A former employee of the pharmacy that produced medication responsible for the deaths of 21 polo ponies in Florida is suing the laboratory, claiming she was dismissed for cooperating with the ensuing investigation.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the deaths of ponies from the Lechuza Caracas team during the US Open in Wellington, Florida, on 19 April.

Former technician for Franck’s Pharmacy Compounding Lab Sheila Harris mixed the fatal medication, and claims her dismissal on 14 May was “motivated by her providing truthful information” to the FDA rather than a company “restructuring move”.

Immediately after the ponies’ deaths, the US Polo Association (USPA) formed a welfare committee to create an anti-doping policy for polo in America.

USPA spokesman Amber Owen told H&H: “The committee will present its proposals to our annual meeting on 14-18 October.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (3 September, ’09)