AN interim suspension has been handed to greyhound trainer and breeder Harry Sarkis while the GRNSW investigates offences into luring and live baiting.
GRNSW compliance officers reported the discovery of “what appeared to be a rabbit carcass” on Sarkis’ property on Wednesday, July 27 during a planned kennel inspection. The GRNSW and RSPCA NSW were then sent to investigate.
AustralianRacingGreyhound understands that Sarkis moved his family and greyhounds to the property in question just two months prior to the find.
While the initial wave of inspections and interviews did not result in any formal charges, Sarkis will have until Wednesday, August 3 to show cause on why his interim suspension should be lifted before the coming steward’s inquiry.
The carcass discovery and interim suspension for Sarkis comes at a time of tension for a greyhound industry that’s fighting for its survival. 24 hours prior to the find, the industry’s supporters announced the ‘Fair Go Rally’, which is set to be held in Sydney on August 2.
GRNSW CEO Paul Newson, who has come under fire by participants and accused of being a mouthpiece for NSW Premier Mike Baird, said the industry would take a zero tolerance approach to poor animal welfare standards.
“Just in case any participant hasn’t got the message by now, as the industry regulator GRNSW will immediately and decisively take action if there is any suggestion that the racing rules have been breached, particularly those pertaining to cruel and sickening acts of live baiting,” said Newson, who dramatically quit the top post last week, and has been vocally criticising the industry on his Twitter feed since, despite remaining in employment with GRNSW.
Stewards will seek to prove Sarkis has breached Rule 86B of the Greyhound Racing Rules, which makes it an offence to:
• Use any live animal or animal carcass in connection with greyhound training, education or preparation to race or possess any live animal or animal carcass which is likely to be used as bait, quarry or lure to entice or encourage a greyhound to pursue it.
• Attempt to possess, or have possession of, or bring onto, any grounds, premises or within the boundaries of any property where greyhounds are, or are to be trained, kept or raced, any live animal, animal carcass or any part of an animal for the purpose of being, or which might reasonably be capable of being, or likely to be, used as bait, quarry or lure to entice or excite or encourage a greyhound to pursue it.
Any person found guilty of an offence under Rule 86B shall be disqualified for a period of not less than 10 years.
AustralianRacingGreyhound will report further on this story as it unfolds.