The death of two dogs in separate races at a Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club meeting last Wednesday has led to a further call for changes in the way the sport is conducted.
Latinize and Bakali Jet were euthanased after both dogs broke their radius bones (the longer, weight-supporting bone in the front leg) in collisions during races. Another dog was treated for injuries on the night, but was not put down.
The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, an association affiliated with the Animal Justice Party, says there have been 11 greyhound deaths at Australian racing tracks in the first 10 days of 2020, according to stewards' reports, with five deaths in Victoria.
In a release, CPG national vice-president Dennis Anderson said death and injuries of dogs at the Ballarat track had continued, despite the Victorian Government promising to reform the greyhound racing industry.
"Latinize and Bakali Jet died typical greyhound deaths after coming into contact with other dogs on the turn," Mr Anderson said.
"This is one of the main reasons racing dogs suffer injuries and death. At turns they often 'bunch' when trying to follow the lure."
The CPG has called for a reduction in the number of dogs in races and the wider use of straight tracks.
The Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club referred queries to Greyhound Racing Victoria. A spokesperson for GRV told The Courier last week's incidents are under investigation.
"It's distressing when a dog has to be euthanased, whether a pet or a racing greyhound," he said.
"Prior to all Victorian race meetings the track is inspected by stewards to ensure it is safe for racing and every greyhound is inspected by a veterinarian to ensure they are fit to race.
"Reducing racing injuries and fatalities is one of GRV's most urgent priorities. Racing fatalities were down significantly in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18 and injuries have fallen by 17 per cent over the past four years and these figures are made public each year.
"However this is still unacceptable to GRV and we have set up a Safe Racing Program as a major initiative."
An attendee at the BGRC meet last week said he observed the incident with Bakali Jet take place, saying connections of the dog were clearly 'visibly upset' after it was taken from the track.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.