New Victorian local rules to focus on animal welfare & integrity

NEW rules tackling rehoming, euthanasia, lures, live baiting, greyhound properties and suspended and disqualified persons are set to come into effect on June 14, 2016, in Victoria.

Many of the new rules are in response to the recommendations handed down in the reports from the Racing Integrity Commissioner and Chief Veterinary Officer and aim to ensure animal welfare and integrity are at the forefront of the sport.

The new rules are as follows:

Local Rule 2 (Vic) Definitions

“Greyhound Training Property” is defined as the premises where a person keeps, trains or races greyhounds (excluding retired pets) including rearing farms, boarding and breaking-in facilities.

“LR Penalty Unit” means the sum of fifty dollars ($50) per unit and when multiplied by the number of LR penalty units specified in a rule in relation to an offence or serious offence (as applicable), the product equals the monetary amount of the Penalty for the Offence or Serious Offence (as applicable).

“Warned off” Refers to the penalty given to a person who is not a registered participant of greyhound racing and has a similar consequence to disqualification.

Local Rule 11 (Vic) Registered Persons

11.7 – Unless approved, no registered person can keep, train or race any greyhounds (excluding retired pets) at a property which is or has been the greyhound training property of someone who has been disqualified, warned off, suspended or declared a defaulter.

11.8 – A person who is disqualified, warned off, suspended or declared a defaulter (or otherwise directed by the board as falling within this rule due to unacceptable conduct) is not allowed to transfer any ownership of a greyhound they own or train to:

a) Another person who resides with the defaulting person at or about the time of the offence for which they incurred their disqualification, warning off, suspension, declaration of default or direction of the board.

b) Any relative, spouse or domestic partner of the defaulting person regardless of whether they reside together.

c) Any relative, spouse or domestic partner of any person falling within local rule 11.8(a).

Participants must receive approval of the stewards for any initial transfers and all subsequent transfers of the ownership and training responsibilities for each greyhound of a defaulting person, on each occasion.

Any transfer that may have occurred in breach of this rule, whether before or after the introduction of this rule, may be voided by the board or stewards.

11.9 – A registered person, in relation to the greyhound training properties they control, must comply with any conditions issued by the board from time to time.

11.10 – A greyhound training property controlled by a registered person for the purposes of LR 11.9 are those that are:

a) owned, occupied, leased or sub-leased by them (whether in part or jointly with any other person);

b) controlled by them, including indirectly through a relative, spouse or domestic partner, via ownership or control of a body corporate or trust, or control through other legal, equitable or contractual means; or

c) deemed by the board or stewards as being the greyhound training property of that person.

11.11 – A registered person must disclose all relevant details of each greyhound training property they control to stewards, as well as when they cease to control any such greyhound training property. Where a property is controlled by two or more participants, each participant must notify stewards of the greyhound training property, with each person responsible for ensuring compliance with local rule 11.9. This rule comes into force 30 days following the date these amended rules come into effect.

11.12 – Unless directed otherwise by the board or stewards, a person who is suspended is not permitted to:

a) enter any racecourse or land used in connection with a racecourse during an event.

b) enter the premises of a club the day when a meeting, qualifying trial, satisfactory trial, other trial, event or greyhound training of any type is occurring.

c) enter or remain on a property where greyhounds are kept, trained or raced (including trial tracks) but excluding the greyhound training property where the suspended person normally resides.

11.13 – If a person is declared a defaulter and fails to repay the amount owned to GRV and/or a club within two months of being declared a defaulter:

a) that person’s registration may be cancelled on the day after the final due date.

b) if a defaulter’s registration is cancelled they may reapply for registration.

c) the board may refuse any application for registration by that person if they have not paid the full amounts owed.

11.14 – Where in the opinion of the stewards:

(a) there is prima facie evidence that a registered person has:

i) breached the rules; or

ii) has committed an offence pursuant to GAR 86 (which relates to conduct); and

(b) it is necessary to make a decision immediately in respect of the matters referred to in LR 11.14(a) in order to protect the integrity of the sport of greyhound racing;

the stewards may immediately suspend that person.

11.15 – Where a decision is made by the stewards under LR 11.14; the stewards will:

(a) notify the registered person of the decision within two hours of the decision;

(b) if practicable, provide the registered person with copies of the evidence relied on for making the decision; and

(c) request that the registered person provide information to the satisfaction of the stewards regarding the matters referred to in LR 11.14(a).

11.16 – The suspension of a registered person pursuant to LR 11.14 is temporary and will only operate to the earliest in time of:

(a) Two business days from the date of the suspension pursuant to LR 11.14; or

(b) another decision of the stewards (such a decision may not be pursuant to LR 11.14 regarding the same person).

