Ollie’s death sparks outrage among advocates

Seconds before Ollie's accident. (supplied)

Matt Hewson

Advocacy group Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds CPG has called for the defunding of the Victorian greyhound racing industry after the death of another dog last weekend at Geelong’s Beckley Park.

“Greyhound racing is cruel and brutal and state governments shouldn’t be using taxpayer funds to support an industry that is harming greyhounds on a massive scale,” said CPG director Kylie Field.

Three-year-old greyhound Ollie fell away from the pack late in the eighth race on Saturday night, only to collapse and ultimately die on the track.

Fields said the death of such a young dog highlighted the need to cut state government funding to the industry.

“Poor Ollie, although still young, had been forced to run 87 races to generate money,” she said.

“Six other dogs have died at the Geelong track this year. How can a state-subsidised industry continue to inflict dogs with broken legs, necks, spines, and skulls, while it increases prize money and generates gambling revenue?

“The Victorian Government has funded the state’s racing industry to the tune of around $250m over the last seven years, with over $30 million going to greyhound racing.

“Victorian greyhound racing has a multitude of problems. There’s no transparency in death and injury data, a rehoming crisis is emerging, the greyhound tracking system is flawed, racing frequency is concerning stewards, and taxpayer-funded track safety upgrades aren’t making the tracks safer.”

Geelong Greyhound Racing Club confirmed a track incident last Saturday evening involving a greyhound which collapsed and later died on the track.

According to GGRC manager, Ray Bartolo, on-track veterinary staff could not save Ollie and an investigation is now under way to determine the cause.

This is the first on track death for the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club’s inside track since October 2020, GGRC said.

“There were no obvious injuries to the greyhound and blood samples have now been collected so an autopsy can be conducted by pathologists at the Werribee Veterinary Hospital,” Mr Bartolo said.

“As always animal welfare is our primary concern so we want to determine as quickly as possible what happened in this instance,” Mr Bartolo said.

Ms Field said the track should host no further race meets until a review was held to assess its safety for greyhounds.

“Geelong is obviously a dangerous track and racing should be stopped while an independent safety review is launched,” Fields said.

“Racing had been stopped at Traralgon and is still cancelled at Cranbourne after greyhound deaths, and Geelong has to be closed as well.”

23 dogs have died on Victorian racetracks so far this year, while 70 greyhounds have died nationwide.

The CPG said that many of these deaths were the result of non-life-threatening injuries, where owners decided to euthanise a greyhound rather than pay for treatment for an animal that might no longer be profitable.

Western Victorian MP and Animal Justice Party member Andy Meddick said the deaths of these animals were senseless and unnecessary.

“This is an industry that is replete with problems,” he said.

“They receive millions in government subsidies to market themselves as a family friendly sport. The public are sick of seeing animals killed.”

Greyhound Racing Victoria were contacted for comment but had not responded by the time the Independent went to print.