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UK Trainer Johnson Faces "Serious Charges"
Prominent UK trainer Howard Johnson appeared at a British Horseracing Board inquiry overnight “to answer serious charges that carry a potentially lengthy ban from the sport” reported racingpost.com. The trainer “is accused of running Striking Action 8 times after the 9YO had undergone a palmar neurectomy - the surgical removal or severing of all or part of the palmar digital nerves; the process, known as 'de-nerving', causes the horse to lose sensation in the back of its foot”. Johnson (who claims he was unaware horses on whom the operation had been performed were banned from racing on welfare grounds, as well as compromising jockey safety) “is also accused of administering steroids to 3 other horses in his care”. Johnson “could be disqualified for a period of 10 years if found guilty of wilful cruelty”. He commented: “I am not guilty because I asked the vet whether Striking Action could run after the operation & I was told he could. And as for the steroid job, it wasn't enough to give a cat.”