QUEENSLAND Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (QGBOTA) president Stephen Lennon has slammed the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission’s director of Animal Welfare Martin Lenz over comments he made regarding the number of greyhound’s euthanised by the state’s Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP).
Lenz spoke to the ABC last week after it was revealed that 101 retired greyhound surrendered to the GAP program in Queensland were put down in the past year due to be unsuitable for rehoming, with 318 successfully adopted.
The QRIC representative claimed that the greyhounds showed an unmanageable prey drive or had health issues, extreme fear or anxiousness.
“If a greyhound recognises everything that’s smaller than it and furry as prey, that makes it quite difficult to place it in a situation where there may be other family pets,” Lenz said.
“[The] focus is back on the trainer to make sure that the dogs are brought up in a way that maximises their success on the race track…but also when they finish that racing career they are in a state that is suitable for us to place them safely.”
Lennon refuted Lenz’s comments, explaining in an official statement online and to Australian Racing Greyhound that greyhounds chase because it is what they are bred to do.
“Stop trying to say their prey drive has been developed by the trainers – it’s their instinct to chase,” Lennon said.
“Everything that Martin Lenz said basically threw it back on the trainers and insinuated that the dogs have a high prey drive or are fearful or anxious because of the trainers and that they need to be educated on things better.
“Greyhounds have been bred for over a thousand years as sight hounds. They chase movement. It is in their DNA.
“To suggest that they need to be put down for being what they are is an admission of failure by the QRIC run GAP program.
“I have no confidence in QRIC running the GAP program in such a way as to ensure all dogs are given a chance.”
Lennon went on to express that he felt the requirements for dogs being rehomed by GAP were too strict, with the expectation that all dogs passed need to be perfect.
“They are dogs – although the antis and animal activists will try to convince you that they are almost human,” he said.
“I’ve had people ringing me and telling me they had a dog living inside waiting to go to GAP for three months and in that time it played with their sister’s dog and their kids.
“Then they got a call from GAP to say the dog had been put down [because it was unsuitable for rehoming].
“I’ve got a seven-year-old bitch which has just moved with me from acreage to a residential block.
“I keep her on a leash and although I don’t think she’d hurt anything there is no way I’d let her off near a small animal just in case.
“That doesn’t mean she isn’t a good pet though – they expect these dogs to be perfect.”
Lennon enforced that the industry has not had one person charged with live baiting since the introduction of QRIC and that the sport has changed for the better.
However, he said there is still a poor relationship between the regulatory authorities and participants and that he believes QRIC intentionally try to paint a bad picture of the sport.
“I don’t think QRIC is helping the industry,” he said.
“They measure their success rate on the number of convictions. Their success should be measured by them saying we’ve done x amount of kennel searches and we have found no evidence of live baiting or anything bad.
“QRIC has not charged one single person with live baiting. If they believe there are still some people out there doing it, then catch them and charge them. If they can’t find anyone, then stop with the innuendos and snide remarks.
“Making statements like ‘we can’t rule out the possibility…’ doesn’t help anyone. You should be able to rule it out, that’s why you have a $26 million budget, body worn cameras, police powers and police men.
“If you can’t rule it out, QUIT. Let someone else do the job.”