11.17 – Persons who wish to engage in the whelping, rearing, breaking in or education of greyhounds must be registered with the board. This LR 11.17 does not come in to force until 12 months following the date these amended rules come into effect.

11.18 – To register with the board under LR 11.17, a person must:

(a) make an application to the board in the manner prescribed;

(b) pay the prescribed fee;

(c) produce to the board, any material relevant to that person’s character, fitness, experience or other information required by the board to assess the person’s suitability for registration.

11.19 – The board when considering an application for registration under rule 11.18;

(a) grant the application pursuant to any conditions it considers desirable;

(b) request a person making application to appear before the board and supply such information in respect of the application as the board thinks fit;

(c) refuse to grant the application.

11.20 – The board may cancel a registration or suspend, vary or alter or add to the conditions of a registration under LR 11.17.

11.21 – Unless sooner cancelled or suspended by the board, the registration of a person under LR 11.17 remains in force for such time as may be prescribed by the board.

11.22 – The board may from time to time prescribe educational and experience qualifications which must be attained as a precondition to the grant of registration under LR 11.17.

Local Rule 11A (Vic) Registration of Greyhound Training Properties

11A.1 – The board may prescribe categories of registration relative to a greyhound training property.

11A.2 – To register a greyhound training property with a controlling body, a person must:

a) make an application to the board in the manner prescribed;

b) pay the relevant fee;

c) produce to the board, any information required by the board to assess the greyhound training property’s suitability for registration.

11A.3 – The board when considering an application for registration may:

a) grant the application pursuant to any conditions it considers desirable;

b) request a person making application to appear before the board and supply such information in respect of the application as the controlling body thinks fit;

c) refuse to grant the application.

11A.4 – The board may cancel a registration or suspend, vary or alter or add to the conditions of a registration of a greyhound training property.

11A.5 – Unless sooner cancelled or suspended by the board, the registration of a greyhound training property remains in force for such time as may be prescribed by the board.

Local Rule 14 (Vic) Studmasters and Breeders

14.2 – If a person is disqualified, suspended, warned off, declared to be a defaulter or otherwise declared by the board as falling within this rule as a result of unacceptable conduct by that person (the “defaulting person”), such person must not use, transfer or deal with any breeding unit of semen, or obtain registration of or import any breeding unit of semen.

14.3 – Notwithstanding LR 14.2, the defaulting person may, within 30 days of becoming a defaulting person or such other period as the board may approve, transfer any breeding units of semen registered in their name to another person in accordance with these rules, provided that such transfer is not to (whether by initial transfer or any subsequent transfer):

a) any other person who resided with the defaulting person at or about the time of the offence the subject of the disqualification, warning off, suspension, declaration of default or direction of the board;

b) any relative, spouse or domestic partner of the defaulting person regardless of whether they reside with the defaulting person; or

c) any relative, spouse or domestic partner of any person falling within LR 14.3(a).

Approval of the board must be obtained for the initial transfer, and all subsequent transfers, of the breeding units of semen of a defaulting person, on each occasion. Any transfer that may have occurred in breach of this rule, whether before or after the introduction of this rule, may be voided by the board.

Local Rule 17 (Vic) Greyhound Trial Tracks and Managers

17.7(b) – unless otherwise approved by the board or stewards, the greyhound trial track shall not be used or open for use other than between the hours of one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset on any day.

Local Rule 42 (Vic) Welfare of Greyhounds

42.6 – When a greyhound is not suited to racing, the owner must make every effort to find a suitable long term home for that greyhound in order to avoid the euthanasia of an otherwise fit and healthy greyhound. As soon as practicable after request by a steward or authorised officer of the board, the owner must provide evidence of their efforts to comply with this sub-rule.

42.7 – An owner or registered person must provide the board with at least seven days written notice, in the prescribed form, of an intention to euthanize more than five greyhounds in any four week period.

42.8 – If a greyhound is required to be euthanased, the only acceptable method of euthanasia is by overdose of barbiturate administered by a registered veterinarian.

This rule shall not apply if:

(a) immediate euthanasia is obviously essential due to:

a. the greyhound suffering from a catastrophic injury or medical condition/illness, and

b. the greyhound cannot be transported to a registered veterinarian within a period of one hour at regular driving speeds, due to geographical remoteness, and

c. the euthanasia is carried out under the direction of a registered veterinarian

AND

(b) the owner or person responsible for the greyhound obtains a written certificate or letter from the veterinary practitioner providing details of the direction.

