Kennels belonging to Eve Blanchard, a professional greyhound trainer attached to Poole stadium, have shocked greyhound protection groups because of the squalid conditions.
Ms Blanchard, now 74, charges £4.00 per day to anyone wishing to run a dog through her kennels that when filmed did not even have lighting. Of further concern is the lack of heating. Ms Blanchard, however, believes the little heat generated by a group of dogs living within a confined area and sound proofing installed about 20 years ago helps keep the animals warm during the colder winter months.
National Greyhound Racing Club Area Steward, Colin Betteridge, is aware of problems and Ms Blanchard was recently served with an Improvement Notice that covers issues including a leaking roof. Mr Betteridge will be visiting the kennels again in the near future to see if improvements judged necessary have been carried out.
Ms Blanchard had at one time about 70 dogs but said she now has only 30 and “most of those aren’t running because their side-lined and lame.” Until recently, the dogs included Corrig Cinders - a beautiful white and blue female - that was put-to-sleep at Poole track after sustaining a broken shoulder in a horrific incident whilst contending only her 17th race.
And the ‘lucky’ greyhounds that survive a career on the track are likely to spend the remainder of their life - perhaps another 7 years - in Ms Blanchard’s kennels.
Tracey Seymour, who runs the Devon and South-West branch of the Retired Greyhound Trust, said Ms Blanchard “doesn’t home her dogs with anyone. She lets them rot and die in her kennel… She’s the world’s worst nightmare. She’s one of these trainers that believe a greyhound should spend the rest of its life in a kennel rotting until it dies and then she gets people to go round there and dig holes and bury them rather than give them the chance of a home.”
Ms Seymour spoke with the trainer when first linking-up with Poole stadium, in the hope some of the dogs could be found loving homes but said Ms Blanchard “wouldn’t budge, she wouldn’t give her dogs over to a homing scheme at all.”
And whilst most people would find the conditions the animals are living in totally unacceptable Mr Betteridge said there is “no serious issue” and “nothing to be alarmed at.”
Information and quotes given above are taken from recorded conversations held on 18th and 19th December 2008.