THE stand-in CEO of Greyhound Racing New South Wales, Paul Newson, has received an interim report from Deputy Police Commissioner Dave Madden into claims that greyhounds had been shot in the head for $50 and dumped into a pit at a property in the Hunter Valley.
Newson said the matter will now be passed onto NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mark Jenkins and the RSPCA, while he would also be handing over Madden’s report to the Special Commission of Inquiry which has been established to address issues of animal cruelty and integrity within the sport in the state.
The current owner of the Hunter Valley property in question, who purchased the site just prior to the discovery of the graves, declined to comment to Australian Racing Greyhound but told The Maitland Mercury skulls had been found buried just 10cm below the surface, with one skull said to have still had fur on it.
The property owner said both the RSPCA and Greyhound Racing NSW had visited the burial site and had conducted investigations.
“Within 10 to 15 minutes they walked on the property and found the first mass grave site,” the property owner said.
“I had no idea, it was so overwhelming.”
Newson, who stepped into the hot seat at GRNSW when Brent Hogan resigned, has now asked for anyone who has evidence of animal welfare concerns within the greyhound racing industry to contact the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Hotline to enable a full investigation into any claims. His calls for information come after a mass grave was found near Bundaberg, Queensland, last week which is believed to contain the carcasses of at least 55 greyhounds.
“The discovery near Bundaberg last week was deeply concerning and I would urge anyone who believes there are similar cases in NSW to contact the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Hotline immediately to ensure the mis-treatment of animals can be eradicated from the sport of greyhound racing for good,” Newson said.
“If any evidence of mass graves emerges in NSW, GRNSW will cooperate fully with the NSW Police and RSPCA NSW to ensure the matter can be properly investigated and individuals found to have been involved in animal cruelty are held accountable.”
Another mass grave site was discovered in Victoria in 2009 but, despite the Victorian RSPCA being called in to investigate, they were unable to proceed further with the case as a lack of evidence prevented them from establishing the cause of death of the greyhounds.
The treatment of animals in the greyhound industry has come under fire recently following on from the ABC’s Four Corners program titled ‘Making A Killing’, which exposed the practice of live-baiting within the sport.
Shortly after it was aired in February, the NSW Government announced the formation of a Special Commision of Inquiry last month to investigate issues of animal welfare and integrity within the sport.
Jenny Hunt hearing to be held at the end of April
Leading trainer Jenny Hunt will appear before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB) on April 29 after her greyhound, Jubilea Bale, returned a positive swab sample at Warragul on January 17, 2015.
The swab was analysed by Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) and was found to contain the presence of permanently banned substances amphetamine, methamphetamine and its metabolites.
Jubilea Bale was then scratched from her engagement at Sandown Park on February 5, 2015, by order of stewards after they were notified of the swab irregularity. At that time, the reserve and control samples had not been tested, while it was said that Jubilea Bale would be unable to compete until she returned a sample that did not breach Greyhounds Australasia rules.
The daughter of Collision and Nelly Bale has not raced since, with Hunt facing the Board for a breach of GAR83(2)(3) which reads:
- The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound-
- (a) nominated to compete in an Event;
- (b) presented for a satisfactory, weight or whelping trial or such other trial as provided for pursuant to these Rules; or
- (c) presented for any test or examination for the purpose of a period of incapacitation or prohibition being varied or revoked
shall present the greyhound free of any prohibited substance.
- (3) The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound presented contrary to sub-rule (2) shall be guilty of an offence.
Hunt is the daughter-in-law of former champion trainer Graeme Bate and took over the training of his large team of greyhounds when he was disqualified for a period of three years over a range of offences relating to prohibited substances.
One of Hunt’s greyhounds, Dawkins Bale, ran second in the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg on Saturday night, picking up $62,500 for connections.
Glen Canty, GRV’s general manager of integrity, racing and welfare has previously told Australian Racing Greyhound that the authority body would not tolerate any rule breaches in relation to prohibited substances.
“GRV has stated on many occasions that it has a zero-tolerance attitude to the use of drugs in our sport to affect the performance of greyhounds,” he said.
Pop The Cork set for racetrack return
Pop The Cork, one of the greyhounds implicated by the live-baiting scandal, will make his racetrack return at Albion Park this Thursday night.
Formerly trained by Reg Kay who has been issued a lifetime ban for his involvement in the fiasco, Pop The Cork is now under the care of Peter Ruetschi and will jump from box five in the first race over 520-metres.
The son of Brett Lee and Ima Geisha Girl has had three stewards trials, with his most recent being a slick 30.12 trial at Albion Park on Sunday.
Pop The Cork set tongues wagging in his only two starts to date, winning his heat and semi-final of the Group 2 Vince Curry Memorial Maiden at Ipswich in 30.34 and 30.16 respectively. He was then removed from the final after Kay was suspended by Racing Queensland.
Maitland Gold Cup attracts eight heats
Eight heats of the Group 2 Maitland Gold Cup will be run at the Hunter Valley circuit this Friday night over the 450-metre trip. Notable nominations for the series include Winsome Mission (heat two – box four), Spacecraft (heat six – box three), the unbeaten Black Frenzy (heat seven – box six), Race A Chaser syndication’s Megan Keeping (heat eight – box one) and boom sprinter Winsome Prince (heat eight – box three).
Each heat winner will progress through to the following Friday’s final which is worth $40,000-to-the-winner.