ABC live-baiting investigation draws blood

“This is the vision the greyhound racing doesn’t want you to see.”

Powerful opening words backed up by a horrific image of a terrified live rabbit on the .

In the lead-up its screening on Monday night, ABC’s investigative program Four Corners promised to expose “the gruesome underbelly of greyhound racing” in its latest episode, Making A Killing, following last week’s co-ordinated raids by police and RSPCA on multiple training establishments across the country, which found illegal live baiting occurring on-site.

CEO of Greyhound Racing Victoria Adam Wallish called the story, which started with from Four Corners in conjunction with Animal and Animal Liberation Queensland, “explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia.”

What was delivered is a serious wake-up call for regulators and a shocking look into the illegal practices of some trainers – one that can be used as a vehicle for change.

Queensland wrap-up:

  • Prominent greyhound breeder and trainer and president of the United Queensland Greyhound Association Deborah Arnold allowed her 70 greyhound puppies and racing dogs at her property ‘Dessa Downes’ in Churchable to be filmed by Four Corners. “The kennels have to be RSPCA QLD-approved,” said Arnold. “It definitely meets the requirements.” When questioned on the practice of live-baiting, Arnold denied any knowledge of it: “If they do I don’t know about it, and I don’t really want to know about it.”
  • Undercover footage from Animal Liberation Queensland and Animals Australia earlier filmed a training track in Churchable, Queensland, across the road from Arnold’s property. On film, it captures Arnold and her dog Dorak Des chasing a live pig on the lure while Arnold asks “what’s the quickest been today” before being informed her dog is. Arnold is later asked by Four Corners what mantra is at the forefront of greyhound racing in 2015, to which she states, “.”
  • Professor of animal behaviour and animal welfare science Paul McGreavy offered his comments on the matter of live-baiting coming from a decade of research into the breed, insisting there are breeds far more dangerous and that greyhounds are simply “chasing to catch, not to kill”. He emphasises the dogs “love racing, they love moving around that speed – they’ll be getting off on this,” and that they “are so sedentary when they’re not exposed to this stimuli.”
  • Animal Liberation Queensland investigator Hailey Cotton reveals the first tip-off regarding live-baiting in Churchable was passed to her: “Their words to me were ‘something really bad is going on there,’ and they said ‘it smells like death’”.
  • Undercover cameras were placed in the property of prominent Queensland trainer Tom Noble, a celebrated, award-winning greyhound trainer with almost 50 years in the game. His break-in centre is the epicenter of greyhound training in Queensland, and the live baiting footage of Deborah Arnold’s dog occurred on his track.
  • More than 40 owners, trainers and handlers are recorded on camera while live baiting occurs on Tom Noble’s property. “These people are leading trainers, they’re training their dogs with these methods,” said Cotton. “They’re then going on to win races using these methods, so the whole integrity of greyhound racing is really brought into question here.”
  • Footage confirms four times a week, piglets and later possums are flung around Noble’s track 26 times at high speed. The piglet is shown squealing with a man on the camera swearing at it, and one or two dogs are let loose to chase, grab and maul the possum while it’s still alive. Some 56 minutes later, the lure stops and the possum is snapped in half, the corpse still attached by its spinal cord, with the men in the footage making light of the situation.
  • Discussion of dumping dead dogs is captured on film, leading the investigation to ask NSW greyhound trainer John Thompson about the issue. Animal Liberation Australia links him as the man in the footage telling others to smash a baby possum’s head in so the live baiting of its mother can begin. “They ripped the baby from the mother, they tied the mother on the lure, and they then stick the baby’s head in the sand to kill it while its mother is watching on, all the time laughing and joking on how amusing it is,” said Hailey Cotton.
  • Victoria wrap-up:

