Greyhound trainer knew that he'd be caught and banned
THE trainer at the centre of the greyhound live baiting scandal concedes it was only a matter of time before he was caught and banned for life from the sport that was his life.
Tom Noble of Churchable was one of five trainers handed life bans by the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board in the wake of an expose on Four Corners that included footage on his property.
The decisions mean the trainers will not be permitted to own, train or prepare a registered racing animal or attend Queensland greyhound racecourses.
It follows similar action and public outrage interstate over live animals such as pigs, rabbits and possums being put on the arm of a lure at training tracks to encourage greyhounds to chase the lure in racing.
The QT spoke to Mr Noble at his property and he was resigned to his fate. He is a trainer with more than 50 years in the sport but he accepts it's all over now.
"It was expected that I'd get that because, when you put something on the arm like that, you expect to get life. If you're using something live on the arm and you get caught, you get life," Mr Noble said.
"Really, it wasn't worth what you get; you make no money out of this place. Most of it's all favours."
Mr Noble said he was known as someone who could get a dog to chase if the owner was desperate.
"It is the wrong thing to do but if you've got greyhounds and you're desperate, what are you going to do - put your dog down?" he said
"Wouldn't you rather put a feral pig down than your dog if you were in that position yourself?
"They make it look bad but - well it was bad what you see on the TV - but that's probably three times in a year or something that's happened. They're making out like it's a continual thing.
"It was getting that way that you'd put a pig on the arm in front of 30 people on a Sunday morning. If they had done something a year ago and the control board had showed a bit of force, it wouldn't have got to this stage."
"We haven't always got pigs here either. Until I got them two pigs the other day, we hadn't had a pig for at least five or six weeks."
He said he used live baiting differently with dogs he owned because he didn't like them biting the pig.
"We always have a muzzle on our dogs. I've never ever bled any of my dogs," he said.
"Some of them will go first day and chase and grab the wool skin - the squeaker. You've got no problems; in four weeks' time they go home good.
"But one in every 10, you can't get him to take one step; he's lost all interest in chasing so we'll put a pig on."
"If you don't do that, when the bloke comes to get his dog, you're going to have to say, 'He's a non-chaser, you'll either have to have him put down or adopt him out because he'll never race'."
He won't contest his life ban but apart from that he doesn't really know what his future holds.
"I might go to jail yet; I don't know," he said with a short laugh, referring to possible criminal charges.
"The Control Board part doesn't worry me that much although I've got life.
"I mean, I've been in dogs since I was 14-year-old and I'm 68 now. I'm getting to the stage where you've had enough of them anyway. I've got a cancer problem too so I haven't got that much time probably left anyway."
"I've got a non-hodgkins lymphoma.
"It's in me blood and it just keeps coming back."