Greyhound cruelty claim shocks owners

STEPHEN PULLINGER Norfolk's leading figure in greyhound racing last night rallied to the defence of the industry after shocking claims of cruelty in a national tabloid newspaper.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

Norfolk's leading figure in greyhound racing last night rallied to the defence of the industry after shocking claims of cruelty in a national tabloid newspaper.

Yesterday's report claimed 10,000 ex-racing dogs had been slain in County Durham by

a man using a bolt gun, charging owners £10 a time.

Stephen Franklin, the owner of Yarmouth Stadium, said: "My father Len built the track and I have been involved in greyhound racing since I was nine.

"This story horrifies me, and such activities are certainly not condoned by the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC) under whose rules we run."

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Mr Franklin highlighted Rule 18 that makes the last registered owner responsible for the welfare of any retiring dog, and stipulates it should preferably be re-homed - as a last resort it may be humanely destroyed by a vet.

He said he could only think the activities highlighted related to a handful of independent tracks that existed, mostly in the North, which operated outside the rules of the NGRC.

"I feel sorry for all the people who work in racing whose name is being besmirched by one case," he said.

Mr Franklin is the chairman of Yarmouth Greyhound Homefinder, which assists the 75 trainers that use the track by finding homes for about 100 dogs each year. If dogs are retired out injured, Homefinder will even pay for veterinary treatment before they are rehomed.

He said greyhounds were docile and made good pets. Anyone interested can call homefinder co-ordinator Steve Capper on 0845 4583797.

The Sun newspaper story also sickened Jill Saunders, who runs the Cromer branch of Kerry Greyhound Connection, a small voluntary organisation, based in County Kerry, Ireland, which rescues and re-homes racing dogs.

She said: "There are thousands of greyhounds who are bred each year for racing. If they are not winning then they are of no use and owners want to get rid of them quickly and cheaply."

One of the success stories for the Cromer group is Heather who was nursed back to health after someone tried to kill her by drugging her and cutting off her ears to remove her identifying tattoos.

She has since been rehomed.

Contact Jill Saunders on 01263 512699 or visit www.kerrygreyhounds .co.uk