MAGGIE & MAX
VICTIMS OF SYSTEMIC CORRUPTION
This is Maggie and Max. Two beloved innocent dogs who were tragically and fatally caught in a scandalous web of systemic corruption, woven by the Racing Queensland organisation, and involving the Gympie Regional Council, the RSPCA, law enforcement, and even the legal system.
Wrongfully deemed as dangerous dogs and impounded for and incredible 4 years, before finally being ordered for destruction, Maggie and Max were the victims of intimidation and harassment set upon their owner’s Price Hill and Kate Mitchell, by the Gympie Regional Council.
The Gympie Council however is just one tentacle of an all-encompassing system of corruption with the power to crush any dissidence posing a threat to its foundations. And it was the preservation of this very autocracy that ultimately lead to the heart-breaking fate of these cherished animals.
how did maggie & max become embroiled in such an enormous scandal and how does this relate to racing queensland?
The story begins with animal chiropractor, John Jamieson, known to his patients and their owners as “Doc”. Since 1977 garnering a reputation as the most skilled and compassionate animal chiropractic specialist in Australia, Doc’s stewardship and love for animals, as well as his unique gift for healing them, was then and remains today legendary.
But Doc’s life hasn’t been all adoration and praise. Beginning his career in the greyhound racing industry from a young age, over the course of his career Doc became privy to the full scope of corruption within the industry.
- Animal blooding
- Mass greyhound killings
- Race fixing
- Racing board stewards and other officials concealing their ownership of greyhounds under false names
These are the people who are supposed to regulate the industry to keep it clean and above board, engaging in blatant conflicts of interest.
Standing to gain considerable profit, corrupt racing officials not only turn a blind eye to the cruel practices of animal blooding in greyhound training, they’re also knowingly complicit in planned race fixing practices such as doping, knobbling, manipulation of starting box arrangement, as well as many other forms of performance enhancement and sabotage, all as part of a highly successful enterprise of controlling the outcomes of races.
The perpetrators all sit in prominent positions of power among the board officials of Racing Queensland with connections in government and councils, industry regulation, law enforcement, and of course the legal system.
Race fixing in the greyhound racing industry is not a rare or infrequent occurrence. It is the norm. It is a highly profitable enterprise where the vast majority of those responsible for keeping the industry sanitised all have their finger in the pie.
THE PHOENIX TASKFORCE
Starting out working from the inside, Doc Jamieson has made it his life’s work to expose every level of corruption in greyhound racing and clean up the industry. Thus the Phoenix Taskforce was born, a non-profit organisation conducting private investigations for the public on animal cruelty and wrongdoings in the greyhound racing industry.
As CEO of the Phoenix Taskforce Administration Services, throughout the course of his career Doc has accumulated over 52,000 documents of damning evidence including video footage, audio recordings and transcripts, photographic evidence, witness statements, and much more, incriminating offenders at every level of the industry and its associations.
As the only meaningful voice for the animals suffering in the industry, Doc has pursued every possible path to attain justice, reporting to every official authority, and submitting his evidence through every conceivable channel, even reaching out to the media to help prompt investigation.
After realising that Doc was a force to be reckoned with, as the single biggest threat to their lucrative race fixing enterprise, the greyhound racing industry with its broad reach and associations, tried every form of dissuasion at its disposal.
From attempted bribes, intimidation and harassment, to poisoning his animals, vandalising his clinics, damaging his property, equipment, and vehicles, to false inquiries and law suits, assassination attempts, and even inserting people into Doc’s life to get close and sabotage his efforts from the inside.
While there has been some small measure of success with cases in the early days of Doc’s career, with a number of offenders being prosecuted and jailed, for the most part Doc’s relentless filing of reports and submissions of evidence have been ignored, given the runaround, or have been swept under the rug.
For Doc it’s been an ongoing lifelong marathon of epic proportions, but somehow he’s survived it all and has never given up.
Along the way Doc did manage to make some trustworthy connections, and one of those was his friendship with Price Hill.
From the beginning Doc and Price hit it off with instant rapport. With their shared passion for the racing industry, Doc, and Price, a gifted horse trainer became good friends. Over the years Price was slowly exposed to the truth of the racing industry and began to take interest in Doc’s fight for justice.
Price decided to help Doc by hiding some of Doc’s evidence on his property at Gympie, at a time when Doc was under heavy fire from the industry. Then when it came time to relocate the evidence, and knowledge that Price had helped Doc by caretaking his evidence became public, that’s when things started to take a turn for the worse.
