Greyhound trainer to contest animal cruelty charges
POLICE have warned greyhound trainer Tom Noble would be the first of several people arrested in the wake of the live-baiting scandal that has rocked the sport.
The disgraced trainer was charged yesterday in line with a state-wide police operation to target animal cruelty in greyhound racing.
The Lockyer Valley trainer - now banned from the sport for life - faced Ipswich Magistrates Court, charged with seven counts of serious animal cruelty.
Noble, 68, came under fire after he was filmed in an ABC Four Corners investigation which exposed the practice of live baiting in greyhound racing.
The practice sees live animals such as piglets, possums and rabbits used as bait to encourage the dogs to chase the lure.
A few days before he was arrested, Noble said that live baiting was used as a last resort to prove greyhounds could be competitive.
He said if it wasn't for live baiting, hundreds of greyhounds would have been destroyed by their owners.
"Wouldn't you rather put a feral pig down than your dog if you were in that position?" he said.
After he was released on bail, Noble ran like one of his greyhounds - out the rear exit of the watch house - to avoid the media throng at the entrance.
His lawyer Damien Hannay said Noble would be contesting the charges.
"We are fundamentally denying the allegations he is facing," he said.
Mr Hannay said it was the first time Noble had been before a court and that the situation had put him under a lot of stress.
As a condition of his bail, Noble is not allowed to purchase or possess any animals, pending the completion of his court case.
He was however allowed to keep his six pet greyhounds, which had been kept in the custody of Queensland Racing.
The case was adjourned to March 31.
Detective Superintendent Mark Ainsworth said Noble had been charged as a result of a task force investigation into the alleged animal cruelty in greyhound racing.
Supt Ainsworth said the task force was working with the RSPCA and had been running for the past 11 days.
He said Noble was the first of a number of people who would be arrested in relation to the ongoing investigation.
The State Government introduced the offence of serious animal cruelty last year. It carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.
Chief inspector Daniel Young from RSPCA Queensland said his organisation had been aware of live baiting for "some time" and had investigated all matters brought to their attention.
He urged anyone who had information in relation to live baiting in Queensland to contact crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.