Dogs suffer flu fallout

By NEELIMA CHOAHAN

THE greyhound racing industry will also be a casualty of the equine influenza outbreak that has rocked the horse world for the past 10 days, an expert in the sport said yesterday.

Border Park Greyhound Racing Club chairman of directors Harry Pledger said all clubs will suffer a decline in profits due to the virus.

"All race clubs depend upon the profit of gambling," Mr Pledger said.

"With the drop in the gambling turnover, the annual distribution of the club's share of profits for the year 2007-2008 will be heavily reduced."

Earlier, hopes for a bumper crowd at the Border Park dogs on Saturday were dashed after only a slight %increase in numbers. "Our crowds were just above normal," Mr Pledger said.

"It was a bit disappointing; we did expect a much bigger crowd due to a shortage of race meetings in the area.

Mr Pledger said the absence of three-state galloping events to bet on was behind the less-than-%expected numbers.

Instead, bookmakers and NSW oncourse TAB at Border Park took bets on Caulfield in Victoria, Wentworth Park greyhounds in Sydney and Morphettville in South Australia.

Meanwhile, Primary Industries Minister Ian MacDonald said efforts were maintained throughout the weekend to contain any further spread of horse flu in NSW and %determine the extent of the infection. "We need to get in front of this disease as fast as possible," Mr MacDonald said. "We have 20 restricted areas across the state and are working closely with owners and the horse industry to carry out thorough tracing efforts.

"It is vital that all horse owners adhere to the indefinite standstill of all horses, and conduct necessary disinfectant measures after having any contact with their horses."

Olympic showjumper Ron Easey, who remains quarantined with his 10 horses at Cabarita pony club, said he was resigned to his fate.

"The hardest part is not knowing how long the wait is going to be," Mr Easey said.

"But it's the right way to go, I don't think anything else can be done."

For information on EI log onto www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/equine-%influenza or phone 1800 675 888.



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