Tasmania’s Racing Minister has defended greyhound trainers as “animal lovers” while confirming the state’s most decorated industry participant is under investigation by the RSPCA.
- It is “not possible” to stand down a greyhound trainer under investigation by the RSPCA, the head of Tasmania’s peak racing body says
- The greyhound at the centre of the investigation was injured during trials and euthanased the following day, despite offers from an animal sanctuary to take the dog
- The Racing Minister says those in the industry have a “genuine concern for the welfare” of their animals
The state parliament has heard that Exeter-based trainer Anthony Bullock is being investigated by the Office of Racing Integrity and RSPCA after 18-month-old Tah Bernard was euthanased last week.
The greyhound was injured at Launceston Greyhound Racing Club trials Tuesday evening, taken to the vet that night then euthanased on Wednesday morning, despite offers from Brightside Animal Sanctuary to help rehabilitate and rehome the dog.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor quizzed Minister for Racing Jane Howlett and TasRacing chief executive Paul Eriksson on why Bullock had not been suspended pending investigation.
Referring to the Tah Bernard incident, Ms O’Connor said “this is a trainer that took a squealing, agonised dog home overnight because he didn’t want to pay an out-of-hours fee”.
Mr Eriksson told the hearing it was not possible to stand him down.
“There is no scope in the rules for that suspension whilst this investigation [continues], and secondly there is an animal welfare matter,” he said.
“If the individual was suspended he would need to reassign his dogs, which would create a significant problem.”
Ms Howlett said she was confident in Tasmania’s industry participants and the existing rules and regulations, declining to comment on the investigation into Bullock.
“The government, TasRacing and the Office of Racing Integrity and participants are continually working to improve greyhound welfare in Tasmania.”
Bullock declined to comment.
OzChase data published by TasRacing showed the number of retired dogs euthanised or deceased last financial year was down on previous years, at a total 58.
The majority of retiring dogs, 259, were rehomed.
About 3 per cent of starters (369 dogs) were injured on the track in the same financial year, with seven of them euthanased.