Live-baiting saga: Dogs free to run after NSW appeals upheld

THE New South Wales Racing Appeals Tribunal has upheld several appeals made by owners against a Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) decision to suspend greyhounds associated with trainers who have been suspended and are under investigation for allegedly engaging in the practice of live-baiting by Greyhound Racing Victoria.

Nine greyhounds were suspended by GRNSW on March 6 after the authority body received information that those greyhounds were connected with suspended Victorian trainers and had been moved back to NSW. The greyhounds suspended were Awesome Project, Bedazzled Bead, Cosmic Break, Keybow, Over Limit, Recruitment, Zipping Saxon, Zipping Spike, and Zipping Willow.

Those suspensions came after GRNSW had already suspended 28 greyhounds associated with NSW trainers that were under investigation for live-baiting.

GRNSW said the decision to suspend the greyhounds was ‘to protect the integrity of the sport, ensure consistent treatment and guard against the potential for unfair advantage including the prospect of an individual benefiting from the mistreatment of animals.’

The decision by GRNSW to suspend the greyhounds which had returned from Victoria was the subject of the appeals lodged by the greyhound owners to the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal.

The Tribunal ruled that because of a ‘technical issue of interpretation’ GRNSW did not have the power to hand down the suspensions on the greyhounds under local rule 92 and Greyhounds Australasia Rule 92(5) in that it ‘could not rely upon the GRV inquiry to enliven its powers under these rules.’

The ruling means that the suspensions on the aforementioned greyhounds have now been lifted, making them free to compete in NSW races, including the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg series and various other feature races run throughout the Egg Carnival.

Paul Newson, the interim CEO of GRNSW, said that he will now seek advice on changing the relevant rules to give GRNSW the ability to use its power to ensure that inquiries can run their normal course in the future.

“Since my appointment as CEO of GRNSW I have inherited a set of rules which, in my view, are deficient and are impeding the capability of GRNSW to properly supervise the industry and safeguard the public interest. This is something I will be addressing as part of my work to implement a robust governance and compliance framework,” Newson said.

“Over the coming weeks my priority continues to be enhancing the GRNSW investigative and compliance capability to ensure individuals found to have engaged in misconduct, including live bating, are held to account,” Mr Newson said.

IN QUEENSLAND, a newspaper has reported that firefigthers, police and an ambulance were called out to three different greyhound properties in Lowood and Churchable on Monday, after residents received envelopes containing an unknown white powder.

Forensic crews determined that the powder was non-harmful, but it is thought that the trainers were directly targeted, with two of the recipients being warned-off participants Tom Noble and Reg Kay. Both men were banned for life by Racing Queensland as a part of the live-baiting scandal earlier this month.

The third recipient of the letter has remained unnamed.

ALSO in Queensland, Racing Queensland has advised that the requirement for trainers to submit a statutory declaration prior to nominating their greyhounds has been deferred until further notice. That announcement came with the news that Queensland Greyhound Board Chairman Michael Byrne and Racing Queensland CEO Darren Condon will be conducting a greyhound industry briefing for all greyhound participants at Albion Park next Tuesday March 24, 2015 at 7pm, to inform everyone of the recent changes within the industry and answer any participant questions.

Those wishing to attend are asked to register that attendance by 12pm Monday March 23, 2015 by emailing [email protected] Racing Queensland has also asked that all questions be registered via the same email address.

IN TASMANIA, the Lower House voted on Wednesday night to establish a joint committee to investigate allegations of animal cruelty within the greyhound racing industry. The joint parliamentary inquiry will be broadened to also include an examination of over-breeding and the killing of under-performining dogs on top of live-baiting.

The inquiry comes after the Tasmanian Government ordered an independent investigation into the sport following on from the footage shown on the ABC’s Four Corners program. This review found no evidence of live baiting within the state, but has made 29 recommendations to toughen laws against it.

Past Discussion

  1. The rule of law must prevail but it certainly adds to the “controversy” surrounding the decision to run the NSW main flagship event in crisis times.

  2. The rule of law must prevail but it certainly adds to the “controversy” surrounding the decision to run the NSW main flagship event in crisis times.