Victorian greyhound trainer Robert Whitford has been delivered a two year licence suspension for failing to seeking prior approval from Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) before euthanasing an aggressive and unsocial greyhound.
A Victorian Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB) panel of Ms. Gail Owen (Chairman), Dr. Andrew Gould and Mr. David Gleeson handed down the penalty after hearing the case today with GRV Managing Principal Lawyer Mr. Marwan El-Asmar representing the GRV Stewards and Robert Whitford representing himself by phone.
Whitford was charged under GRV LRR 42.6 in so far as he “euthanased greyhound So Easy due to the dog being determined by a registered veterinarian to be aggressive to other animals”; but prior to euthanasia Mr. Whitford failed to provide the GRV with at least 14 days prior written notice, in the approved form, of an intention to euthanase a fit and healthy greyhound.
GRV Stewards found that at the Traralgon races on 20th March 2018, So Easy was stood down by Stewards for staying in the box and a satisfactory trial was required to lift the stand down.
On 9th August 2018 Mr. Whitford took So Easy to the Sale Veterinary Centre where the greyhound was euthanased and Mr. Whitford was supplied with a greyhound euthanasia certificate. The vet certified on the greyhound euthanasia certificate that So Easy was “behaviorally unsuitable to re-home” due to being “aggressive to other animals”.
According to the RADB decision, Whitford kept So Easy for five months after his racing stand down period, during which time he attempted to re-educate and socialise the greyhound and made some attempts to re-home him; and the RADB accepted that there was “no evidence he willfully euthanased the greyhound”. Whitford admitted to not knowing he needed to seek GRV approval by submitting a prior “notice to euthanase” form.
Despite finding Whitford had cared for the greyhound for five months after the Traralgon incident, and had attempted to rehome the greyhound, the RADB imposed a two year suspension upon Whitford for failing to notify GRV of his intentions.
The harsh penalty was somewhat ameliorated by the RADB when they decided that 18 months of that period be suspended pending no further breach of LRR 42.6.
Not withstanding that relief a two year benchmark penalty for failing to submit paperwork is extraordinary. The only other RADB penalty in that range in 2018 was for failing to allow and obstructing kennel inspections on multiple occasions.