Victorian Greyhound Trainer Hit With Life Ban

Devon Meadows trainer Rinaldo Divirgilio has received a mandatory life ban after being found guilty on multiple live baiting-related offences.

Greyhound Recorder

18 November 2021

Devon Meadows greyhound trainer Rinaldo Divirgilio has received a mandatory lifetime ban after being found guilty on multiple live baiting-related offences.

The Victorian Racing Tribunal published its decision on Thursday following a hearing on November 4.

Divirgilio’s son Ben was disqualified for five years, backdated to November 2019, for “limited involvement and apparent acquiescence” in his father’s conduct.

The penalty included one year suspended for a further three years.

The tribunal noted Ben Divirgilio, a trainer for about 20 years, as otherwise being “of excellent character”.

Both men entered not guilty pleas.

The charges relate to incidents between August to December 2017 and a separate kennel inspection on October 25, 2019 where stewards discovered three traps and two live possums.

“Rinaldo was caught red handed with possums on his premises,” the VRT decision reads.

“The only reasonable inference is that he was going to use them for live baiting purposes.”

Divirgilio offered the tribunal no special circumstances in relation to the alleged offending and mandatory life ban, other than stating he has “no interest other than greyhound racing”.

“That is not a special circumstance,” the VRT said.

“He is disqualified for life in relation to this charge.”

Divirgilio was found guilty of making a false statement to stewards at the October 2019 inspection, with repeated denials about having possums on the property.

Divirgilio’s son Ben was “fully aware” of his father’s actions but there was no finding “he actually engaged in live baiting”.

Ben Divirgilio has been given approval to help his partner feed and toilet the 75 greyhounds under their care and control.

“We consider that it would be a good way to rehabilitate Ben back into the industry and relieve what must have been great pressure on Ms Smith over the last two years,” VRT said.