A GREYHOUND trainer at the centre of the Lara raids has explained his motives for teaming up with Animals Australia to expose alleged widespread drug use within the sport.
Charlie Wilson says he entered several properties in the week leading up to the Melbourne Cup, run on November 18, and placed surveillance cameras in the kennels and surrounding areas of each property.
An Animals Australia spokesperson admitted to working with Wilson, including expressing knowledge about the Victorian trainer’s own misdemeanours.
“Information provided to Animals Australia by Charlie Wilson alleged the wide-spread use of performance enhancing drugs in the greyhound racing industry, most of which remains undetected by regulators,” The spokesperson said.
“Charlie Wilson indicated a willingness to be interviewed by the media and speak to his own drugging of greyhounds that was never detected, as well as to the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in greyhound racing.
Wilson has now come forward to defend himself against the allegations by Animals Australia and explained he was driven to joining the controversial animal rights group because GRV refused to take his claims seriously.
Despite confessing he had administered Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (EPO) to one of his greyhounds, Wilson maintains he did so to expose the corruption around the doping of dogs and GRV turning a blind eye.
The greyhound in question, Big Show Mullo, was allegedly administered the substance prior to running second at Shepparton on August 11.
Wilson outlined his actions in an email which was sent to the Police Minister, the Racing Minister and the Racing Integrity Auditor in NSW on October 3, 2016.
“I ordered a lot of drugs from overseas and successfully brought them into the country,” the letter read.
“I purposely set this dog up on his box draw and price to gain the attention of GRV.
“I injected [Big Show Mullo] two days out [from the race] with 0.2mL intravenously of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin, which is a permanently banned substance across all codes of human sports right through to animal racing.”
The greyhound was not swabbed following the race, despite running second at $21 and $6 for a place and coming into the event with poor form.
At its next start, Wilson claims he tripled the dosage of EPO in order to test the drug testing within greyhound racing. The dog ran seventh in the event, with a pre-race swab testing negative for any traces of EPO.
This was the final straw for Wilson, who had his worst fears confirmed, that the sport’s regulators were not doing enough to catch drug cheats.
“It is extremely frustrating because that means there are people out there who are smarter than me who are in the dog game and winning millions of dollars,” he said.
“It is not a level a playing field.
“So much prizemoney has been won [by people using drugs] and then [there are] people like me who are clean and come into the industry with some money and we just want to have a bit of fun and we are being burnt.”
After the negative finding, Wilson said he invited the GRV Integrity Unit to his property where he showed them $1,550 worth of banned substances including EPO in both powder and injectable forms.
“I pleaded with [GRV investigator] Charlie Bezzina at my house to find something – I begged, I stood at my house nearly in tears,” Wilson said.
“I gave them vials of EPO [from China and Russia] – they came around to my house the week after the dog was swabbed and I produced a big box of EPO.
“They tested all the drugs and confirmed the vials and syringe were EPO – but they couldn’t confirm it was in the urine sample (obtained from Big Show Mullo).”
Wilson says he admitted to GRV that he had doped the dog on two occasions, but said the authority body failed to take notice of what he was saying.
Australian Racing Greyhound also has proof that Wilson’s letter detailing the events was sent to a wide range of political and racing authority figures, from which there has been no action.
“If GRV have failed to take me seriously, then that’s very silly – if they have failed to act as the regulator,” he said.
“The whole government, including GRV, has failed to act on information from a whistleblower.
“I still have my licence and I handed this stuff to them – permanently banned substances – and I never got a notice of inquiry, I have never been put in front of a disciplinary panel.
“I still have my licence, I could nominate a dog tomorrow.
The disheartening experience he had with GRV was what triggered Wilson to contact Animals Australia. He said the only people willing to listen were those who have been accused of trying to bring the industry down.
Wilson said he then approached the head of Animals Australia Lyn White in a bid to get something done about the drugs in greyhound racing.
“No one believed me – everyone thinks I have three heads,” he said.
“It is [not good] and it is why I got [involved] with Lyn White.
GRV was contacted for comment on this story but both Senior Integrity Manager Charlie Bezzina and General Manager of Integrity Shane Gillard refused to comment.
“We can’t discuss these allegations as they are under investigation,” a spokesperson said.