42.9 – Where a greyhound has died (whether due to natural causes, accident, misadventure, euthanasia or otherwise):

(a) within two working days of the date of death (and prior to disposal of the body of the deceased greyhound), the owner or person responsible for the greyhound must notify the board in the prescribed form of the death of the greyhound and provide a veterinary certificate of euthanasia where available (including, without limitation, the written certificate or letter referred to in LR 42.8);

(b) within 24 hours of notification in accordance with LR 42.7(a) the Stewards or an authorised officer of the board may direct that the owner or person responsible for the greyhound release the body of the deceased greyhound to allow an autopsy to be performed by a registered veterinarian;

(c) the body of the deceased greyhound must be disposed of:

(i) via a veterinary clinic;

(ii) via an animal cremation service approved by the Environmental Protection Authority; or

(iii) by an alternate method of disposal approved by the board, the stewards or an authorised officer on such conditions as they see fit;

(d) within seven days of the date that the body of the deceased greyhound is disposed of, the owner or person responsible for the greyhound must notify the board in the prescribed form of the method of disposal.

42.10 – It is a serious offence

(a) to provide misleading or false information to a steward or authorised officer in connection with LR 42.6 and LR 42.7;

(b) to be directly or indirectly involved in, or knowingly concerned with, the euthanasia of a greyhound other than in accordance with LR 42.7 and LR 42.8 or the disposal of a greyhound other than in accordance with LR 42.9;

(c) to be the owner or person responsible for a greyhound at the time it is euthanased who has knowledge of, or suspects, the euthanasia of that greyhound other than in accordance with LR 42.7 and LR 42.8;

(d) to be the owner or person responsible for a greyhound at the time it is disposed who has knowledge of, or suspects, the disposal of that greyhound of other than in accordance with LR 42.9;

(e) to aid, abet, counsel or procure any person to euthanase a greyhound other than in accordance with LR 42.7 and LR 42.8 or dispose of a greyhound other than in accordance with LR 42.9.

42.11 – A person shall only use or have in their possession at any place where greyhounds are, or are to be kept, trained or educated or prepared to race, or racing, a lure that is approved by the board.

42.12 – A lure may be constructed of synthetic or artificial materials only. For the avoidance of doubt, a lure must not contain any part of an animal.

42.13 – It is a serious offence to use a lure in relation to a greyhound which is not approved by the board

42.14 – It is a serious offence:

(a) to be directly or indirectly involved in, or knowingly concerned with, conduct which breaches LR 42.11;

(b) to aid, abet, counsel or procure any person to commit an act which breaches LR 42.11.

42.14 – A person (first person) commits a serious offence if another person breaches LR 42.11 on land or property (including any greyhound training property, greyhound trial track, training track, facility or surrounding area) owned, controlled, occupied or managed by the first person.

42.16 – It is a serious offence for a registered person who witnesses conduct which breaches LR 42.11 but fails to report that conduct to stewards as soon as reasonably practicable.

42.17 – It is an offence for any person to manufacture, sell, offer for sale, market or advertise any lure within Victoria except those approved by the board.

42.18 – Subject to 42.19 but without derogating from LR 42.13 to LR 42.15, it is a serious offence for a person to:

(a) use in connection with greyhound training, education or preparation to race, or racing, any animal, animal carcass or any part of an animal whether as bait, quarry or lure, or to entice, excite or encourage a greyhound to pursue it or otherwise; or

(b) subject to 42.25(e), attempt to possess, or have possession of, or bring onto, any grounds, premises or within the boundaries of any property where greyhounds are trained, kept or raced, any animal, animal carcass or any part of an animal for the purpose of being, or which might reasonably be capable of being, or likely to be, used as bait, quarry or lure to entice or excite or encourage a greyhound to pursue it; or

(c) cause, procure, permit or allow a greyhound to pursue or attack any live animal, animal carcass or any part of an animal.

42.19 – Nothing in rule 42.18 serves to create an offence in association with the normal, routine feeding of meat or bones to greyhounds, provided that such source of feed has been obtained in accordance with all applicable legislation and regulations relating to the acquisition of such food items and the welfare of the animals involved and is not being or intended to be used for any other purpose.

42.20 – A person shall not be in breach of LR 42.18(b) where the animal is kept on or at the premises as a domesticated pet or is kept for rural or agricultural purposes with prior notification to and approval from the stewards or the board. Notification must be in the manner and form required by the stewards or board for this exclusion to apply.

42.21 – Where a person is guilty of an offence under section 13 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, it is deemed that the person has breached LR42.18.

42.22 – Where a person is found guilty of an offence under LR42.18 the minimum penalty that must be imposed is disqualification for life unless there is a finding that special circumstances exist.

42.23 – It is a serious offence to be:

(a) in any way directly or indirectly involved in committing, or knowingly concerned with, such conduct as set out in LR42.18

(b) aid, abet, counsel or procure any person to commit such conduct as set out in LR 42.18

42.24 – It is a serious offence for a registered person who witnesses conduct which breaches LR 42.18 but fails to report that conduct to stewards as soon as reasonably practicable.