MAGGIE & MAX IN TROUBLE
Early one morning in July of 2017, Maggie and Max had somehow escaped the property. Coincidentally that same morning Price and Kate’s neighbour’s dog, Boof, was found dead, a bloody mutilated mess on an adjoining property where Maggie and Max were seen nearby. Based on proximity alone, Maggie and Max were immediately seized by the Gympie Council, declared to be Boof’s killers, and impounded at the RSPCA. What followed was a very long and highly unusual string of events that brought the legitimacy of Maggie and Max’s impoundment strongly into question.
The circumstances surrounding Maggie and Max’s escape were highly suspicious. It was the not first time Maggie and Max had mysteriously escaped the property, and this hadn’t begun to happen until relations between Price and his father Bob, who was living in a granny flat on the property at the time, had begun to break down after a horse racing investment dispute.
Bob and Price’s brother Leonard had arranged with Price to combine funds for investment into a race horse named “Show a Flick”. However, prior to the horse’s first race Bob and Leonard backed out of the arrangement.
Then after Show a Flick had a win Bob and Leonard wanted back into the arrangement, but Price told them it was too late. A series of domestic disputes and suspicious incidents followed.
On one occasion when Leonard trespassed on Price and Kate’s property and refused to leave, a physical altercation between Price and Leonard broke out, to which police were called to attend.
At a subsequent race meeting Show a Flick was mysteriously drugged and came up positive for a drug test.
It was also around this time that Maggie and Max had begun to escape their property in the early hours of the morning getting into trouble on several occasions, this despite the impeccable security of Price and Kate’s property. Being animals lovers and horse racing entrepreneurs owning and training several horses at their property, as well as owning multiple dogs, Price and Kate were not the type to be irresponsible with containment protocol on their property, having installed sound perimeter fencing, as well as remote control and spring loaded gates at all entrances.
Also during this period, Bob’s scorn and resentment toward Price and Kate shone through in his behaviour. Around the time of Maggie and Max’s series of mysterious escapes, Bob would often be witnessed corralling the fence line around Price and Kate’s yard during the night, taunting Maggie and Max, including on the night of Maggie and Max’s escape and subsequent seizure by the council. Bob also displayed his rancour with malicious online comments and baseless complaints to Price and Kate’s place of work. Because of this behaviour it was strongly suspected that Bob was responsible for releasing Maggie and Max from their yard.
Upon the neighbour’s discovery of her dead dog Boof, calling of the council, and Maggie and Max’s seizure at the scene was immediate with Price and Kate none the wiser until rising that morning to find that their dogs were missing. The Gympie Council was swift in declaring Maggie and Max as regulated dangerous dogs despite a stark lack of evidence to incriminate them. Typically after a vicious dog fight dogs will be in a state of exhaustion profusely panting for some time thereafter. Maggie and Max showed no such symptoms at the scene.
But the evidence that should have exonerated the dogs, was that although the neighbour’s dead dog’s body was a mutilated bloody mess there was not a single stitch of blood to be found on Maggie or Max at the scene.
Price and Kate were served with a regulatory compliance order to further increase the security of their property, but they disputed the order as their security was already impeccable, demanding for their dog’s return and threatening legal action against the council. The Gympie Council then issued the destruction order for Maggie and Max, after which Price and Kate had no choice but to dispute the decision through QCAT, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
It was during this time that Price and Kate began to suspect foul play, so they reached out to Doc and asked him to conduct a private investigation into Maggie and Max’s impoundment. Since 1999 Doc has been on the receiving end of a host of false inquiries, strategic defamation, and harassment orchestrated by Racing Queensland and its associations, including a law suit against the Chiropractic Board of Queensland. Doc was no stranger to councils abusing their power to try and break his resolve in exposing greyhound racing industry corruption, and he could easily see that that’s exactly what was going on for Price and Kate, ever since knowledge that they had come on side with him by caretaking his evidence had reached Racing Queensland. But unfortunately there was nothing Doc could do to get inside the RSPCA where Maggie and Max were being held, unless there was some kind of injury involved requiring his expertise.
For three years Maggie and Max remained impounded at the RSPCA until in August of 2020 when the matter finally found its way into a tribunal. The Gympie Council had pieced together a flimsy case of assumptions based on stretching dubious witness testimonies across great divides to connect with tenuous conjecture. On the other hand, the case which Price and Kate had assembled was strongly corroborated, and by its own merits more than capable of conquering the council’s weak speculations. However, QCAT sided with the council and confirmed the destruction order.
