HISA Clarifies 'Search & Seizure' Rule On Private Farms - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

HISA Clarifies ‘Search & Seizure’ Rule On Private Farms

During a Thursday webinar hosted by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority CEO Lisa Lazarus issued clarifications about the much-maligned “search and seizure” rule.

Listed as Regulation 5830 (B), which has not yet been approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  and is still open for public comment, the rule states:

“The Agency may enter facilities, offices, stables, barns, or any other premises related to Covered Horses which are owned, controlled, or occupied by Covered Person(s) and: (1) inspect and search the premises including any books, records or property, and to take possession or a sample of any item or material believed to be, or that may lead to, evidence directly or indirectly of a violation of the Protocol; (2) search any Covered Person or Covered Horse on the premises; (3) access electronically stored data, including emails, computers, and mobile phones and devices without altering such data or device(s) other than to forward, back up, copy or make a mirror image of such data or device(s); (4) conduct identification and medication checks on any Covered Horse; (5) inspect and take copies of any records the Covered Person is required to keep under the Protocol; (6) examine any Covered Horse under the care of a Covered Person and take Samples from the Covered Horse for analysis.”

Former U.S. Congressman Thomas J. (Tom) Rooney, the director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, joined the call to explain that no written law can overrule the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution. The fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure on private property, is one of those rights.

“The federal government cannot come to your door in violation of the fourth amendment, period,” Rooney said. “Even under HISA, you still have the right to demand a subpoena.”

The Authority, though created by federal law and overseen by the FTC, is an independent, non-governmental, non-profit entity.

Lazarus concurred, and made the clarification that private farms will not be restricted from possessing needles and medications necessary to care for horses in emergency veterinary situations. However, official training centers and racetracks will continue to prohibit needles and injectable medications.

She also explained the HISA has already revised the draft regulations to narrow that rule.

“The language in the 'Search & Seizure Rule' came from the HISA act itself,” Lazarus said. “That is the power that Congress wants us to have, and we have voluntarily narrowed that power… We don't have the intention of using that at all. The only way you would see us exercise that power is in a horse abuse issue or doping issue.”

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