  • In mid-November 2014, Lyn White of Animals Australia simultaneously led an investigation at the Tooradin Trial Track in Victoria after a tip-off. Considered to be in the heart of greyhound racing territory in the state, the track is run by owner operator Stuart Mills, whose brother is Andrew Mills, former deputy chief for Greyhound Racing Victoria and now the regulator’s chief racing grader for the entire state.
  • Lyn White reveals 17 people were captured live baiting the first time undercover footage was recorded. The first trainer identified is former steward of Greyhound Racing Victoria , who arrives as Stuart Mills attaches a lure on a wooden plank with leather straps, before returning with a live rabbit and stretching it out tightly as he buckles it down flat. The rabbit is shown returning five minutes later, mauled but still alive and twitching in agony. “It tells me this is a practice that has been going for an acceptable level to trainers for years and years,” White said.
  • Anderton’s dogs went on to win three races days after being captured on the footage in Tooradin. President of Cranbourne Racing Club Neville King is also filmed on camera live baiting two days before Christmas at Tooradin.
  • Trainer Dennis Dean and a young girl watch as live rabbits are leashed and thrown to the dogs to kill. CEO of Greyhound Australasia was questioned on his thoughts of live-baiting behaviour during the revelations of the footage and the discovery of children being brought to watch while it occurs: “I think that’s ridiculous and abhorrent. I don’t support that at all. I’m not aware of it, and never heard of it, live baiting is illegal as well as being wrong and against the rules of greyhound racing.”
  • Footage of dogs on the Tooradin track is shown, encouraged to savagely kill several rabbits, which are skinned or tied as they maul them.
  • Former steward at Greyhound Racing Victoria Amanda Hill says there was a problem inside GRV regarding regulators failing to pick up and follow on rumours of live-baiting in the state: “Lack of resources, lack of funds, lack of knowledge, or plainly, they don’t want to accept that it’s a possibility.” She believes some trainers are “doing it to try and get an edge. It’s probably harder to get caught live baiting than what it is to using performance-enhancing drugs.”
  • Hill left GRV in 2004 and became the Chair of Stewards in Greyhound Racing Tasmania, where she was able to do better in stopping live baiting. In 2008, Hill caught a female trainer red-handed live baiting a possum. Possum carcasses were found all over the track, and it remains one of two cases in the past decade where a steward has followed through and successfully convicted a live baiter.
  • Hill identifies two-time Australian greyhound trainer of the year Darren McDonald as one of the figures caught on film three days before the 2014 Melbourne Cup, engaging in live baiting at Tooradin alongside handler Chris Connelly. He is shown on camera carrying a sack with a tiny pink piglet before placing it on the lure. The two men remove the muzzles on their dogs after two laps and the dogs maul the piglet, heard squealing as it dies off-camera. McDonald has since transferred all of his greyhounds to his wife’s name.
  • New South Wales wrap-up:

  • McDonald’s top sprinter Keybow is revealed by Four Corners to have been broken in across the border in NSW at Londonderry by Zeke Kadir.
  • Four Corners received a tip-off within the industry that Kadir was rumoured to be the best live baiter within the state, and that it occurred at his property as part of his training purposes. “He mentioned that he broke (in) Keybow, and he talked about how he gets live rabbits from a person he knows, and he gets about 30 a week,” a private investigator for Four Corners confirms.
  • Footage shows Zeke Kadir using the rabits tied to a hand-pushed lure, controlled by Kadir. They’re dragged along the ground at speed pursued by dogs in training. On January 12, 2015, the footage captures Ian Morgan arriving at the venue for a private session, where a native possum is strung to the lure struggling to escape as two muzzled greyhounds attempt to bite the possum. Four minutes later, the muzzles come off and the cry is captured off-screen of the possum’s demise. “I am fearful at how widespread this is, and the consequences for literally thousands of animals each year,” said Lyn White.
  • Morgan is later seen removing the dead possum from his greyhound, Cee Cee Quoted. Four days later, Four Corners catches him leaving his Western Sydney home bound for an afternoon race meet in Newcastle, where Cee Cee Quoted places third. John Cauchi, of Box Hill, was also caught practising live baiting by hand.
  • Aftermath:

