SYDNEY trainer Frank Sidrak doesn’t know what he’ll do if the state government’s proposed greyhound racing ban is passed by the NSW Parliament.
Sidrak, who trains from his Catherine Field property, says the decision to outlaw the sport has devastated his entire family, in particular his sister Michelle.
“Fifteen years ago when Michelle was 21 she had a car accident where she hit a tree and she ended up with brain damage. She is now in a wheelchair and requires 24 hour care,” Sidrak told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“A few years ago we bought a bitch named Iona Habit and we decided to breed with her. The whole family chose a dog from the litter and Michelle picked the first black bitch and that turned out to be Iona Seven.
“Misty gave her something to look forward to every week when she was racing. It’s what she lives for and now the government are taking that away from her.”
Sidrak says he is at a loss to explain to Michelle what is going to happen if the ban comes into effect as of July 1, 2017.
“Misty is still here and we let her inside the house and she runs to Michelle straight away and she jumps on the wheelchair. They lay on the bed together and have a sleep – it’s something that has kept her going for a long time.
“She is very upset with everything which is going on. She keeps asking what is going to happen to the dogs – she worries that they are going to make us put Misty down.
“Misty will have a home here for life, but what do you say to her? My sister will lose the one thing she loves and that is the enjoyment she gets out of the dogs.”
And Sidrak says the emotional strain of Premier Mike Baird’s plans is made worse with the father of one having invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into his training establishment.
“I have put about $400,000 into the industry over the past three years to get us where we are now.
“To have it taken away, it is financially going to cripple me.
“I have 15 dogs in Melbourne, seven at the breakers, 11 that have to go to the breakers – this is money that I have to put into the dogs in case it doesn’t go through – but if it does then I have wasted that money.
“What happens to my dogs? My meat bill is $1000 a week, kibble bill is $300 a week – then there is vet bills, trials, petrol – the whole place costs me about $2000 per week to run.
“If there is no industry I am not going to be afford to do look after them.”
Sidrak, while determined not to give up, says he will continue to train his dogs as per usual, with the help of his two-year-old son Jack, a future greyhound trainer in the making.
“Every morning he is up at 6.30am with me wanting to help with the dogs.
“He loves the dogs – we have got a big picture of when one of our dogs Iona Muffin Top won the Distance Challenge at Wentworth Park – whenever anyone walks past it he screams ‘Hootie, Jack help Hootie win’.
“I am a third generation trainer – he would be fourth generation but now it has been taken away from him and he has done nothing wrong.
“To close an entire industry based on a report which is barely even based in NSW and most of the figures are wrong – I don’t understand it.”