Bemused but undeterred, Price and Kate contested the decision and the matter was then moved to an appeal. While Price and Kate worked to build their case for the appeal, they were approached by Peter Boyce of Butler McDermott Lawyers.
Peter was the solicitor who had worked on Doc’s defamation suit in 2008 against the Chiropractic Board of Queensland and the Racing Queensland organisation. At the time Peter provided grossly misleading information to Doc which lost him the case. Doc appealed the case and because no lawyers in Australia would represent him, Doc represented himself and won the right to sue. Doc later learned that Peter was a lifetime member of Racing Queensland, a blatant conflict of interest.
When Price and Kate informed Doc of their new legal advisor and Doc enlightened them to his history, it became ever more clear that Maggie and Max’s impoundment was an orchestrated attack by Racing Queensland on Price and Kate’s livelihoods in response to their working with Doc. At the mere mention of Doc’s name by Price to Peter he immediately withdrew himself from the case wiping Price and Kate’s legal fees.
By April of 2021 Maggie’s health had deteriorated badly. A large lipoma had formed on one of her legs and she had begun to show lameness in her back legs. At long last, after four years of waiting, Doc finally had an opportunity to get inside the RSPCA and get an inside view of what was going on.
Doc visited the RSPCA several times over the course of more than a month to administer a treatment protocol to Maggie and Max. After a preposterous 4 years of captivity even RSPCA staff had remarked at the dwindling health of both dogs, as well as the highly unusual circumstances surrounding Maggie and Max’s impoundment. Upon his first and all subsequent visits, it was clear that the RSPCA had no concern for the regulated dog handling compliance of Maggie and Max. According to the Queensland Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008, there are clear and strict requirements for the handling and management of regulated dogs, such as muzzling, and strict leash and/or tethering protocol, but for Maggie and Max none of these were being implemented. The dogs were unmuzzled, unleashed, and left unattended for every one of Doc’s visits.
As a condition of Maggie and Max’s regulated status the Gympie Council’s chief investigator for the case, Dan Rogers, was required to be present for any treatment provided by Doc to Maggie and Max at the RSPCA. However, Dan’s presence at each of Doc’s visits served for little more than a meet and greet formality at the start of each visit, with Dan leaving Doc unattended for practically the entirety of every treatment.
During the first visit Doc had opportunity to discuss the corruption of the greyhound racing industry, including the true motives behind the scenes of Maggie and Max’s prolonged impoundment. Doc offered Dan a sample copy of the evidence Price and Kate had been holding for Doc, which included incriminating evidence against the RSPCA colluding with Racing Queensland. Dan accepted the offer, signing for the receipt of the evidence package upon Doc’s next visit. However a week later, Dan displayed a complete attitude reversal, and returned the package to Doc fervently stating that he did not wish to view the evidence for fear of being obliged to take investigative action on any corruption he might otherwise have seen.
On the day of Doc’s initial visit to the RSPCA, Price and Kate were to attend a race meeting at the Gatton racecourse with their horse Katie’s Cash. It was during their travel to the racecourse that day when yet another opportunity for harassment was taken advantage of. While making their way to Gatton that day, Price and Kate had to make multiple stops along the way to secure the horse float curtain which had come loose and was upsetting the horse on the road.
Upon entering the township of Gatton, Price and Kate were accosted by police attempting to engage them in a traffic stop. As was highly uncharacteristic of police in the area to be unconcerned of the need for safety in towing a horse float, particularly so near to the Gatton racecourse, the police displayed a complete disregard for the safety or wellbeing of the horse. With horse float in tow and an upset horse on board, Price had nowhere to safely pull over until reaching the racecourse. But the police continued blaring their siren for almost 5 kilometres causing even more panic to Katie’s Cash.
Once Price was able to stop safely, his first concern was the safety and settling of his horse. Completely unconcerned with safety the police caused a commotion upsetting the horse further, and aggressively arrested Price leaving his partner Kate, a woman of barely 50 kilograms, to handle an upset 600 kilogram animal in a state of panic.
Due to the negligence of the police Kate was injured while trying to manage Katie’s Cash, but fortunately there were race stewards nearby who rushed in to help Kate while Price was arrested and taken away. The stewards were shocked at the behaviour of the police, remarking that usually police were respectful of the need for safety with handling horses, and in such a situation would usually wait patiently for horses to be unloaded and settled before dealing with the purpose of the traffic stop.