  • Four Corners notes requests for interviews with the regulators in all three states caught live-baiting were declined, deferring comment to CEO of Greyhounds Australasia Scott Parker. “I don’t suspect this is a systemic problem at all,” Parker said. “It’s illegal, abhorrent, and totally rejected by the industry.”
  • When asked about how three tracks have been confirmed to have had live baiting occurring on site that have not been detected by regulators, Parker surmises “our bodies do a great job, but it’s a big industry and a lot of these facilities are a long, long way away from Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane – and that’s why compliance officers are employed to get out there.”
  • In Queensland, RSPCA caught the live-baiters at Tom Noble’s establishment during their follow-up raids and saved a live piglet tied in a sack moments away from being bound and baited. Tom Noble was on-site, as well as his staff James Draws and Tony McCabe. They denied any wrong-doing despite being caught on film. RSPCA eventually found a second piglet hidden inside a shed on the property, wounded from a previous live-baiting session.
  • At Tooradin, Stuart Mills was watched closely, but no animals were caught on-site. Four Corners visited him the next day of the raids, and he’s clearly shaken as he maintains his denials about live-baiting.
  • Zeke Kadir’s property was visited, but he refused to answer Four Corners’ reporters on live baiting.
  • Four Corners’ investigations are now a criminal matter, with state charges imminent.
  • Post program:

  • In Victoria, GRV chair Peter Caillard has welcomed a $6 million government investment for investigative resources for GRV to help detect and prevent practises such as live-baiting from occurring in the future. In addition, GRV have also announced that dead animals will no longer be allowed to assist in the training of greyhounds. “The use of live animals is already outlawed. GRV will also outlaw the use of dead animals in greyhound training whether on private premises or registered training premises,” Mr Caillard said in a press release. Caillard has also agreed to cancel the Greyhound Industry Awards night, which was to be held this Friday night, after instruction from MP . The Darren McDonald-trained Sweet It Is was the frontrunner to take out the highest honour, 2014 .
  • In New South Wales, GRNSW have announced that a taskforce has been established to investigate the extent of the live-baiting practices in the state. The taskforce will be led by former High Court justice and eminent legal practitioner, the Hon. Michael McHugh AC, QC. The taskforce will look into the training methods used in NSW and will arrange for trial tracks and training facilities to be monitored. It is also set to examine whether GRNSW and relevant agencies such as the RSPCA NSW have the necessary powers to correctly investigate animal cruelty allegations. “We need to stamp out live baiting once and for all. Not only is it illegal but it is sickening and we are disgusted with what we have witnessed on air,” GRNSW CEO Brent Hogan said in a press release. “GRNSW welcomes Michael McHugh’s acceptance to head this taskforce and is committed to working closely with him and the taskforce as quickly as we can. The taskforce will help ensure that live baiting and other acts of animal cruelty identified in NSW are eradicated as quickly as possible.”
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    Rod Lee
    Rod Lee
    6 years ago

    That’s exactly what the Ceo of the RSPCA is doing on television this morning Craig.

    Craig Jones
    Craig Jones
    6 years ago

    RSPCA animal cruelty!!!

    Craig Jones
    Craig Jones
    6 years ago

    If they target all and not just one industry I’m happy with that Rod….unfair to target and broadcast one industry when it is everywhere in society….

    Owen Cottrill
    Owen Cottrill
    6 years ago

    Wow u really don’t know much about greyhounds at all do u!! They are not blood hounds they are sight dogs! Track record holders around this country don’t even kill if given the chance! So your saying I can make a dog go quick?? Have u heard of genes mate?????? I make a dog fit but I can’t make it go quicker than its natural ability!!! Don’t make stupid comments about things u have no idea about!! U make me laugh with ur small mind filled with crap!!!

    Rod Lee
    Rod Lee
    6 years ago

    And may I add the RSPCA & council dog pounds kill more dogs a year than the greyhound industry, they don’t tell everyone that fact though !

    Tracy Leitch
    Tracy Leitch
    6 years ago

    If people will look at my comments on the Herald Sun link about this, we trainers have been painted the same as these trainers that have abused the rules, it is wrong to use live bait and against GRV rules and is illegal by Police, i do not feel sorry for the ones that have been caught, you do the crime you do the time, i never used live bait or such when i was training greyhounds, they were trained at a young age with a stuffed squeeky toy, and the dogs i used this on won races, so you… Read more »

    Craig Jones
    Craig Jones
    6 years ago

    Spot on Rod✌️?

