Thursday, 14 October 2010

‘Enough is enough’ declares greyhound owner

In just 3 months greyhound trainer and owner Dave Smith has seen 4 greyhounds retire through injury and the future of a fifth remains in the balance. Now Smith has declared “enough is enough.”

Smith is not a major player within the ‘sport’ of greyhound racing but as the person behind Greyhoundscene - the largest forum for UK members of the racing fraternity - and its associated website site, he is one of the best known.

Earlier this month Smith publicly stated: “I doubt I will ever buy another dog, I work bloody hard to earn a decent living for my family (and) I can no longer look my wife and kids in the face and tell them that’s another few grand I have wasted.”

The recent spate of retirements is said to have cost the owners £16,000. Smith further added that he would today “walk away from this sport” if he was not running the forum.

And the anguish felt by Smith is echoed by members of the racing fraternity across the country. “The sport is in a complete mess. Dogs (are) being injured left, right and centre,” writes owner Lee Calcutt, in a posting on Greyhoundscene.

Clash Hummer, Mustang Beauty, Oakfront Dame and Corrig Vieri are among the many greyhounds whose career on the track was recently prematurely terminated as a result of hock injuries sustained in competition, training or trials.

The scale of injuries has not escaped the attention of the recently formed Greyhound Owners, Breeders and Trainers Association who have described the situation as a “crisis.”

Chairman Martin White is reported saying: “The matter is of serious concern to practitioners, many of whom have been in touch with GOBATA reporting their individual experiences and frustration at what appears to be an inordinate amount of greyhounds suffering serious injuries.”

Discussions have taken place between the group and the ‘sports’ governing body - the Greyhound Board of Great Britain - to try and ascertain if statistics support the “deluge of complaints.”

I wish GOBATA the best of luck. Injuries to greyhounds remains one of the most sensitive and guarded subjects within greyhound racing.

Smith has stated that injuries this year are the worst he has ever known. The owner further added: “I like many others have slowly had the stuffing knocked out of me; recently I have spent more time going to the vets and physios than to the racetrack.”

The summer will typically see a rise in the level of injuries both on and off the track and perhaps there are other underlying causes not yet identified. That said the nature of greyhound racing in Britain - six greyhounds competing against each other on an oval circuit - is inherently lethal.

It is, however, when casualties command significant monetary value that owners question there involvement in the ‘sport’. £200 disposable BAGS runners rarely get a thought.