Debate during the House of Assembly morning session had become particularly heated over matters such as power price increases and child protection when Bass Greens MHA Kim Booth stood to ask a question of Premier David Bartlett.
His question was about Toolong Terror, which had once raced for the Li’l Ricky greyhound racing syndicate of which Mr Bartlett was a member.
It became increasingly difficult for Mr Bartlett to answer the question because of interjections and loud laughter from the house as Mr Booth told the sad story of Toolong Terror, known to his friends as Piggy.
“Was Toolong Terror sold by the Li’l Ricky syndicate and, if so, what date was he sold?” asked Mr Booth.
“Is it not also a fact that Toolong was sent off for execution?
“Given the racing success of Toolong Terror, why was he disposed of so suddenly?”
Mr Booth suggested that Toolong could have been disposed of because he was at the heart of an inquiry about whether he had been properly registered when he won a race.
“Finally Premier, are you aware that Toolong was in fact rescued from death by (animal welfare activist) Emma Haswell and then, thankfully, put through an adoption process and will be available on the lawns of Parliament House at 1pm for a reunion?” he said.
Mr Bartlett replied:
“Toolong is back, Mr Speaker. Be still my beating heart.”
Despite the hilarity in the chamber, neither Mr Booth nor Ms Haswell was later treating Toolong Terror’s fate as a laughing matter.
Ms Haswell said that Toolong, or Piggy, as she now knows him, was minutes away from being euthanised when she got a call to go and rescue him a couple of weeks ago.
She said that he would have become one of the statistics of 20,000 greyhounds destroyed nationally a year because they have been deemed unfit or no longer suitable to race.
“Yet they make wonderful, gentle pets – they are couch potatoes,” she said.
Racing Minister Bryan Green urged more people to get involved in the adoption program run by the industry to take up greyhounds past their racing use-by date to save them from being euthanised. Mr Bartlett has denied that he or his syndicate, now dissolved, had anything to do with changing a decision on a race involving Toolong.
Toolong had also been sold to another owner months before he “faced execution”, Mr Booth said.