Greyhound trainer Tom Noble pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges
February 11, 2016 12:00am
David MurrayThe Courier-Mail
Live-baiting still cruel reality in greyhound racing
DISGRACED greyhound trainer Tom Noble has pleaded guilty to 15 serious animal cruelty charges and says he now regrets live baiting.
Noble’s guilty pleas in Ipswich Magistrates Court yesterday are a significant win for police, who have charges pending against a series of other trainers.
He will be sentenced in coming months but says he has already faced major punishment after racing authorities banned him from any involvement with greyhounds.
“I’ve been in dogs since I was 14-years-old,” he told The Courier-Mail after his court appearance.
“Not having dogs, not going to tracks, not going to places that have got dogs – it’s possibly worse than going to jail.
“I sit at home and watch TV.”
Greyhound trainer Tom Noble at Ipswich Court.
Noble, 69, said he had always admitted live baiting with piglets but said it had been common practice for years.
“You regret it now. It’s just a thing you’ve been brought up with.”
He added: “Looking back 10 years ago, there probably was not one track in Queensland that wasn’t live baiting.
“In the greyhound industry, I don’t think anybody at some stage hasn’t done something wrong.”
Noble was initially expected to argue CCTV footage of him live baiting was obtained illegally and was not admissible in court.
However he would have faced a counter argument that there was overwhelming public interest in the footage being obtained.
Animal rights activists secretly recorded Noble using piglets on lures at his training track at Churchable, near Ipswich, in the infamous live baiting scandal.
There was national outrage when the footage was aired on the ABC’s Four Corners program, with other trainers also caught “blooding” greyhounds at the track.
Noble was the first person charged under new animal cruelty laws and each charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment.
Prosecutors yesterday withdrew a charge against Noble of intimidating or threatening a witness, with the consent of the complainant.
He has been described by police as “person zero” because the hidden CCTV cameras recorded rampant live baiting at his track.
Other trainers would pay him for live baiting of their greyhounds at the track.
“You’re not doing it to make money. You’re doing it to help them. A lot of people didn’t pay at all,” he said yesterday.
“Everybody knew about it. You’ve only got to walk around the street and ask people – 85 out of 100 people would say they did.”
Inquiries into cruelty in the greyhound industry are proceeding in Queensland, NSW and Victoria, with multiple claims against people linked to the industry which says it opposes cruelty.
I feel some sympathy for Tom a victim of his upbringing now he'll likely be made an example of and spend much of what's left of his sad life in chokey.......he should get some discount for his guilty plea and his age maybe health issues...two years minimum would be my guess.