In the stewards room: Gemma Tovey disqualified for 15 years

THINGS have been flat-out in stewards’ departments around the nation over the past fortnight in the wake of the live-baiting scandal, which has seen close to 40 participants stood down from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

On top of those suspensions, there has been plenty of additional action occurring over the past few weeks and it’s now time for us to catch up on it all.

We start with new news from WA, where RWWA Stewards conducted an inquiry on March 4 into the convictions of licensed owner and catcher Gemma Tovey in the Mandurah Magistrates Court on January 12 2015.

The convictions related to having a number of pets under her care and control including a Siberian Husky, a Staffy Cross and a retired Greyhound, which was acquired from Gumtree. She was convicted of four offences – three being for the abandonment of an animal and the fourth for failing to provide sufficient food and water.

Resulting from those convictions, Tovey was prohibited from being in charge of or having contact with any animal for five years, as well as having an Intensive Supervision Order imposed of 200 hours of Community work for each charge (a total of 800 hours). In addition, Tovey was ordered to pay costs totaling $910.10.

Despite none of the animals being kept for racing purposes, RWWA Stewards conducted an inquiry to consider whether Tovey’s continued participation within the greyhound racing industry would be detrimental to its proper control and regulation.

Relating to this, RWWA Rule of Racing 95 (8) states;

R95 Penalties

(8) The Controlling Body may impose on a person any one (1) or more of the penalties referred to in sub-rule (1) if-
(a) The person has been convicted of an offence by any court and the Controlling Body is satisfied that
(i) the nature of the offence is such that the person’s continued participation or association with greyhound racing would be detrimental to the proper control and regulation of greyhound racing; or

Submissions were heard from Tovey while evidence from the RSPCA and materials relating to the proceedings before the Mandurah Magistrates Court were also taken into account. Stewards determined that Tovey’s continued participation would be detrimental to the proper control and regulation of Greyhound Racing in Western Australia pursuant to the above Rule.

Stewards decided to disqualify Gemma Tovey for 15 years and issue her a $5000 fine. In deciding an appropriate penalty, Stewards were mindful of the following:

– The nature of the conviction at the Mandurah Magistrates Court
– The seriousness of the case
– The need for deterrence, both general and specific
– The penalty imposed by the Mandurah Magistrates Court

IN NSW this week, two trainers have been advised that their greyhounds have returned positive swabs after GRNSW received notification from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory.

The first of those was Free Ticket, trained by Rebecca McAvaney, which has returned a positive post-race sample to hydrochlorothiazide after winning the Adrian Eyre Appreciation Maiden at Broken Hill on 5 December 2014. The presence of the substance was confirmed by the Racing Science Centre in Queensland and the matter will now proceed following the protocols established under GRNSW’s penalty guideline system.

The second greyhound, Eric Robinson’s Wichita Icon, returned a sample showing the presence of O-desmethylvenlafaxine after it won the Bridge Tavern Stakes at the Nowra meeting on 5 January 2015. The reserve portion of the sample has been sent to another accredited laboratory for a confirmatory analysis. Upon confirmation or otherwise, the case will proceed following the protocols established under GRNSW’s penalty guideline system.

IN Victoria last week, trainer Rodney Ashworth faced the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB) after his greyhound April Rose produced a positive post race urine sample to the prohibited substance 5β-Androstane-3α, 17β- diol at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/ml after competing at the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Tuesday, 21 October 2014.

The RADB determined that Mr. Ashworth was guilty as charged after hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (2)(3) and (6). He was disqualified for 9 months (with 3 months of this penalty suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 during the next 12 month period), effective from Tuesday, 24 February 2015. April Rose was also disqualified from the event with the placings amended accordingly

REMAINING in Victoria and trainer William Dawes has been disqualified him for 6 months, effective from Tuesday, 24 February 2015, after being found guilty by the RADB of failing to present his greyhound, Smashing Success, free of any prohibited substances for an event at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 29 October 2014. A pre-race urine sample taken from Smashing Success indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Caffeine and its metabolites, Theophylline Paraxanthine and Theobromine. Smashing Success was disqualified from the above event.

