Trevor Sutherland’s 3-year disqualification has been overturned on appeal.
The NSW trainer pleaded guilty last year to sending two of his horses, 6-year-old Redfu and 4-year-old Rozzi to Irish huntsman Donnchadh Brown where they were killed and fed to his hounds.
At the time, this was found to be in breach of Racing NSW LR114(5)(e) which states a horse “is not to be, directly or indirectly, sent to an abattoir, knackery or similarly disposed of”.
Mr Brown is the manager of the Sydney Fox Hunting Club, known to Sutherland (according to Brown) for feeding horses to the hounds he so cruelly uses in barbaric fox hunts.
Evidence provided by a Racing NSW Welfare Officer, after speaking with Brown, claimed that Sutherland “rehomes the majority of his horses, however the ones he couldn’t find a home for, he gave to Mr Brown for pet food.”
When Sutherland was questioned as to whether he knew the horses would be fed to Brown’s dogs he said:
“I thought he was taking them to jump. He’s always said, “if you’ve got anything that can jump, I’ll take it and try it for jumping and, as I said, both of them were big, tall, rangy horses and he could jump with them.”
During the course of his interview, however, Sutherland was confronted with a text that he had sent to Mr Brown
TS: “If you need some hound food probly got 2 maybe 3 down the back paddock.”
DB: “Super, when do you want them gone?”
TS: “When ever suits talk to a bloke Tommo about I’ve got running with them probley get him as well.”
According to a stable foreman, when Sutherland gave two further horses to Brown, Hangin’ With Willy and Witchblade, Brown stated those horses would be given “every opportunity” in his “business”. They were also killed. It is important to note, these horses were given to Brown several months after Rozzi and Redfu had already been killed. Did Sutherland not think to ask how they were going? If he was aware they had been killed why did he give Brown two further horses? According to the appeal transcripts, this line of questioning never occurred and the fact that Hangin’ With Willy and Witchblade were also killed does not appear to have been considered by the panel at all, for reasons we are unaware.
In addition to all of the above, Sutherland was also found guilty last year for lodging a false stable return which claimed that another horse, Bless You Toby was spelling, when he was actually aware the 3-year-old gelding was “found to be deceased” the week prior.
Even with all of this evidence, making it crystal clear to our mind that Sutherland was knowingly sending his horses to be shot and fed to Brown’s poor dogs, or at best, knowing this was their outcome if they didn’t work out as horses helping in Brown’s disgustingly cruel fox hunts, his suspension was overturned and he is now able to return as an official Racing NSW industry participant – the appeals panel finding even though the horses being killed was a risk that he knew could eventuate, this was not his “primary intent” for them.
Apparently Racing NSW’s local rule 114, which they claim is designed to prevent horses being killed when no longer wanted, does not capture circumstances of intent if it is decided it was not the “primary intent” of the person sending them to be killed.
Read the full appeal transcript here.