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ATC staff cop fines for improper conduct

Two Australian Turf Club staff have been fined after pleading guilty to a range of charges relating to the treatment of former racehorses used in its mounted security division.

The ATC’s mounted security co-ordinator Michelle Steele was fined $5000 when the inquiry concluded on Tuesday.

She admitted two charges of improper conduct, two of failing to provide veterinary treatment and one charge of conduct prejudicial to the image, interest and welfare of racing.

Steele was fined $3000 on the latter charge which encompassed a number of offences including striking a horse on the rump with a stick from a tree as the horse was being loaded onto a float.

She also directed stablehands not to remove urine-soaked shavings during afternoon shifts resulting in horses being houses in stables detrimental to their health and well being.

Horses also developed saddle sores due to ill-fitting saddles or excessive riding.

The ATC’s general manager of security, risk and investigations Dennis Mitchell pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to provide veterinary treatment in relation to a horse being injured when it was accidentally ridden into barbed wire fencing at the Splendour In The Grass festival at Byron Bay in 2015.

He also failed to provide another horse with veterinary treatment after it fell at the Falls Festival at Byron Bay on New Year’s Eve 2016.

Mitchell also pleaded guilty to conduct prejudicial to the image and/or interests and/or welfare of racing – a charge that also covered Steele’s conduct. His fines totalled $4000.

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