IN Queensland, Trevor Thompson was fined $2,500 on February 19 after pleading guilty to presenting his greyhound Billy Rose Hi to compete in Race 10 at the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club 18 December 2014 not free of a prohibited substance after a pre-race urine sample was found to contain Methylpredisolone. Billy Rose Hi was disqualified from the event and the placings were altered accordingly.

Past Discussion

  1. Have I read this correctly?  In Queensland you only get a fine for doping your greyhound but in NSW, VIC (and presumably WA after the recent high profile case) you get disqualified.

  2. Have I read this correctly?  In Queensland you only get a fine for doping your greyhound but in NSW, VIC (and presumably WA after the recent high profile case) you get disqualified.  

  3. Yes you have read it right Pink Penny.
    RQ are showing how weak they are, so much for tightening up. Any doping charge in my opinion should receive a minimum $10,000 fine and 6 months suspension after which time they have to make a submission in writing as to why they should have their licence returned.
    But then we will get the comment “oh but I’m a battler” well you should have thought of that before you doped your dog.

  4. Yes you have read it right Pink Penny.

    RQ are showing how weak they are, so much for tightening up. Any doping charge in my opinion should receive a minimum ,000 fine and 6 months suspension after which time they have to make a submission in writing as to why they should have their licence returned.

    But then we will get the comment “oh but I’m a battler” well you should have thought of that before you doped your dog.

  5.  Here is an extreme example of animal cruelty which probably attract a jail sentence if it happened in Western Australia.

    Cut and Paste from Democratic Underground.

    Dog Starved for Art.


    Edited on Sun Mar-23-08 01:29 PM by HamdenRice
    A Central American artist named Guillermo Habacuc Vargas has set off an internet firestorm with an exhibit of what seems to be a work of conceptional art — tying up a street dog in a gallery in Costa Rica and allowing the animal to starve to death while gallery goers watched.

    Vargas apparently saw the sick, malnourished dog in a poor neighbourhood. He paid several local children to help him catch the dog. He then tied the starving dog up in the gallery while patrons passed through the exhibit. Some gallery goers asked him to free the dog, but he refused and he instructed the clientele not to feed the dog.

    As they entered the gallery, gallery goers were greeted with a cryptic sign, “Eres lo que lees,” which means “you are what you are reading.” The title was spelled out in dry dog food.

    The dog died the day after the exhibit. A blogger page, seemingly by Vargas, documented the work:

    Read more: All the latest from stewards rooms around the country http://www.australianracinggreyhound.com/australian-greyhound-racing/in-the-stewards-room-gemma-tovey-disqualified-for-15-years/62054#ixzz3TTUnnuRU 
    Australian Racing Greyhound – Australia’s #1 greyhound racing resource 
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  6. Western Australia Animal Welfare Law.(Also see defences)ANIMAL WELFARE ACT 2002 – SECT 19 .         Cruelty to animals
          (1)         A person must not be cruel to an animal. 

            Penalty:         Minimum — $2 000. 

                    Maximum — $50 000 and imprisonment for 5 years. 

            (2)         Without limiting subsection (1) a person, whether or not the person is a person in charge of the animal, is cruel to an animal if the person — 

                (a)         tortures, mutilates, maliciously beats or wounds, abuses, torments, or otherwise ill-treats, the animal; 

                (b)         uses a prescribed inhumane device on the animal; 

                (c)         intentionally or recklessly poisons the animal; 

                (d)         does any prescribed act to, or in relation to, the animal; or 

                (e)         in any other way causes the animal unnecessary harm. 

