Five Queensland greyhound trainers embroiled in a live-baiting scandal have been banned from training, preparing or owning a registered racing animal in the state for life.
Debra Arnold, James Harding, Reg Kay, Tony McCabe and Tom Noble were “warned off” by the Racing Queensland board during a meeting at Deagon in Brisbane’s north this evening.
Michael Chapman’s case was adjourned while Greg Stella had his case referred back to the stewards for further investigation.
In Queensland, 13 trainers were suspended following the ABC’s Four Corners program which revealed the use of live baiting to train greyhounds in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
Of those 13, seven were asked to show cause as to “why they should not be warned off race tracks for life and prevented from taking further part in the industry”.
Five of them were on Monday banned for life, while six others remain suspended pending further investigations.
Previously, Racing Queensland chair Kevin Dixon said those banned for life would be prevented from visiting any racecourse – greyhound, thoroughbred or harness – in Queensland, placing a bet or training, preparing or owning a registered racing animal.
The announcement comes hours after the Queensland Government ordered an independent review of Queensland’s greyhound industry to investigate how the practice went undetected.
Barrister Alan MacSporran will head the review, which is expected to take three months and cost $3 million, to be funded by the racing industry.
“While the regulations I believe are entirely sufficient, it’s a function of logic that the regulatory framework in its oversight has been deficient, so it’s not rocket science to suggest that there’s a regulatory oversight problem here,” Mr Byrne said.
“The people of Queensland want to know what went wrong, why it went wrong and what needs to be done to ensure this type of behaviour cannot occur undetected in the future.”
Mr Byrne said the review would be supported by the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing.
“A dedicated telephone number – 1300 791 224 – has been established to allow the public to provide any information that might be of assistance,” he said.
Racing Queensland board chairman Michael Byrne, QC, said the organisation welcomed the review “100 per cent”.
“We will assist and cooperate with it,” he said.
“It’s a great industry and I want it to move forward. I want it to be open and accountable.”
The review was separate from the investigation being conducted by Racing Queensland in conjunction with Queensland racing integrity commissioner Jim O’Sullivan and the Queensland Police Service.
Greyhound Racing NSW suspends 28 dogs
Meanwhile, Greyhound Racing New South Wales has suspended 28 dogs over alleged live baiting offences.
Most of the animals now suspended from racing have links to trainers exposed in the Four Corners program, including Ian Morgan.
Some of the suspended dogs were also connected to training at Londonderry, in Sydney’s north-west.
A similar ban was imposed in Victoria but it was overturned after owners threatened legal action and the chief steward said there was no clear evidence against particular dogs.
Greyhound Racing NSW said the suspension reflected its zero tolerance approach to animal cruelty.
Chief executive Paul Newson said the suspension of the dogs should remind all owners and trainers about their legal obligation to maintain the welfare of their greyhounds.
“Stamping out shameful practices such as live baiting and securing the integrity of the sport is the immediate focus for Greyhound Racing NSW,” he said.
Since the revelations were made, 10 trainers have been stood down and the entire board of Greyhound Racing NSW has been dismissed.