Several former employees accuse Brendan Cole of greyhound live-baiting

Seven former workers of Brendon Cole - the top greyhound trainer being investigated over allegations of live baiting his dogs - have come forward with their accounts.

All of them have claimed live or dead baiting took place at his property, with animals including rabbits, possums, chickens - even guinea pigs - mauled and killed.

Newshub went to the Whanganui dog races and tried to speak with trainer Mr Cole, whose partner's dog won a race.

But it quickly became clear Mr Cole did not want to speak to media, and Newshub was told not to film and to leave the grounds.

Mr Cole is being investigated over images that appear to show him using live bait to train his dogs.

He has refused to comment, but live-baiting was all part of his regular training regime, according to former worker Shaun Rolston.

"So I saw live-baiting quite often, maybe once every two weeks," he said. "Some of the animals were possums, his own guinea pigs and rabbits as well."

Mr Rolston said it would happen along a long track on Mr Cole's property. Mr Cole, he said, would hold the live animal on a length of rope at one end.

"Then, you'd let the dog go, and they'd run down the track and just dig into the animal at the end.

"And you'd hear screeching noises - the dogs digging into the possum."

He said, while possums are pests, it was a horrific way for them to die.

Mr Rolston, who now represents New Zealand as part of the "Longblacks" golf team and runs his own event company, said working for Mr Cole was his first job out of school as a 17-year-old. 

"I just thought it was part of the industry," he said. "I thought it was hush-hush, but that everyone was doing it.

"I look back on it and definitely regret it, and wish I had come forward earlier."

Then, there's another former worker who said dead possums and hares were also regularly used as bait.

"They used to attach them to a piece of string to entice the dogs down the track, when they were running them."

She said piles of dead animals were kept in Mr Cole's chiller, maybe 1-15, even 20, at a time.

Using dead animals for training is forbidden.

Mr Cole has been investigated before over live-baiting, but that didn't result in action being taken against him.

The industry says live-baiting is not prevalent and emphasised he's innocent until proven guilty.

If you have further information, contact the SPCA confidentially 
on (09) 256 7300 or Michael Morrah (