    Sue Murphy
    Sue Murphy
    6 years ago

    I think the problem with the Stewards and those able to “investigate” is their lack of powers under their legislation. They obviously don’t have the authority to do what Animals Australia have done. However that does not stop the governing bodies from passing their information to those who CAN legally do what was shown last night. I’m not defending the racing industry at all here but pointing out the limited ability as defined by legislation. The animal welfare component of Racing needs to be outsourced to someone who can do more. Unless this part of the industry is changed it… Read more »

    Sue Murphy
    Sue Murphy
    6 years ago

    You don’t know that Dale. These agencies have been trying to shut down racing for YEARS so they would have done everything in their power to ensure that any footage taken can be used as evidence in a court of law.

    DawnLee1
    DawnLee1
    6 years ago

    I was absolutely sickened by what was aired last night and had to close my eyes and block my ears several times. This is terrible and I can’t even find the words to describe my horror and anger at these so called humans. They are an absolute disgrace. I have had greyhounds for 41 years and have never done this horrific act and my dogs have had many wins over the years. They don’t need to engage in this act and never will. These people, all of them ,need the law to come down on them hard.

    Scott David Smith
    Scott David Smith
    6 years ago

    Still wsiting 4 them to suspend darren mcdonald . . . Act now!!!!!!

    Scott David Smith
    Scott David Smith
    6 years ago

    Ur a dickhead Nicholas!!!

    Scott David Smith
    Scott David Smith
    6 years ago

    Just laughed at ben’s comment . . Bloodhounds???? Ur wrong they are sight dogs like as Owen described . . Sheez the stupidity of Ben . . . .

    Scott David Smith
    Scott David Smith
    6 years ago

    And lied lied straight to my face . . .

    Martin Martos Jones
    Martin Martos Jones
    6 years ago

    Shit go targeting one industry don’t they have anything better 2do

    Scott David Smith
    Scott David Smith
    6 years ago

    Do u mean hes stepping away from the sport???

    Lindsay Joyce
    Lindsay Joyce
    6 years ago

    Clean this Great Sport up!We don’t need this at all.\U0001f44d

    Daniel Harding
    Daniel Harding
    6 years ago

    I believe it was a forced transfer. He will be punished. I agree baiting is wrong. But I don’t believe it gives a winning advantage

    Owen Cottrill
    Owen Cottrill
    6 years ago

    Thanks scott!!

    Jennifer Scott-Kennedy
    Jennifer Scott-Kennedy
    6 years ago

    Mandy Scott

    LeahDoner
    LeahDoner
    6 years ago

    Well, Martin, if you have evidence that cyclists or netballers are torturing animals, you should bring it to the ABC.

    LeahDoner
    LeahDoner
    6 years ago

    What does that have to do with live baiting, Rod?

    LeahDoner
    LeahDoner
    6 years ago

    How hard would it have been to type a “g” at the end of “fuckin”, Nicholas? What kind of example are you setting for “wogs” if you can’t even get the spelling right in your sentence fragments?

    Harris Van Houten
    Harris Van Houten
    6 years ago

    He means all his dogs are now trained by his partner

    Mwk
    Mwk
    6 years ago

    Minister needs to make it illegal to transfer business to family .. It makes a mockery of the rules when someone who commits an offence just puts it all into a family membes name…who agrees?

    Recluse 60
    Recluse 60
    6 years ago

    It was appalling last night and congratulations to Four Corners for doing what appears RQ couldn’t or wouldn’t. Ms Arnolds dogs have not been scratched today? why not she blatantly lied on camera and she was at the track while her dog was given live bait. So RQ why haven’t you suspended her? Mr Kay was at the track when they were live baiting and he claims he saw nothing so why hasn’t he been suspended and his dogs scratched? oh that’s right RQ your too dam weak aren’t you which explains why your the only administration that hasn’t commented on the Four… Read more »

    NancyWeller
    NancyWeller
    6 years ago

    This was so hard to watch.  Hearing the squeals, the laughter from buffoons.  I have toss offs from the industry.

    And as painful as this was to watch the barbaric, neanderthal mentality of the industry, I applaud Four Corners for exposing it.

    You have names and faces.  Lock them up.