            (3)         Without limiting subsection (1) a person in charge of an animal is cruel to an animal if the animal — 

                (a)         is transported in a way that causes, or is likely to cause, it unnecessary harm; 

                (b)         is confined, restrained or caught in a manner that — 

                      (i)         is prescribed; or 

                      (ii)         causes, or is likely to cause, it unnecessary harm; 

                (c)         is worked, driven, ridden or otherwise used — 

                      (i)         when it is not fit to be so used or has been over used; or 

                      (ii)         in a manner that causes, or is likely to cause, it unnecessary harm; 

                (d)         is not provided with proper and sufficient food or water; 

                (e)         is not provided with such shelter, shade or other protection from the elements as is reasonably necessary to ensure its welfare, safety and health; 

                (f)         is abandoned, whether at the place where it is normally kept or elsewhere; 

                (g)         is subjected to a prescribed surgical or similar operation, practice or activity; 

                (h)         suffers harm which could be alleviated by the taking of reasonable steps; 

                      (i)         suffers harm as a result of a prescribed act being carried out on, or in relation to, it; or 

                (j)         is, in any other way, caused unnecessary harm.

  7. Western Australia Animal Welfare Law.(Also see defences)

    ANIMAL WELFARE ACT 2002 – SECT 19 .         Cruelty to animals

          (1)         A person must not be cruel to an animal. 

            Penalty:         Minimum —  000. 

                    Maximum —  000 and imprisonment for 5 years. 

            (2)         Without limiting subsection (1) a person, whether or not the person is a person in charge of the animal, is cruel to an animal if the person — 

                (a)         tortures, mutilates, maliciously beats or wounds, abuses, torments, or otherwise ill-treats, the animal; 

                (b)         uses a prescribed inhumane device on the animal; 

                (c)         intentionally or recklessly poisons the animal; 

                (d)         does any prescribed act to, or in relation to, the animal; or 

                (e)         in any other way causes the animal unnecessary harm. 

            (3)         Without limiting subsection (1) a person in charge of an animal is cruel to an animal if the animal — 

                (a)         is transported in a way that causes, or is likely to cause, it unnecessary harm; 

                (b)         is confined, restrained or caught in a manner that — 

                      (i)         is prescribed; or 

                      (ii)         causes, or is likely to cause, it unnecessary harm; 

                (c)         is worked, driven, ridden or otherwise used — 

                      (i)         when it is not fit to be so used or has been over used; or 

                      (ii)         in a manner that causes, or is likely to cause, it unnecessary harm; 

                (d)         is not provided with proper and sufficient food or water; 

                (e)         is not provided with such shelter, shade or other protection from the elements as is reasonably necessary to ensure its welfare, safety and health; 

                (f)         is abandoned, whether at the place where it is normally kept or elsewhere; 

                (g)         is subjected to a prescribed surgical or similar operation, practice or activity; 

                (h)         suffers harm which could be alleviated by the taking of reasonable steps; 

                      (i)         suffers harm as a result of a prescribed act being carried out on, or in relation to, it; or 

                (j)         is, in any other way, caused unnecessary harm. 

  8. Just on the Gemma case, the greyhound administrators need to keep costs within reasonable limits suggest that in cases that have been to court that stewards note the term given by the courts and allow a review at the end of the period. In the case of Gemma she has been given 5 years disqualification from handling animals and 800 hours community service. If she does the time and the service she will return as a more valuable member of the community. So why not just respect the 5 year term and make a reapplication for greyhound licence dependent on review.
    The last three greyhound people to be banned for cruelty to animals on race tracks in NSW in 1989 and were warned off for 5,3, and 2 years have long since returned to greyhound racing and have became valuable members of the greyhound community.

  9. Just on the Gemma case, the greyhound administrators need to keep costs within reasonable limits suggest that in cases that have been to court that stewards note the term (not sentance) given by the courts and allow a review at the end of the period. In the case of Gemma she has been given 5 years disqualification from handling animals and 800 hours community service. If she does the time and the service she will return as a more valuable member of the community. So why not just respect the 5 year term and make a reapplication for greyhound licence dependent on review.

    The last three greyhound people to be banned for cruelty to animals on race tracks in NSW in 1989 and were warned off for 5,3, and 2 years have long since returned to greyhound racing and have became valuable members of the greyhound community.