Rather than process Price at the local police station in Gatton, police transported Price to the Toowoomba Police Station Watchhouse where he was held for several hours and later released with a hand written court summons to appear for the charges of speeding, failing to stop, and obstruction. With no transport Price was left to find his own way back to Kate and his horse some 40 kilometres away.
On the surface the events surrounding Price’s arrest appeared to be unrelated to Maggie and Max’s impoundment. However, as Doc could attest, with his decades of experience in being harassed by authorities, the timing of Price’s arrest on a day when his horse was entered into a race, the removal of Price from the racecourse some 40 kilometres away with no transport back to Gatton, and the uncharacteristic and aggressive behaviour of the police as well as their complete disregard for safety, were all well established tactics of intimidation characteristic of Racing Queensland.
As the QCAT appeal was nearing the date of its hearing, Price and Kate took the opportunity to submit samples of the evidence they had been holding for Doc, comprehensively showing the corruption of Racing Queensland, the collusion between Racing Queensland and the RSPCA, the connections and influence Racing Queensland possess over councils, law enforcement, and the courts, and how all of the events of the past 4 years were typical intimidation tactics used by Racing Queensland to protect against threats to their race fixing enterprise, which Price and Kate had effectively become. But the evidence was completely ignored by the appeal, and after legal proceedings that lasted more than 4 years, Maggie and Max’s destruction order by the Gympie Council was eventually confirmed.
Maggie and Max were euthanised.
By this point the legitimacy of Maggie and Max’s impoundment, regulation, and destruction, had become severely compromised raising a substantial number of alarming questions.
- Given his clear motive to cause anguish to Price and Kate, was Bob responsible for Maggie and Max’s escape on the morning of their seizure?
- Why was the Gympie Council so quick to declare Maggie and Max responsible for the death of Boof despite evidence to the contrary?
- Was Boof’s death part of a setup to frame Maggie and Max and assault the livelihoods of Price and Kate?
- Why was the evidence that would have exonerated Maggie and Max ignored by the Gympie Council and by QCAT?
- Why was Maggie and Max’s handing by the RSPCA completely non-compliant with regulated dog legislation?
- Why did Peter Boyce suddenly remove himself from Price and Kate’s appeal case wiping all of their legal fees?
- Why did Dan Rogers return Doc’s evidence with the fervent assertion that he had not viewed it after a week of having it in his possession?
- Why did police display complete ignorance of the requirement for safety whilst handling a horse float, aggressively arresting Price despite his compliant intent, and leaving Kate, his 50kg partner to handle an upset 600 kilogram animal?
- Why did QCAT proceedings drag on for an unprecedented 4 years?
- And why was Doc’s comprehensive body of evidence completely left out of legal proceedings?
In May of 2022 Doc had managed to make contact with Hugh Carter, Barrister at Law serving in the office of Commonwealth Parliamentary Services in Brisbane for Senators Malcolm Roberts and Pauline Hanson. This was during the time that Senator Roberts had been publicly raising the issues of RSPCA corruption. In a voice conference with Hugh, Doc was able to discuss the matter of Maggie and Max’s impoundment and its relation to RSPCA and Racing Queensland corruption, as well as the harassment both himself and Price and Kate had suffered as a result. Doc arranged with Hugh for the submission of an evidence package which was served to Hugh’s office 2 months later in July. This was Doc’s 4th evidence submission to Senator Pauline Hanson’s office since 2013, and to this day Doc has still received no reply.
The Phoenix Taskforce needs your help to share Maggie and Max’s story, and raise awareness of the deep state of corruption within the greyhound racing industry and its associations across government, industry regulation, animal rights organisations, law enforcement, and the legal system. The animals need our voice, because without us they don’t have one.
The Phoenix Taskforce has worked tirelessly for more than 45 years compiling incriminating evidence of mass corruption and collusion, pursuing every possible avenue to attain justice for the animal kingdom and its stewards. Senators and law enforcement across the entire country, the Crime and Corruption Commission, the Attorney General’s office, and even the Governor General all have the evidence but no one has lifted a finger. They’ve had decades to do the right thing. Now we’re cracking open Pandora’s Box and taking the evidence public, and we’re not going to pull any punches.
It’s well past the time for decisive action and we won’t stop until Justice is served. Our government and systems are answerable to the people, and with your help our voice will be heard across the nation.
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Brace yourself. The wheels are about to come off the wagon.