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 lure.

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 occurring on-site.

CEO of Greyhound Racing Victoria Adam Wallish called the story, which started with from Four Corners in conjunction with Animal Australia 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, “animal .”
  • 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 , whose brother is Andrew Mills, former deputy chief steward 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 Paul Anderton, 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 as one of the figures caught on film three days before the 2014 , 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 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 controlling 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 Martin Pakula. The Darren McDonald-trained Sweet It Is was the frontrunner to take out the highest honour, 2014 Victorian Greyhound of the Year.
  • 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 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 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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    Dale Hogan
    Dale Hogan
    6 years ago

    Your a fool or a spam account if you think this is a representation of the sport it’s one sided and paints everyone the same and that’s not true at all u fool… As to the cameras no this animal lib ppl does not have powers to gain authority to enter private property in secret plant hidden cameras and microphones to bug a place that’s espionage territory there not Azio or CIA and as to sanctioned ahhh it’s against the law n against racing code so it sure isn’t sanctioned but keep thinking without your brain.. This program was never… Read more »

    Nicholas Vivian
    Nicholas Vivian
    6 years ago

    whose beautiful sport bart baczyk ?

    Craig Jones
    Craig Jones
    6 years ago

    RSPCA are killing dogs u clown yet rabbits, pigs n possums are getting killed n it’s a up roar….I don’t condone it but ain’t it double standards??….both are animal cruelty!!

    mix
    mix
    6 years ago

    The dogs are rigged and should be shut down

    JulieThompson2
    JulieThompson2
    6 years ago

    The videos don’t lie. The Australian public and the international community do not unsee piglets being strung up for forty minutes, small animals being swung around by thier spinal cords. You racing freaks are blinded by money over breeding, animal hoarding lowlifes who destroy the spirits of beautiful dogs by half starving them and dumping them when the money runs out.

    Clem
    Clem
    6 years ago

    If the governing bodies did what they were supposed to there would be no need to put in hidden cameras to catch these b*stards at work. They deserve everything that’s coming their way. This “sport” is ruined. It’s over. Finished. Find another hobby, folks. Maybe one not involving animals as many of you clearly can’t be trusted. The banjo music is fading.

    Clem
    Clem
    6 years ago

    They don’t tie them down and allow them to be mauled to death. 

    Clem
    Clem
    6 years ago

    troll

    Kirk Force Field
    Kirk Force Field
    6 years ago

    So because it was done by secret cameras it excuses the behaviour of this filth? Animal cruelty is animal cruelty, they were caught as they should have been and hopefully it leads to massive and long overdue changes in the industry and prison sentences for those involved.

    Natina Howard
    Natina Howard
    6 years ago

    Yer Dale if it was four corners cameras surely that’s called tresspassing. Different if it was rspca cameras though.

    Ryan Kokomo Freedman
    Ryan Kokomo Freedman
    6 years ago

    It was the animal activists cameras and it has come out today that they were there illegally

    Dale Hogan
    Dale Hogan
    6 years ago

    Actually it’s very different the Law is the Law no one is above it

    Dale Hogan
    Dale Hogan
    6 years ago

    Thank you Ryan point proven…

    Dale Hogan
    Dale Hogan
    6 years ago

    Actually Michelle how this came about is very to the point these ppl had information instead of going to authorities first they took the law into there own hands and because of that lots of good ppl lots collateral damage has been done and there evidence is tainted and inadmissible which means these wrong doers will not get prosecuted fully which is what ppl miss fully about all this nobody is thinking there all yelling and screaming n wanting heads to roll but that will never get things solved

    Loz Kearns
    Loz Kearns
    6 years ago

    Animal Australia got a tip off. A tip off and everyone praises their great work! Pfffft they got lucky & spot on mate, illegally filmed and named and shamed those on the footage. Naughty naughty.It’s the lesser of two evils but good on you for saying it mate

    Loz Kearns
    Loz Kearns
    6 years ago

    Uneducated people should really shut up but I needed a good laugh! Blood hounds hahaha deary me that’s a breed of dog you clown.This bull shit stigma has been attached to Greyhounds heads for years. They didn’t deserve this four corners crap because they are as innocent as the feral rabbit strung on the lure. No1 cared for the dogs who make wonderful pets when retiredOwen, you’ll know where I’m coming from- this baiting makes em race faster! No1 investigates the Weet Bix before a race at odds on makes em miss the kick for a better price next time.… Read more »

    Owen Cottrill
    Owen Cottrill
    6 years ago

    I race knowing my dogs r happy and fit and they run hard cause they love it.

