A NEW telephone hotline has been established by Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) to address unlawful and suspicious activity within the greyhound racing industry.
The hotline will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be used in addition to the existing online reporting service.
The current online service is available on the GRV website as well as the Fast Track and Greyhound Care and Standards websites, with the new hotline set to connect callers with GRV’s Investigations Unit.
Charlie Bezzina, GRV’s Senior Integrity Manager, said in a statement on Wednesday that all communication through the new hotline will be handled confidentially, with reports able to be made anonymously if required.
“It’s another way in which greyhound racing participants and the general public can be part of the solution in ensuring animal welfare and integrity are the sport’s key priorities,” Bezzina said.
“GRV’s online reporting function has already generated close to 5000 visits, with many people submitting valuable information that has been acted upon by GRV’s Investigations Unit.
“Around a third of these reports have involved animal welfare matters with the rest covering issues such as prohibited substances, disqualified people and unethical euthanasia.”
Bezzina is an ex-Victorian Police detective who heads the Investigation Unit which also contains several other former investigators from the Victorian Police force as well as ex intelligence analysts.
The Investigation Unit will monitor issues through a comprehensive risk framework that is said to drive preventative measures and trigger proactive investigations while working in close unison with GRV’s Welfare Unit, Stewards, the RSPCA, other animal welfare bodies and the Victoria Police.
“GRV and Victoria’s greyhound racing community are committed to reforming the sport and much has already been achieved,” Bezzina said.
“GRV and all participants have to work in unity to continue this reform process and make the sport in Victoria a best practice model nationally and internationally.”