Australian Greyhound Trainer “Probably” Bludgeoned Dogs

Posted on: February 14, 2024, 07:42h. 

Last updated on: February 15, 2024, 11:51h.

An Australian greyhound trainer has been banned from the sport for life after he was found “on the balance of probabilities” to have bludgeoned three retired dogs to death, probably with a hammer.

Trevor Rice, greyhounds, trainer, New South Wales, Australia, banned, hammer
Trainer Trevor Rice claimed it was a “common thing” to bludgeon racing dogs with a hammer. He is accused of killing three in this manner (none pictured) and has been banned for life. But animal rights groups say his punishment was too lenient. (Image: AWLQ)

Trevor Rice was also fined a total of $3,350 by the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission for what the organization described as “cruel and brutal” killings.

Acting on an anonymous tip, commission investigators visited Rice’s home in Leeville, New South Wales, in February 2022. There they found the skeletal remains of six greyhounds. Five had been buried in garden beds, and one under concrete flagstones.

Five of these were identified as former racing dogs — Itchy McCaw, Diva’s Dream, Double Take, Big Prince, and When Dell.

A forensic anthropologist determined the damage to the skulls of three of the racing greyhounds was consistent with “a person using an object to inflict blunt trauma.”

The other two died of “unknown causes,” according to the report.

‘Industry Standard’

Rice denied killing the dogs, claiming they had been put down by someone unknown to him. Asked in an interview to explain their traumatic head injuries, he replied that it was a “common thing” in the industry to “crack their skulls … usually with a hammer” because it was quicker.

“I was always taught that,” he explained.

The commission found Rice to be evasive throughout the interview process, which it claimed suggested “consciousness of guilt.” It found him ultimately responsible for the death of the dogs.

I cannot think of a more serious offence which could be committed by a greyhound racing industry participant than the willful and deliberate killing of an animal,” Chief Commissioner Brenton Taylor said. “This is especially so, in my view, where the death was occasioned by committing a cruel and brutal assault to the dogs, and one inflicted by hand.”

Rice’s statement that bludgeoning unwanted dogs is an industry-standard in Australia holds water. In January 2023, successful trainer Ian Anderson of Kernot, Victoria, was also banned for life after four former racing dogs in his care were found to have died of blunt force trauma.

‘Too Lenient’

In Rice’s case, the commission opted to deal with the matter within its own regulatory framework rather than to pursue criminal charges against the trainer.

Animal rights groups say that’s not good enough, and the penalties imposed by the regulator were too lenient. It’s the latest in a slew of cruelty scandals to hit Australian greyhound racing that have amplified calls for an outright ban,

The history and the Rice matter have demonstrated yet again that racing greyhounds are viewed and treated as commercial commodities who have no value to the industry at a point in time – then they are disposed of,” Animal Liberation’s Regional Campaign Manager Lisa Ryan told

Racing dogs are typically retired at between two and five years old, with most of their lives left to live.