    Roman Flachs
    Roman Flachs
    6 years ago

    Stop ya finger pointing at the investigators, they did there job… And if you all did your job properly the camera’s wouldn’t be there. As for the 20 or so regulation officers, sack the lot of them…..why didn’t they set up some camera’s!!!! oh don’t tell me they didn’t know this was going on…… You all knew this was going on its just that no one had the balls to front up… Perhaps the camera’s should be left there permanently 24/7 so we can all watch…..

    Roman Flachs
    Roman Flachs
    6 years ago

    Exactly!!!!!! 20 or so corrupt officers sitting on there fat arses getting paid, perhaps they should’ve gone to dick smith bought some camera’s and done there job properly. So how do we find a list of these Regulation Officers????

    Peter Smith
    Peter Smith
    6 years ago

    You cant make a slow dog fast but you can make a fast dog slow

    MattSamson
    MattSamson
    6 years ago

    Take 4 Corners to court then…. stop making excuses for the cruelty.

    Roman Flachs
    Roman Flachs
    6 years ago

    Setup surveillance camera’s on every trainer’s track to record 24/7 which is to be controlled by the RSPCA and for the public to view the cams anytime. That should stop some of these cruel corrupt trainers & handlers

    Ben Cyni Huntah Mason
    Ben Cyni Huntah Mason
    6 years ago

    It’s not that simple mate. Private property. Invasion of privacy.

    Ben Cyni Huntah Mason
    Ben Cyni Huntah Mason
    6 years ago

    The closet to stopping it is random check up by officials. Even that wouldn’t put a slight dent in the corrupt trainers. There’s a way around everything yet there’s not always a way to fix things. Sad hey

    Roman Flachs
    Roman Flachs
    6 years ago

    Craig Jones…. Four corners has targeted and showed what you’ve mentioned above…… You obviously don’t watch the show. Do your research….

    Roman Flachs
    Roman Flachs
    6 years ago

    Yes the RSPCA are killing dogs due to overpopulated unwanted pets. They put them to sleep with a needle, they don’t tie them up and dangle them around a race track. BTW the RSPCA are on a shoestring budget with very little support from the government. Anyways whats this got to do with greyhound racing?

    Ben Cyni Huntah Mason
    Ben Cyni Huntah Mason
    6 years ago

    Afraid to say dale is 100% correct whether the trainer does the wrong thing or not. You can’t just film someone on property. How about I set a camera up at your bedroom windows. Just to see if you do anything wrong. Laws the law people. Whilst the person filmed broke the law so did the people filming.

    Ben Cyni Huntah Mason
    Ben Cyni Huntah Mason
    6 years ago

    No idiot. Greyhounds chase to hunt. There hunting dogs. That’s why they chase lures. Do your research. Go back to what greyhounds were actually used for. Before man decided to put them in a box to jump and win money for. There there because there fast. Otherwise I’d put my staffy in a race. You think because you race dogs you know everything. Mate there’s more then you out there that’s trained dogs. Couldn’t give a shit if you worked at a track or sucked off a steward. Don’t make you better or think you know more then anyone else

    MattSamson
    MattSamson
    6 years ago

    I don’t know anything about Greyhound racing, and nor do I really care. What I have done is read the comments on this page, with quite a number of them being critical of 4 Corners airing the program. They cry that the footage was “illegally” obtained, they make excuses for the cruel, corrupt and sadistic trainers who featured on the program. Some of whom lied. When in front of a camera and reporter, they were as sweet as pie, but when viewed on their own, quite vicious, sadistic and cruel. Why is it so hard to call a spade a… Read more »

    greg
    greg
    6 years ago

    contact GRV.

    and ask why the integrity officer himself, BOB SMITH never intervened as he was part of the killing mob. he would have told officers everything is fine at TOORADN, so no need to go out there. take my word for it. sure, BOOBY boy, you have a lot of explaining to do tour superiors. think you may now be out of a job old son.

    and ANDREW MILLS grader of the GRV is a bro to STUART MILLS, and he didn’t know this was going on at his families track?

    uuuhhhmmm, the plot thickens.

    Margot Ricketts
    Margot Ricketts
    6 years ago

    No its not the same at all Craig, one is humanely put to sleep and the other is barbaric cruelty , ripped apart alive and screaming .