42.25 – Where a person is found guilty of an offence under LR42.24 the minimum penalty that must be imposed is disqualification for a period of 10 years unless there is a finding that special circumstances exist.

42.26 – It is a serious offence to fail to use all reasonable endeavours to prevent a greyhound pursuing or attacking any live animal, animal carcass or any part of an animal unless there is a finding that special circumstances exist.

42.27 – (a) A reference in the rules to:

(i)“any part of an animal” includes without limitation skin, hair, bone, blood, faeces, urine or flesh;

(ii)“skin” includes without limitation any leather or rawhide whether treated, tanned or otherwise;

(iii)“in relation to a greyhound” includes without limitation training, breaking in, rearing, educating, preparing to race or racing a greyhound;

(iv)“lure” means any item, natural or man-made, that is used in any way, by any person with the intention or effect of encouraging or inciting a greyhound to pursue, attack or excite it by responding to such stimuli, and ‘quarry’ and ‘bait’ shall have a similar meaning; and

(v)“training” shall include, in addition to those activities otherwise defined as ‘training’ in the rules, any activities whereby a greyhound is exposed to any item for the purpose or effect, or that would have the likely effect, of enticing, exciting or encouraging it to pursue, entice or excite, or that causes such reaction from a greyhound.

(b) Where any officer, employee, member, visitor or contractor of a club has knowledge of, or suspects, an offence may be occurring contrary to LR 42.13, LR 42.17 or LR 42.18 on any ground under the control or management of a club, that club shall report the matter forthwith to the board or stewards. A failure to do so may result in the licence of that club being cancelled, either for a specified period or permanently, and the club may be penalised pursuant to these rules.

(c) Where any manager, employee, member, visitor or contractor has knowledge of, or suspects, an offence may be occurring contrary to LR 42.13, LR 42.17 or LR 42.18 on any ground under the control or management of a licensee or manager of a greyhound trial track or greyhound training facility, the trial track or training facility manager shall report the matter to the stewards or board forthwith. A failure to do so may result in the registration of the track or facility and of any person concerned with the management of that track or facility being cancelled, either for a specified period or permanently, and any such person may be penalised pursuant to these rules.

(d) Any person penalised under LR 42.13, LR 42.17 or LR 42.18 or any equivalent rule in any jurisdiction shall not be entitled to make any application to the board or stewards for any licence or registration or to be an owner of any registered greyhound.

Local Rule 47 (Vic) Serious Offences

47.1 (f) – The following rules, if breached, are deemed to be serious offences under these rules and for the purposes of the Act:

A person (including an official) shall be guilty of an offence if the person-

GAR 86(p) disobeys or fails to comply with the lawful order of a steward or other person or body having official duties in relation to greyhound racing.

(r) alters (including by addition, amendment or deletion), duplicates or falsifies any document issued by a controlling body without the approval of the controlling body.

(s) wilfully nominates, causes to be nominated or to compete in an event a greyhound which he knows to be disqualified, or the owner, trainer or nominator of which he knows to be disqualified or suspended.

(x) makes any statement which to his/her knowledge is false either oral by, by print, in writing, by electronic means or by any combination thereof to a member of the controlling body, an officer of the controlling body, an employee of the controlling body, a veterinary surgeon or an official in the execution of his/her duty.

(y) does or attempts to do any act or causes to be done any act for the purposes of affecting the performance or behaviour of any greyhound in any event or preventing it from starting in an event.

(aa) tampers with any gear used on a greyhound, or uses any substance or item to affect the performance of a greyhound or greyhounds

(ac) in the opinion of the controlling body, a person is guilty of neglect or of any dishonest, corrupt or improper act or practice in connection with the breeding or registration of greyhounds or has attempted any such act or practice.

(ad) unless authorised by the stewards or controlling body, keeps on or brings onto a racecourse or trial track or facility or a surrounding area, as defined by a controlling body, a live animal other than a greyhound.

(ae) by use of any gear, equipment, device, substance or by any other means inflicts undue suffering on a greyhound or has in his possession any gear, equipment, device, substance or any other thing capable of inflicting undue suffering on a greyhound.

(af) uses an animal for any purpose connected with greyhound racing or training in a manner which amounts to maltreatment of an animal or is improper or illegal.

(ah) being a registered person or person associated with greyhound racing, associates with a disqualified person for the purposes of greyhound racing.

(ai) does or attempts to alter, tamper or otherwise interfere with any means of identification of a greyhound as provided for in these rules.

47.9 – It is a serious offence for a person to be involved in conduct which is unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of GRV or greyhound racing or to bring GRV or greyhound racing into disrepute, including, but not limited to, a finding of guilt for an offence contrary to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (Vic) and the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (Vic).