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Suspended greyhound trainer hits back

AAP logoAAP 28/07/2016

A greyhound trainer suspended after a rabbit carcass was allegedly found on his NSW property claims he's been unfairly targeted by industry officials.

Harry Sarkis is the third trainer and breeder to be penalised by Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) after the Baird government's decision three weeks ago to shut down the industry.

The veteran trainer was on Thursday slapped with an interim suspension pending an investigation into live-baiting after officers allegedly found a rabbit carcass on his property at Agnes Banks, on Sydney's northwestern outskirts.

Mr Sarkis has denied the dead rabbit was used for live baiting, claiming it could have been there before he moved into the property two months ago.

"When (GRNSW) came here yesterday they found a dead rabbit amongst it all, the fur was spread everywhere all through the branches and rubbish, so it's not like it had been chucked there," he told the Australian Racing Greyhound (ARG) website.

The rabbit could have been shot by a neighbour or hurt by a fox or one of his dogs, he said.

"If I was doing anything wrong why would I leave a damn rabbit in full view for everyone to see? Especially when I know I have a kennel inspection," he said.

The 58-year-old gave evidence in 2015 at the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into greyhound racing, in which he denied using rabbits for live baiting.

The rabbits, which were confiscated from his property in 2010 and 2014, were kept as pets and for Mr Sarkis' consumption, the inquiry heard.

Mr Sarkis claims he's now being vilified by GRNSW because of his past.

It's the latest incident to hit the industry as tensions rise over the sport's impending ban planned for 2017.

The Baird government announced the industry shut-down following the Special Commission of Inquiry's damning report into the sport which found at least half of the dogs bred for racing were deliberately killed because they weren't capable of competing.

It also found up to one-fifth of trainers practised live-baiting and other forms of animal cruelty.

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