  10. The greyhound starved to death, they found leather etc in its stomach as it tried to find anything to eat and you think this was too heavy. In my opinion she got off light by not going to jail. Lock yoiurself in a cupboard with no food or water until you waste away and your organs shutdown so you can feel how that dog felt.

  11. The greyhound starved to death, they found leather etc in its stomach as it tried to find anything to eat and you think this was too heavy. In my opinion she got off light by not going to jail. Lock yoiurself in a cupboard with no food or water until you waste away and your organs shutdown so you can feel how that dog felt.

  12. JennyAnthony Thanks for your response i. I come from an administration area where I have had to deal with children being starved to death so i don’t need graphics. I agree the situation you have outlined is horrific but not as uncommon as you would image. There are a lot of recorded incidents where people with the best intentions have tried to care for animals only to find themselves in situations that have cause animal neglect. I do not know the details of the above case as I have not read the transcripts but I know that a court which is authorised to act under the animal welfare act has examined the facts and delivered a verdict. The verdict apparently has not been appealed so it stands. You are in dispute with the courts verdict and you are entitled to your opinion and of course you might be right.
    The above is not the point I am making what I am saying is that whatever the greyhound tribunal in Western Australia  is not it is not a superior tribunal in the public interest to the courts. So why not use the courts terms as a guide and get on with the animal welfare issues that should be under the small agencies control.

  13. JennyAnthony Thanks for your response i. I come from an administration area where I have had to deal with children being starved to death so i don’t need graphics. I agree the situation you have outlined is horrific but not as uncommon as you would image. There are a lot of recorded incidents where people with the best intentions have tried to care for animals only to find themselves in situations that have caused animal neglect. I do not know the details of the above case as I have not read the transcripts but I know that a court which is authorised to act under the animal welfare act has examined the facts and delivered a verdict. The verdict apparently has not been appealed so it stands. You are in dispute with the courts verdict and you are entitled to your opinion and of course you might be right.

    The above is not the point I am making what I am saying is that whatever the greyhound tribunal in Western Australia  is. or not it is not a superior tribunal in the public interest to the courts. So why not use the courts terms as a guide and get on with the animal welfare issues that should be under the small agencies control.

  14. Here is an extreme example of animal cruelty which probably attract a jail sentence if it happened in Western Australia.
    Cut and Paste from Democratic Underground.
    Dog Starved for Art.http://media.fastclick.net/w/click.here?cid=568656&mid=1155632&m=6&sid=7512&c=0&tp=8&UD=WhI0MjI0ODA0NDAyMTg0NDY1NjSIAbDERpAB0NoimAHYOqABBqgBCPABALICDjEyMC4xNTEuMjQzLjIy&upsid=422480440218446564Edited on Sun Mar-23-08 01:29 PM by HamdenRice
    A Central American artist named Guillermo Habacuc Vargas has set off an internet firestorm with an exhibit of what seems to be a work of conceptional art — tying up a street dog in a gallery in Costa Rica and allowing the animal to starve to death while gallery goers watched.
    Vargas apparently saw the sick, malnourished dog in a poor neighbourhood. He paid several local children to help him catch the dog. He then tied the starving dog up in the gallery while patrons passed through the exhibit. Some gallery goers asked him to free the dog, but he refused and he instructed the clientele not to feed the dog.
    As they entered the gallery, gallery goers were greeted with a cryptic sign, “Eres lo que lees,” which means “you are what you are reading.” The title was spelled out in dry dog food.
    The dog died the day after the exhibit. A blogger page, seemingly by Vargas, documented the work:

    Read more: http://www.australianracinggreyhound.com/australian-greyhound-racing/in-the-stewards-room-gemma-tovey-disqualified-for-15-years/62054#ixzz3TTUnnuRU http://www.australianracinggreyhound.com/australian-greyhound-racing/in-the-stewards-room-gemma-tovey-disqualified-for-15-years/62054#ixzz3TTUnnuRU 
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