Men used kittens as greyhound bait: Australian police

Men used kittens as greyhound bait: Australian police

SYDNEY - Two men have been charged in Australia with using kittens as live bait to train greyhounds, following allegations that piglets, rabbits and possums were also used in the sport.

The men, aged 26 and 62, are accused of strapping the animals to mechanical lures that dogs would chase as part of their training regime between August 2014 and May this year.

Greyhounds traditionally chase an artificial hare or rabbit.

Queensland police said the arrests were part of a joint investigation with the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) into live baiting and other instances of animal cruelty in the state.

"The joint Queensland Police Service and RSPCA task force continues to investigate allegations of live baiting within the greyhound racing industry," police said in a statement after the charges were laid late Tuesday.

"To date, 23 people have been arrested on 65 charges."

The animal cruelty charges follow a television expose in February which showed graphic footage of live piglets, rabbits and possums used as bait to train some of the country's most successful dogs.

It sparked raids across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland that rocked the country's dog racing industry, which is one of the largest in the world.

Live baiting has been illegal for decades in Australia, where the maximum penalty for animal cruelty is two years in jail and a Aus$30,000 (S$32,000) fine.

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