    Treehugger
    Treehugger
    6 years ago

    Good wrap up of the salient points, if a little grisly. So what happens now?  Can the winnings of crooked trainers be recovered under the proceeds of crimes act?  Why are dogs allowed to be transferred to family members?  That is laughable, training will just go on as before.  Do you understand what that looks like to the general public?   It is heartening to hear some sensible comments on this page, such as you can not make a dog run faster than it is genetically capable of – though apparently not everyone agrees – just goes to show the… Read more »

    Daniel
    Daniel
    6 years ago

    The greyhound racing industry kills tens of thousands of greyhounds each year, the fact remains that the industry is just making money out of killing dogs before, during and after racing.

    Wayne Box Buttigieg
    Wayne Box Buttigieg
    6 years ago

    Hes done ,,Daniel lol ,will be going on a holiday soon and will bent over i say

    Scott David Smith
    Scott David Smith
    6 years ago

    Thats nothing . . The wife knows so she should be banned too!

    Vickie Broughton
    Vickie Broughton
    6 years ago

    who gives a rats clacker how it was obtained?? anyone doing the wrong thing is not going to give permission? how are things going to get exposed if this is not done

    Nicholas Vivian
    Nicholas Vivian
    6 years ago

    hey scott David Smith you fuckwit the media are grubs in general not specifically this this story you egg

    Corinna Horvath
    Corinna Horvath
    6 years ago

    The industry needs to get their heads out of each others assholes. And their hands out of each others pockets. Stewards need to start dojng their Flippin jobs and the so called royalty of racing start setting a bloody example. Great way to the majority to Hate You

    Dale Hogan
    Dale Hogan
    6 years ago

    Actually I’m well aware of law enforcement powers and they don’t have those powers..

    Dale Hogan
    Dale Hogan
    6 years ago

    Exactly Kim spot on. N bs they had court order they don’t have powers of law enforcement n police need court issued warrant to bug that a magistrate has to be extremely compelled to issue so these clowns wouldn’t have that!!

    Michael Craig
    Michael Craig
    6 years ago

    And how any winners do u get a week

    Tyne Chapman
    Tyne Chapman
    6 years ago

    Cats put up more of a fight

    Michael Craig
    Michael Craig
    6 years ago

    Lol chapo

    JulieThompson2
    JulieThompson2
    6 years ago

    The child exposed to animal torture has care and protection issues, please ensure a notification goes to statutory services. I am in NZ, I can’t do it but that child is at risk of future offending

    Margot Ricketts
    Margot Ricketts
    6 years ago

    How disgusting this is happening in Australia in 2015. A cover up from the authorities is obvious, how could they not be able to get evidence when volunteer animal activists could. Does so the trainer of the year have to give back his prizemoney  when there is evidence that his dog Keybrow was trained in this illegal way ??

    greg
    greg
    6 years ago

    tooradin for years has stored live rabbits in that shed shown. been done for many,many years. how come the 4 corners team found them at night time(legally or not) yet GRV’s own so called officers failed every time to locate them?

    and they get paid for what?having a cuppa with the proprieter?

    so,the buk stops with the GRV in the state of VIC. they have been shown up and they are ducking and diving for cover.

    DesLees
    DesLees
    6 years ago

    @Daniel you are a mis informed dreamer

    Scott Van Heurck
    Scott Van Heurck
    6 years ago

    They did say that they had knowledge of it happening so perhaps they did gain authority to place the cameras?

    Scott Van Heurck
    Scott Van Heurck
    6 years ago

    Interesting to see how the Corporate Sponsorship is affected? that could make it interesting if a lot of that was pulled

    Linda MB
    Linda MB
    6 years ago

    Agreed, that it was being done at all is the problem…YOU SHOULD AHVE DONE SOMETHING…and as for your greedy, cruell, perverted industry…SHUT IT DOWN

    Linda MB
    Linda MB
    6 years ago

    I do not give a f*** it was done, it has been doen for years and obviously sanctioned,

    Linda MB
    Linda MB
    6 years ago

    WTF has this got to do with your perverted sadistic industry?

    Linda MB
    Linda MB
    6 years ago

    You got caught regardless of what other people or industries that also do.