Victorian participants slapped with animal cruelty charges

FIFTEEN greyhound racing participants have been served summonses by the RSPCA Victoria for alleged offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA).

In total there have been 125 criminal charges of animal cruelty handed down, all of which follow 10 months of RSPCA investigations into allegations of live-baiting at the Tooradin Trial track and the subsequent execution of search warrants earlier this year.

The practice of live-baiting at Tooradin was exposed in February following the infamous ABC Four Corners program titled ‘Making A Killing’, with hidden surveillance cameras showing footage of trainers using live piglets, rabbits and possums to blood their greyhounds.

The track was raided and has since been shut down, while several trainers and participants have since been suspended or banned from the sport following their role in the activity.

Following the revelations, the RSPCA launched a criminal investigation and executed 14 warrants during August 2015, with investigators seizing computers, phones, documents and other evidence which they have used to compile a case against some key names within the sport.

The case is due before the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court in February 2016.

The charges come one week after two NSW greyhound participants were sentenced to time behind bars following their role in the scandal.

Trainer Ian Morgan was given a 12 month sentence after pleading guilty to an act of animal cruelty, with a nine month non-parol period, after he was captured on hidden camera using a live rabbit attached to the lure to blood his greyhounds at the property of Zeke Kadir.

John Cauchi, the licensed manager of the Boxhill Trial Track in Western Sydney, was given 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to using live rabbits to train his dogs. Vision showed Cauchi using a rabbit tied to a piece of rope to excite a greyhound he was breaking-in at the time.

Cauchi’s brother Tony also pleaded guilty for his role in the act and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, with his sentence suspended due to his intellectual impairment.

All three men were also been banned from having contact with any animals for 20 years.