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Greyhound issue AU 2015




Four more people have been charged following investigations into Queensland's live baiting scandal

Earlier this year a Four Corners report revealed conclusive evidence of greyhound trainers using live bait to enhance the performance of dogs during secret training sessions.

On Thursday, one woman and three men were charged as a result of the ongoing investigations.

A 69-year-old Churchable man was charged with one count of threatening and intimidating a witness.

Police allege the man intimidated a person who appeared in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on Wednesday on several counts of animal cruelty.

He will face the Ipswich Magistrates Court today.

Police also charged a 49-year-old Churchable woman with several counts of animal cruelty, a 52-year-old Churchable man with one count of failing to secure a firearm, and a 47-year-old Churchable man with four counts of animal cruelty.

The trio will face court later this month.

Three more people have been charged in relation to the live baiting of greyhounds in south-east Queensland.

The charges relate to the alleged use of possums, piglets, rabbits and other animals to enhance the performance of racing greyhounds, and come after two other people were charged with similar offences earlier this month.

Police said on Friday a 41-year-old Atkinsons Dam man has been charged with seven counts of serious animal cruelty and is due to appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court on April 6.

A 73-year-old Lowood man has been charged with one count of serious animal cruelty and will appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court on April 23.

Police said a 64-year-old Lowood woman has been charged with making a false declaration and will appear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on April 8.

A total of five Queenslanders have now been charged over the live baiting scandal raised by the ABC's Four Corners program last month.

Racing Queensland has suspended 13 greyhound trainers in relation to the allegations and five of them were banned for life.

Police said they expected to make more arrests.

Greyhound bones from a Hunter Valley property are undergoing testing, as part of investigations into an alleged mass dog grave site in the region.

The ABC can now reveal the site is at Keinbah, near Cessnock.

It is near a dog training track, but greyhound racing officials say the operators of that track are not involved and are helping with investigations.

Greyhound Racing New South Wales' acting CEO Paul Newson said police and RSPCA officials have examined the Keinbah site.

"It is certainly unsavoury, and it is certainly unpalatable, the thought that there would be a mass graveyard," he said.

"Should that be found to be correct that would be deeply concerning, and I would again suggest that the Special Commission of Inquiry (into the greyhound racing industry) will closely examine this issue."

Greens MP John Kaye estimates the Hunter has up to a dozen mass greyhound grave sites.

Mr Newson said people with information can contact officials anonymously and Hunter residents should not feel threatened when tipping off authorities.

"There is no place for intimidation in any endeavour, let alone greyhound racing in New South Wales," he said.

"We have set up, at arms length, an independent hotline and web address.

"And I'd very much encourage any member of the public that has information to contact that line, and they can do so anonymously."

Racing officials say there is nothing to suggest the current operators of a Hunter Valley dog track have anything to do with an alleged mass grave nearby.

Mr Newson said the Keinbah property owners are co-operating with the investigation.

"We've received an interim report," he said.

"It is far too premature to adopt any firm or final view.

"My understanding is that the current owners of the property have been bending over backwards, and they want to see an outcome and improved welfare outcomes for the sport.

RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector, David OShannessy says officers are digesting the contents of a preliminary report.

"The RSPCA have been provided with a copy of the interim report prepared by former deputy police commissioner Dave Madden regarding the alleged greyhound cruelty and possible mass greyhound graves on a Hunter Valley property", he said.

"The RSPCA would encourage any witnesses to acts of cruelty or the existence of a mass grave in the Hunter Valley to come forward."

A review into Queensland's greyhound racing industry has been stepped up to a Commission of Inquiry.

The Commission of Inquiry will give the state government wider powers of investigation.

This comes after four more people have been arrested in relation to the live-baiting scandal exposed on the ABC's Four Corners program.

Sport and Racing Minister Bill Byrne said Alan MacSporran QC, who was leading the review, would also head the inquiry.

"The commissioner has the power to summon a witness to give evidence or produce documents," he said.

"The purpose of the inquiry is to determine how the misconduct of live-baiting was able to occur without earlier detection and how widespread these practices are."

Racing Queensland has banned six trainers for life and suspended 27 trainers from the industry over live-baiting and 14 people have been arrested on 53 charges, including 37 of serious animal cruelty.

The inquiry's report is due before June.

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WildLife Rules!: Greyhound issue AU 2015
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