Every year many thousands of greyhounds of no further use or value to the racing industry are disposed of and whilst many are killed, a large number will be adopted through rescues.
The idea, however, that all falling within the latter group had responsible owners who put the animal’s welfare and security first is very wide of the mark.
Chair of Lancashire Retired Greyhound Trust, Sarah Horner, was recently to speak out about life on the ‘front line’ and accused owners and trainers of dumping greyhounds on branch doorsteps and threatening to have the animal’s destroyed if not taken in.
According to industry governing body, Greyhound Board of Great Britain, the sport of greyhound racing is “well run, properly regulated and the welfare of the dogs is always the main priority of those involved.”
I’m not sure Horner would agree, having taken in racing dogs “with maggots crawling out of festering wounds” and dogs “covered in crap and pee, and emaciated.”
The above are ex-Belle Vue dogs, a track the rescue is now affiliated to under the new name Lancashire and Belle Vue RGT.
Horner states: “I had one Belle Vue owner bring a dog to me whose back leg was dangling the wrong way round, he had it in his arms and shoved the dog at me and said ‘see what you can do with him’ (and then) laughed and walked off.”
And according to Horner the above is an example of what is seen at many non-track based RGT branches.
The Ormskirk based branch has homed more than 40 greyhounds since its formation in October 2010; a figure to include greyhounds retired responsibly, greyhounds with injuries the owners are refusing to pay to have treated and greyhounds found as strays.
In 2010 the number of greyhounds homed nationally through the RGT fell by approximately 500 on the previous year.
It was at Belle Vue in 1926 that the first greyhound races in Britain were held and the fact, some 85 years later, we are receiving accounts of neglect as above speaks volumes about the true “priority” given to welfare.