Leading NSW breeder Paul Wheeler has been banned from greyhound racing for at least six months.NSW’s greyhound racing “king” has been fined and banned from the sport for at least six months after trying to export dogs to China without proper authorisation.
Paul Wheeler, a leading breeder and owner, has been disqualified for 12 months – with the final six months suspended pending good behaviour – for facilitating the export of 10 dogs to China without “passports”.
He’s also been fined the maximum $22,000 penalty over the exports which took place between 2013 and 2015, the industry body said on Tuesday.
Wheeler pleaded guilty to charges including failing to lodge ownership transfer forms and prejudicial conduct against the sport, Greyhound Racing NSW’s decision states.
GRNSW, in 2014, stopped granting passports for nations where “practices do not meet industry welfare standards and are inconsistent with community expectations”.
“The decision demonstrates that GRNSW will not tolerate offences which jeopardise the welfare of greyhounds and tarnish the image and reputation of the sport in the eyes of the public,” chief executive Tony Mestrov said on Tuesday.
GRNSW steward Adrian Anderson’s decision labelled Wheeler’s misconduct as “very serious” because it placed the dogs “at risk of maltreatment and suffering”.
Millions of dollars in prize money and thousands of wins saw Wheeler become a leading voice for the sport when it was brought to its knees over systematic animal abuse in 2015.
He railed against the government’s decision to ban racing before then-premier Mike Baird backflipped in 2016.
“There are a few people (who have) done the wrong thing,” Wheeler told AAP at the time.
“We’re all prepared to admit that – but there’s a lot of good people out there and a lot of people are going to be hurt real bad.”
Wheeler won’t be allowed to reside at his home – where his dogs are trained – for the first three months of his ban.
Two other industry participants – Wei Shan and Yiwen Xi – were also sanctioned for their role in trying to export Wheeler’s dogs without proper documentation.
Australian Associated Press