    Margot Ricketts
    Margot Ricketts
    6 years ago

    And how lucky for us they had the guts to go and film this disgusting pathetic “training” they wont get away with this , too much damage is now done to the industry , how those people can hold their heads up in the communities they live in is beyond me.

    Margot Ricketts
    Margot Ricketts
    6 years ago

    MattSamson Exactly right !

    Jodie
    Jodie
    6 years ago

    Both sides broke the law. True. Lesser of the two evils ? Not hard to figure out. Setting up a camera on a private property vs exposing an industry of corruption, lies, evil, extreme animal cruelty. Good job animals australia and four corners.

    Tracy Leitch
    Tracy Leitch
    6 years ago

    Ah we have a TROLL!!!!!

    Natalie D'Silva
    Natalie D'Silva
    6 years ago

    “The laws the law” is it? So live baiting is illegal, so isn’t that law breaking? Bunch of hypocrites. I guess the law can be enforced only when it suits??

    Lindsay Joyce
    Lindsay Joyce
    6 years ago

    Absolutely GregAre you involved in any sport ?

    Brad Carsons
    Brad Carsons
    6 years ago

    They had a warrant Dale. Just like you can get a warrant to tap phone lines.

    Brad Carsons
    Brad Carsons
    6 years ago

    What sort of world would we live in without media Nicholas. Give yourself an uppercut.

    Rach Ella
    Rach Ella
    6 years ago

    Of course Dale is upset that his earning a livelihood through this “sport” is going to be made more difficult.

    Rach Ella
    Rach Ella
    6 years ago

    Dale, just an FYI, when you call someone a “fool” perhaps use correct grammar. Otherwise it demonstrates that “You’RE” actually the fool.

    Tracey Fluellen
    Tracey Fluellen
    6 years ago

    Natalie you should probably just stop reading these posts. Perhaps try bashing your head against a brick wall instead? The resulting brain injury will still leave you with a higher IQ than 95% of the people you’re arguing with on here.

    BazzaArmstrong
    BazzaArmstrong
    6 years ago

    You are just another uneducated moron or possibly bogan Ben! How do you catch people breaking the law Benny? Using your analogy you just ask them their permission to film them breaking the law. Why was ICAC so successful BEN?

    BazzaArmstrong
    BazzaArmstrong
    6 years ago

    Ben don’t keep up harping about invasion of privacy. You aren’t even a bush lawyer. If it’s in the public interest and corruption and illegal activity amongst leading greyhound trainers is occurring  well this is completely legitimate to bring this into the public arena. Don’t be a dickhead!

    JulieThompson2
    JulieThompson2
    6 years ago

    We cannot even judge the trueextent of the problem here in New Zealand since Greyhound Racing New Zealand have stopped publiclyreleasing the numbers of [short term investment] dogs that die after high risk racingincidents. With 10,000 former racers deemed to be “missing”, numeroustrackside deaths, and a welfare panel touted as “independent” featuring peoplewith close links to the gambling industry it is all but over for greyhound racing.Industry leaders have been revealed as abusive thugs and your advertising investmentnow requires scrutiny. The footage gained by TV3 (NZ) showing dogs beinghoarded, underfed, overbred and disposed of by shooting, burning and rotting indog… Read more »

    AaronC_GPLNZ
    6 years ago

    Look around. What you are experiencing is the beginning of the end. The demise of your sick entertainment is upon you. Greatest days for greyhounds, ever.

    Daniel
    Daniel
    6 years ago

    DesLees Sorry Des, they are fact!  Your own industry admitted to it!

    Brent Hogan admitted years ago that 3000 greyhounds get killed in NSW alone (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-09/greyhound-racing-euthanasia-rates-slammed/4362442).

    Why dont you do some research and look up the amount of registered greyhound litters each year in Australia.  Do some calculations (average greyhound litter of 6), tally it up, there should be at least 140,000 retired greyhounds in Australia (under the age of 10 and older than 4).  Thats only counting the ones that the industry know of. )

    Tell me why I am a mis-informed dreamer?

    BazzaArmstrong
    BazzaArmstrong
    6 years ago

    Loz,you just like pretending you have some journalistic ability…You don’t! so keep your ill informed and angry comments to yourself. Just another Greyhound bogan.

    BazzaArmstrong
    BazzaArmstrong
    6 years ago

    Loz

    Articulate and construct a sentence in English so we can understand what on earth your rants actually are supposed to convey. Just another idiot who posts before they think. Were you ever educated?