TWO people have been arrested and charged in Bundaberg, Queensland, after the shocking discovery of 55 greyhound carcasses in bushland earlier this week.
A 71-year-old man has been charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm and a 64-year-old-woman, who is also a licensed greyhound trainer, has been charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm and obstructing police.
The pair were charged after the joint Queensland Police Service and RSPCA Greyhound Racing Inquiry Taskforce executed a search warrant on a Bundaberg property after the RSPCA were originally tipped off about the mass dumping sire near Coonar, Queensland.
The Taskforce was established to investigate acts of animal cruelty within the industry in response to the gruesome ABC Four Corners program titled ‘Making A Killing’ which exposed the horrendous act of live-baiting within the sport. In total, 36, greyhound trainers were suspended in Queensland in the weeks following the program going to air, with six of those later being issued with lifetime bans.
Detective Superintendant Mark Ainsworth said the greyhounds may have been dumped in the area over a period of time prior to the Four Corners program. He also said initial investigations indicate the greyhounds may have been shot before they were dumped in the open reserve, with a number of .22 calibre ammunition shells located in the area and some remains indicating single gunshot wounds had been inflicted.
Police said there had been no attempt to bury the carcasses, but wild fire had swept through the area recently, with police now investigating the possibility they were deliberately lit.
Staff from the Bundaberg council started clearing the remains on Thursday morning.
It is another blow for the embattled greyhound racing industry which has suffered terrible damage to its image since the live baiting revelations.
Queensland Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller had promised a media contingent on Thursday there would be action over the gruesome find.
“What I believe has happened here has been the mass murder of 55 greyhounds outside of Bundaberg,” she said.
She promised a zero tolerance approach to animal abuse.
“The people who have perpetrated this crime, to me, are oxygen thieves, they are cowards and they are pathetic.”
Racing Queensland boss Darren Condon, before the arrests, said the actions of few were tainting the rest and vowed to clean the image of the industry up. RQ is believed to have taken an active role in the discovery.
“There are a number of innocent law abiding participants in the greyhound industry but very equally there’s clearly some people whose care for the animals is certainly no where near where it needs to be,” he told 4BC Breakfast Radio.
“The industry has to be able to either eliminate them or its survival is going to be very very difficult to say the least if at all possible.”