Operation Quatro findings - live baiting
In co-operation with RSPCA officers, in February 2015, RWWA Stewards and Investigators launched an extensive investigation into WA's Greyhound Industry code named Operation QUATRO. This operation was targeted towards identifying or investigating any matters relating to live baiting and the training of greyhounds in Western Australia.
This operation has included a total of 167 inspections, some conducted in company with RSPCA inspectors, the majority of which were unannounced. It also involved establishing the transport of any Western Australian greyhound to the Eastern States for training purposes and the completion of Statutory Declarations by all licensed persons as to their state of knowledge or involvement with training practices.
The greyhound Industry in WA is relatively small in comparison to other greyhound jurisdictions around Australia. There are approximately 305 registered trainers and only three racing venues. This is a significant advantage in maintaining proper control and regulation of the local greyhound industry.
Utilising the extensive powers available to Stewards pursuant to the RWWA Act and from information received from the public and Industry participants, every single lead and complaint received was fully and thoroughly investigated. This included covert surveillance at unusual times, vehicle and property searches, and monitoring as required.
RWWA Stewards did also access, where appropriate, telecommunication records in accordance with the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Cth) (TIA Act) to assist in investigations and identifying any links between persons of interest that would assist and guide operations.
As a result of these operations one serious offence for failing to provide evidence to Investigators was recorded resulting in an 18 month disqualification subsequently confirmed on appeal to the Racing Penalties Appeal Tribunal. Other minor offences, not related to live baiting were also recorded.
As a deterrent strategy, new mandatory penalties of a 10 year disqualification and a $50 000 fine have been implemented in WA. RWWA Stewards have also installed Surveillance cameras working 24/7 at non-metropolitan greyhound facilities and are considering similar installations at other relevant locations.
In February 2015, the RSPCA offered a $10 000.00 reward for key information leading to a successful animal cruelty prosecution. This reward remains unclaimed.
Both the RSPCA and RWWA, after comprehensive investigations have not uncovered any evidence that would support an accusation of live baiting being conducted or practised here in WA.
The public of WA can be assured that RWWA's Integrity unit will remain vigilant and continue to use all its wide ranging powers and resources to maintain the high standards of the WA Greyhound industry. To ensure this is the case the greyhound Stewards panel, considered to be the most experienced panel in the country, will continue to work closely with the RSPCA and other agencies.