FOUR people have been charged by Police from the Joint QPS/RSPCA Greyhound Inquiry Task Force following on from further investigations into the practice of live-baiting within the Queensland greyhound racing industry.
One of those charged is a 69-year-old man from Churchable. He has been charged with threatening/intimidating a witness under the provisions of the Criminal Code and is set to appear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on Friday morning. It has been alleged the man intimidated someone who appeared in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on Wednesday for several offences relating to animal cruelty.
Another three people will appear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on April 29. One of those is a 49-year-old Churchable woman who has been charged with seven counts of animal cruelty, the second is a 52-year-old man who has been charged with one count of failing to secure a firearm, while the third is a 47-year old man who will face the Court for four counts of animal cruelty.
Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW) announced on Thursday it has initiated an inquiry into alleged incidents said to have occurred at the Keinbah Trial Track. Claims have been made that, for $50, greyhounds were being shot and thrown into a pit at the Hunter Valley premises. The current owners of the Hunter Valley property in question, who purchased the site just prior to the discovery of the graves, have previously declined to comment to Australian Racing Greyhound.
The inquiry will seek to uncover what incidents have occurred at the property in the past and what, if any, action should be taken by GRNSW and other relevant authority bodies.
Findings from the three previous investigations undertaken into the Keinbah Trial Track since early 2014 will also be used as a part of the inquiry. One of those investigations was conducted by the RSPCA NSW, another by GRNSW and the third by former NSW Police Deputy Commissioner David Madden in early 2015.
GRNSW have said that at this stage no charges have been laid against any registered participants in regards to the allegations at The Keinbah Trial Track, while they have also said it is too early to speculate whether the site is in fact a mass gravesite as alleged.
Paul Newson, the interim CEO of GRNSW said in a press release that the new inquiry into the Keinbah Trial Track would allow the authority body to fully investigate the allegations that have been made.
“The inquiry has been established to investigate further the disturbing allegations that have been made in regard to animal cruelty at Keinbah Trial Track,” Mr Newson said.
“The inquiry will allow GRNSW to fully examine the allegations that have been made and determine what further action, if any, needs to be considered by GRNSW or other relevant authorities such as NSW Police or RSPCA NSW.
“GRNSW recognises there may be evidentiary challenges and limitations on what action may be available under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 given the likely passage of time, however believes it is in the public interest to fully investigate and achieve some certainty around what has taken place.”
Return to Racing Policy released by GRNSW
On Thursday, GRNSW released its new return to racing policy for greyhounds that are currently suspended from racing due to being under suspicion of exposure to the practice of live baiting.
The policy involves a return to racing assessment process which sets out the procedures that must be undertaken for named and unnamed greyhounds before they are allowed to race.
Steps involved include:
The new procedure also facilitates that each greyhound can be monitored throughout its lifecycle following on from the assessment process. If it is determined that the greyhound is no longer suitable to race, GRNSW has said that it will ensure the animals welfare, providing owners the opportunity to re-home their greyhound through the GAP program.
GRNSW’s interim CEO Paul Newson said in a press release it was vital to introduce the assessment process before allowing greyhounds involved in the live baiting saga to return to the track.
“GRNSW had to ensure that there is an appropriate process in place to screen for any effects that may compromise the integrity of the sport or animal welfare, as well as appropriately address the fundamental need to restore public confidence around industry supervision and integrity,” Newson said.
“The allegations of live baiting have raised serious animal welfare and integrity concerns in NSW greyhound racing. This policy aims to meet those concerns head on.
“In assessing the risk to the integrity of the sport or the welfare of any greyhound it is essential that all areas of the greyhound’s life cycle are reviewed and the individual circumstances of each greyhound are taken into account.
“The process of lifetime tracking will provide GRNSW with a unique opportunity to obtain data from a controlled sample of greyhounds throughout their lifecycle and transition to pets. The information may identify potential linkages from the data collected including the effect of breeding, exposure, environment, racing and socialisation to the greyhound’s overall success, performance and welfare.”
Julie Edmondson’s animal cruelty case adjourned
Successful Queensland breeder and owner Julie Edmondson, the former partner of recently warned-off trainer Reg Kay, had her case adjourned until July 1, 2015, after appearing in the Ipsiwch Magistrates Court on Wednesday on four charges relating to animal cruelty.
Detectives from the Greyhound Inquiry Taskforce alleged the practice of live baiting occurred at a Marburg property, used and operated by Edmondson to breed and train greyhounds, between September 2014 and January 2015.
It is alleged Edmondson had knowledge that chickens and a pig were brought onto the property by Cyril Wilson, the trainer and caretaker of her property, who was present when they were used as live bait.
Investigators said Edmondson was told by Wilson the pig had been tied to a stake and was still being used, after which she banned him from returning to the property. She then allegedly discussed how to dispose of the pig after it was used to blood the dogs.
Edmondson has also been accused of taking her dogs to Tom Noble’s private trial track in October 2014 where it is alleged a pig was used as bait for her dogs during a trial.
GRSA deny another RSPCA raid amid speculation
Greyhound Racing South Australia (GRSA) Integrity & Standards Manager Paul Marks has denied knowledge of a further Police & RSPCA raid on a Two Wells greyhound property within the past few days after conjecture began to mount on social media.
Speculated to have been the property of trainer Karen Bearpark, the partner of leading greyhound veterinarian John Katakasi, Marks advised in a release on March 30, 2015, that a kennel inspection was conducted on her property on March 26, which resulted in her greyhounds being withdrawn from their race engagements and being prohibited to compete until further notice.
When contacted by Australian Racing Greyhound, Marks was unable to share any further details in regards to what is still an ongoing investigation.
“Greyhound Racing SA stewards can confirm that a Two Wells licensed trainer’s property was searched on Thursday 26 March in conjunction with the RSPCA and SAPOL as a result of a number of allegations. Items were seized and investigations are continuing.
“I am not in a position to add anything else at the moment… Obviously we are mindful that the trainer has yet to be advised of any findings and a possible inquiry date.”
Australian Racing Greyhound also contacted the SA Police who issued the following statement.
“Police can confirm in late March a property in Two Wells was searched by police in conjunction with the RSPCA and the Greyhounds Association.
“The police investigation is ongoing and as such no further comment will be made.”
The RSPCA SA also acknowledged they assisted in searching a property in Adelaide’s north last month, but were unable to provide details as the investigation was not under the Animal Welfare Act.
Neither organisation could confirm whether their search was at Bearpark’s property.
Dewana Result back in the winner’s circle
Boom sprinter Dewana Result bounced back to his brilliant best at Warragul on Tuesday night, winning a Free For All event over 460-metres in a quick 25.99.
Trained by Brendan Dewan, the son of Cosmic Rumble and Wildcard Lass had not been seen since finishing down the track in a heat of Group 2 Shepparton Cup in February. Prior to that, he had not had a start since October where he sustained an injury when finishing third in the Group 3 Cranbourne Puppy Classic.
Dewana Result, which holds the track record at Warragul (25.43), has now won 10 races from just 14 starts with $54,000 in prize money earnings.