that five days prior to the race he had treated Annihilate for a cough with the drug Combiotic, which contains Procaine, in his capacity as a practicing veterinarian. On March 30, 1983, the Presiding Judge issued a Notice of Suspension or Fine, which Notice fined Petitioner the sum of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) pursuant to

[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 447]

Commission Rule 21, § 2(b),*fn1 disqualified Annihilate from its first place finish and redistributed the purse.

Petitioner appealed the fine to the Commission which, after a hearing, sustained the decision of the Liberty Bell Park Judge. Petitioner now appeals to this Court asserting: 1) that one of the Commission's findings of fact is not supported by substantial evidence; 2) that the Commission erred as a matter of law because it found Petitioner liable as Annihilate's trainer rather than as the horse's veterinarian; and 3) that Petitioner did not receive adequate notice of the charges against him.

Initially, we note that we must affirm an adjudication of the Commission unless constitutional rights were violated, the adjudication was not in accordance with the law, procedural rules were violated or a necessary finding of fact was not supported by substantial evidence. Helad Farms v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State Harness Racing Commission, 79 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 314, 470 A.2d 181 (1984). First, Petitioner argues that the Commission's finding

[ 92 Pa. Commw. Page 448]

    of fact No. 2, which stated that Petitioner was the owner and trainer of Annihilate, is not supported by substantial evidence. With this argument we must agree. The record clearly reveals, as the Commission in its brief before this Court concedes, that Petitioner was the owner of the horse but another individual was the trainer. For the ...


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