IN THE NEWS: On JUL 12, 2017
The origin of an emaciated greyhound, which animal activists say was rescued from a "meat truck van on the way to a slaughterhouse" in China, is being investigated by authorities in Tasmania.
The Office of Racing Integrity (ORI) - a division of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment - is checking a number of claims on social media, including whether an ear tattoo on the animal, now named Hope, shows the dog came from Tasmania.
Disturbing images of the eight-year-old dog were uploaded to social media on Sunday, purporting to show the animal with signs of starvation and mange.
An ORI spokesman said he was concerned by reports the dog may be from Tasmania.
"At this stage, there is not enough information available to determine the origin of the dog," he said.
"However, the Office of Racing Integrity is undertaking further inquiries to see if it can be identified.
"There are rules in place for the international movement of racing greyhounds as part of maintaining their welfare while they are racing animals.
"Breaches result in investigations being undertaken by ORI, where stewards conduct inquiries into the matters and penalties can be imposed."
The Facebook post shows a tattoo on one of Hope's ears, that appears to read "T21" plus another obscured numeral or letter.
Emma Haswell from Tasmania's Brightside Animal Sanctuary said the "T" in the markings could mean Hope was from Tasmania.
Ms Haswell claimed there have been instances of trainers sending dogs to China to get money rather than just euthanising them once they were finished racing.
Hope 'on way to slaughter'
The pictures of the dog were posted by Kerry Elliman, a greyhound protection advocate in the United Kingdom, who said Hope's apparent treatment left her heartbroken and angry.
"This is Hope, she is a tattooed racing greyhound that was exported to China," she wrote on the Facebook post.
"She was pulled out of the meat truck vans on the way to the slaughterhouse.
"I can't thank the people in China enough for what they do to save these dogs."
Ms Elliman said Hope was taken to an animal refuge she identified as "Wang's shelter", a dog home she said was set up by a Chinese millionaire in north-east China, and was being treated by vets before being sent to the UK in the next three months.
Wang Yan, 29, became well known when he saved more than 2,000 dogs from butchers at meat markets in three years after losing his own dog in 2012.
Ms Elliman added that people were trying to track down the dog's origin from the ear tattoo, but she believed it was from Australia.