Greyhound industry in limbo

Loved as pets: Neil Dallison with retired greyhound Tylah who used to race as 'Should We Know'.
Loved as pets: Neil Dallison with retired greyhound Tylah who used to race as 'Should We Know'.

MOREE’S Brian Steele and Neil Dallison have a combined 80 plus years experience in the country greyhound racing industry.

Steele has been involved as a greyhound owner, trainer and licenced book maker whose watched the Moree Greyhound Racing Club go from hosting 42 meetings per year to a mere 12.

“Our zone consists of Moree, Gunnedah, Armidale, Tamworth, Coonamble and Coonabarabran. We try to race at least once a month but are completely controlled by Greyhound Racing NSW,” he said.

The industry’s many changes came after NSW Premier Mike Baird announced the shut down of greyhound racing in July after a Special Commission of Inquiry found “overwhelming” evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting.

However, Mr Dallison said the McHu​gh inquiry had many flaws and believed the industry had made changes to minimise the mistreatment of dogs throughout the past 10 years.

“We’re not denying mistreatment of greyhounds within the industry. It has gone on in the past and will probably continue to go on in the future. They have to stamp out the offenders though and make harsher punishments,” Steele said.

Some of the changes included a designated club steward and board steward from Racing NSW must attend each meeting, a registered vet has to be on track before, during and after each meeting and animal welfare integrity officers were more frequently visiting greyhound owners.

“I was inspected last week. Two people came, went through our place, fridge and had a look at the yards, and dogs. They can pop in any time to inspect living conditions, it’s intense,” Dallison said.

Dallison has 25 greyhounds, 12 retirees which costs around $250 for food and essential care items.

This club is one of the oldest clubs in NSW, if not the oldest. We as a club need to race to be financially stable, and as owners too,” he said.

“Country racing is essential and dogs will suffer if country tracks close. Dogs not good enough for TAB tracks are purchased for racing in the bush and it prolongs their life.”

He said the annual club day in June 2017 boosted tourism in Moree and connected life-long friends.

“These dogs become part of your family. They are loved as pets.

“Two months ago everyone thought we were finished but now it’s looking like a lot more positive for the greyhound racing industry. We’re in limbo and are waiting for Mr Baird and the parliamentarians.”