Owners and trainers should be banned from greyhound racing for a minimum of ten years for breaching the rules of racing in relation to greyhound welfare as outlined by strict new Animal Welfare – Penalty Guidelines, released by Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) today.
The guidelines provide a suggested level of penalty for a variety of offences where the welfare of the greyhounds in that person’s care has been compromised. These are suggested penalties to be imposed under the powers of the Racing Act 1958 and are in addition to any penalties issued under other pieces of legislation such as the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
The guidelines are another step in GRV’s implementation of priority initiatives identified in the five-year Strategic Plan – ‘On Track for a Great Future’ that identifies Greyhound Welfare as one of the main strategic imperatives.
These guidelines give a very clear indication of GRV’s expectations in regards to penalties, but it is the independent Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB) that hears all charges involving ‘Serious Offences’ under the rules of racing. The RADB have absolute discretion to determine the penalties applied in each individual case. However, the penalty guidelines have been developed to establish GRV’s position in relation to offences where the welfare of any greyhound has been compromised.
The offences have been split into three categories, with each attracting a different recommended penalty determined by the seriousness of the rule breach. In matters that also contravene the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and the Domestic Animals Act 1994, GRV has clearly indicated that the matter will be fully investigated both under the Racing Act, as well as referred to the relevant ‘Authorised Officers’ for investigation, and potential prosecution, under the other relevant Act(s).
The nature of the offences has been separated into three overarching categories: Category 1 – Offences, Category 2 – Serious Offences (which includes five sub-categories) and Other Offences.
Category 1 Offences relate to the improper reporting of a greyhound’s whereabouts by the person responsible for its care. GRV recently introduced late lodgement fees (or fines) for lax retirement reporting and these suggested penalties reinforce GRV’s position and commitment to tracking all greyhounds within the industry throughout their entire life.
Category 2 Offences – or Serious Offences – entail five sub-categories each attracting a different penalty under the guideline. Serious Offences relate to matters where a Welfare Compromise has lead to the incapacitation or death of one or a number of greyhounds, with the most serious of these offences attracting a minimum three-year disqualification under the penalties proposed in the guideline.
Other Offences include the offence of live baiting, whereby the minimum suggested disqualification from the industry for such an offence is ten years. This is in addition to the potential fines and imprisonment outlined as penalties under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
GRV General Manager – Integrity, Racing and Welfare, Glen Canty, said these Penalty Guidelines have been designed to crystallise GRV’s position on matters of greyhound welfare and send a clear message to participants that GRV is serious about imposing harsh sanctions on those that do not do the right thing by their greyhounds.
“These guidelines have been developed to categorically outline the seriousness in which GRV regards greyhound welfare,” Mr Canty said.
“These Guidelines are there to ensure everybody inside the industry and external to the industry understand the importance of greyhound welfare to GRV and to the future of greyhound racing.”
The relevant rules associated with these Penalty Guidelines are: Greyhounds Australasia Rule 106 (national rule) and Local Rule 42.
The Penalty Guidelines have now been released and are operational as of today.