Speaking exclusively with AustralianRacingGreyhound.com, Victoria’s Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, dismissed speculation of a potential GRV clean-out on Thursday.
Perna, who announced an Own Motion Inquiry into live-baiting allegations on Tuesday, said he believed the Victorian Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, would not act before that inquiry was complete.
“The only person who can sack the board is the minister and, to the best of my knowledge, he won’t be pre-empting the inquiry just days after green-lighting it,” he said.
Perna, the man charged with getting to the bottom of the live-baiting debacle that has crippled the greyhound racing industry, said his office would be working alongside GRV and the RSPCA to ensure every guilty party was brought to justice.
“The way I look at it is, at the moment we are dealing with an absolutely disgusting, sickening act,” he said.
“We have to investigate whether it is isolated or widespread and if it’s actually worse than we know.
“We have Greyhound Racing Victoria, which will focus its resources on investigating the breaches to its laws, and the Victorian RSPCA, which will work through the cruelty-to-animals issues.
“We expect those two bodies to work quickly and thoroughly to ensure the right people see justice. While they work, we will be operating in the background on a broader perspective of the whole saga.
“Did GRV know about live baiting? Did officials turn a blind eye? How far does the corruption go? These are the questions that will form our investigation. They will take longer to sift through as we gather all the information.”
Perna acknowledged the pressure was on his inquiry to deliver results quickly, but said the investigation could not afford to be rushed.
“I am not going to run a half-baked inquiry. The worst thing we can do is act on knee-jerk reactions before we know all the facts and have collected all the evidence.”
Perna refused to put a timeline on the inquiry, but speculated that with the amount of evidence being introduced, it could take up to two months.
The Racing Integrity Commissioner did not know the reasoning behind the NSW Government’s decision to immediately dump its greyhound racing board, but said Victorians shouldn’t expect the same approach.
The Greyhound Racing NSW board resigned late last night after being threatened with an immediate dismissal by the New South Wales Government.
Following a shocking Four Corners report on Monday night, the topic of live baiting has flooded newspapers, social media, talk-back radio and other national media.
Perna said he was not shocked by the story’s effect on the public.
“I’m not shocked at how the story has been received around the country because it is a highly emotive issue.
“You could have governing issues, drug issues or race-fixing issues and the only people who would care would be those inside the industry, but the moment you have cruelty to animals it becomes a social issue and everyone is incensed. Rightly so, too.”