The RSPCA headed out into bushland at Swan Bay, north of Newcastle, on Monday following reports that bushwalkers had found over the weekend what appeared to be at least seven skulls which looked like they came from dogs.
The media and bushwalkers were quick to conclude that the area could be a possible greyhound burial site, despite forensic analysis not having been conducted on the remains.
“We saw skulls with blunt trauma on top of their head and the more we walked we found more skulls with blunt trauma,” bushwalker Bobbie Antonic told the ABC.
“It’s pretty sad. Swan Bay is a pretty quiet area and to know that someone has dumped clearly greyhounds… and there’s a hessian bag and there’s a tarpaulin as well and so there are more bits and pieces in that as well.”
However, when RSPCA officials arrived on site on Monday morning, inspectors could only find one skull.
RSCPA spokesperson Scott Myers told the ABC that the remains showed the dog had a fractured skull, but the breed was yet to be determined.
“They appear to be canine,” Myers said.
“To be what species, whether a domestic dog or a greyhound, I couldn’t comment.”
The RSPCA were said to be disappointed that much of the evidence had gone missing.
“It appears the large amount of stuff that was reported yesterday has been removed, which is really unfortunate.
“Obviously whoever saw the news last night or social media was tipped off in relation to the police and RSPCA’s involvement, or that the police had been informed.
“It appears the remains have been removed.”
RSPCA Chief Inspector David O’Shannessy said the incident would be fully investigated and urged anyone with information to come forward.
The alleged finding of the remains comes just over a month after the Baird state government announced its intentions to outlaw greyhound racing within New South Wales as of July 1, 2017.
The Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 was introduced to Parliament last week, passing through the Upper House despite not having the support of the Labor Party, the Christian Democrat Party and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.
It is expected to go before the Lower House next Tuesday.
If the law is passed it will become an offence to race greyhounds within the state as of July next year, with those caught organising greyhound racing facing up to one year in jail or an $11,000 fine.