Action are apalled at the outcome of the David Smith case which
concluded at Durham Crown Court yesterday and resulted in Smith
receiving a meagre £2,000 fine, he was also ordered to pay
David Smith, the builder's merchant from Northdene Terrace, Seaham,
Co. Durham, was exposed by the Sunday Times in July last year for
killing and burying greyhounds on his land. It was alleged that
he had killed as many as 10,000 dogs over a period of 15 years and
that his father before had provided a similar service. Smith (the
greyhound serial killer) was allegedly paid £10 for each dog
he killed, he used a bolt gun to dispose of the dogs.
Despite the fact that Smith had committed these atrocities he
was not considered to have broken any animal welfare laws and it
was only on the grounds that Smith had buried the dogs on his land
without a permit that the Environment Agency decided to privately
Greyhound Action supporters gathered outside the Court yesterday
in mass protest, displaying anti-greyhound racing banners and posters,
the supporters had travelled from Scotland, Newcastle, York, Coventry,
Birmingham and Co. Durham to attend the demonstration organised
by Greyhound Action North East. Approximately six Police officers
were also present.
When Smith arrived he was taken around the back of the Courthouse
to the rear entrance for his protection, he also had to be escorted
to his vehicle after the hearing. Apparently, Smith has received
over thirty personal threats since he was exposed in July last year.
As Smith left the Courthouse, the angry protestors filled the air
with shouts of "MURDERER".
We were contacted yesterday by Jan Lakey, spokesperson for Greyhound
Action North East who sat inside the Courthouse during the hearing
together with around fifteen other Greyhound Action supporters awaiting
the verdict. Smith had been on police bail since his hearing at
the Magistrate's Court in February this year and allegedly in his
pre-sentencing report there were concerns as to his mental and physical
health, therefore any sentence and/or fine imposed at yesterday's
Crown Court hearing would take this and his personal financial situation
Approximately 25 friends and family members of Smith were also present
in court and when the verdict was announced some of them sickeningly
shouted "YES" in triumph. The court hearing lasted for
just over an hour.
Jan told us " I was totally astonished at the low level of
the fine, we were all in shock, I had gone into the Court with the
expectations that Smith would have been fined a large amount of
money and possibly faced prison. I was so angry when I heard the
verdict I had to take 2-3 minutes to cool off before I could face
the media who were waiting to take interviews, this was nowhere
near the justice needed. No amount of fine on one level would have
sufficed but it could have acted as some example to others who are
offering the 'same kind of service' .
"Even the Judge himself was bemused by the fact that there
was no law in place to offer protection to the dogs. If Smith had
been prosecuted under animal welfare law, he would have been sent
to prison for causing undue suffering. The Judge also mentioned
that if Smith had applied for a licence to dump waste (i.e. dogs
carcasses) and the licence had been passed then there would have
been no court case at all as Smith's actions would have been perfectly
The RSPCA felt that a bolt gun if used
properly was a humane way of killing dogs and said there was no
evidence to show that Smith had killed the dogs inhumanely, therefore
it was concluded that no animal cruelty laws had been broken.
GA cannot understand how the RSPCA could come to this conclusion.
None of us will ever forget the tragic fate of Rusty the greyhound
shot in the head with a captive bolt pistol by greyhound executioner
Andrew Gough who then hacked off Rusty's ears and left him to die
on a rubbish tip in the Rhymney Valley in Wales. Rusty, who was
discovered many hours later by a dog walker was still alive but
tragically had to be put to sleep by a vet due to severe brain injury
so even though Rusty had been shot with a bolt gun he was not killed
instantly and in fact suffered drastically for several hours. Gough
received a six-month jail sentence for the suffering he had caused
How do any of us know whether or not Smith killed every dog humanely?
Is it not possible that some of the dogs he shot with the bolt
gun may have just been stunned? If this were the case would it
not be possible that some of the dogs could have been buried alive?
Jan asked the prosecution solicitor why the dogs bodies were not
exhumed but was told that no purpose would have been served from
comment: the role of the RSPCA in this case seems quite remarkable
... is it credible that they really have the welfare of the dogs
upper most in their minds if they can't see the cruelty in this
situation? You might like to ask them?)
According to the defence barrister, Smith's activities were out
in the open and the community knew what was going on. It seems
that many of the people of Seaham accepted the actions of Smith
and we were horrified to learn that 200 local people had even
signed a petition to say that he was a good person, we were
also told that allegedly an ex-police officer had even offered
to give Smith a character reference in Court.
What we did find interesting is that it was stated in Court that
allegedly the local police also used Smith's services,
that they had taken injured animals including dogs to him. Smith's
defence mentioned that allegedly the local police, the RSPCA and
the local council had all used Smith's services and his father's
before him. The defence barrister at the Magistrate's Court in
February had said in Smith's defence that he had not hidden his
services and that they were allegedly used by these agencies.
The Police and the RSPCA denied knowing what Smith was doing.
The local council have refused to make any comment until after
the case hearing on Friday.
Jan from G.A. North East could not believe that the defence barrister
stated that Smith had said that he had killed nowhere near the
alleged number of 10, 000 dogs and that he was now claiming to
have killed between 1000 - 1500 dogs over the past ten years.
Smith claims that due to working at a newsagents and then a builder's
merchants he was only able to kill 2 dogs during a morning slot
between 9.30 and 10am and that this was not done 7 days a week.
Apparently the number of greyhounds killed escalated in the last
twelve months. (We believe that this is utter garbage and just
a last desperate attempt by Smith to try and make himself appear
as less of a monster - as if he could!).
The Judge at yesterday's hearing felt that as a result of the
Smith case, new legislation may come forth that could offer better
protection for animals and that the Smith case will act as a catalyst
Jan was interviewed by several media representatives and whilst
being interviewed was approached by one of Smith's supporters
who told her " If it wasn't for meddlers like you lot
- do-gooders, we wouldn't be here today".
Jan was delighted with the overall media coverage of yesterday's
events and told us "The media have been very sympathetic
and have done the greyhound supporters a good service. In particular
the coverage in the North has been excellent." (Local television,
local radio, Sky News, BBC, ITV and channel 5 all attended yesterday's
Jan added "Out of this terrible thing, it has brought attention
and awareness as to what goes on in the greyhound racing industry."
On a personal note we at GA believe that it was a crime in itself
that this inconcievable man was able to walk away from a place
that is supposed to represent justice with such a lenient punishment.
Where is the justice in all of this? The greyhounds whose lives
were taken so cruelly have been shown no justice whatsoever. If
a human takes the life of another human then they will get life
imprisonment and yet a man who is found to have taken the lives
of thousands of dogs is allowed to walk free? Whether Smith killed
1,000, 10,000 or 10 dogs is irrelevant, one greyhound killed as
a result of this sick, evil industry is one too many as far as
we are concerned!
It is imperative that we all remind ourselves that it is in
fact the people involved in the commercial greyhound racing industry
who bear the most guilt here as it is they who have created an
industry where thousands of dogs are killed every year, so even
though Smith is a monster, the racing industry is the essence
of pure evil.
All we can say is that the lives of those beautiful greyhounds
slaughtered by this scumbag will not be lost in vain. The David
Smith expose has travelled the globe and has highlighted the plight
of the greyhounds enormously. So many more people have been made
aware of the cruelty involved in the greyhound racing industry
and the Greyhound Action campaign to abolish commercial greyhound
racing has become far stronger as a result - the people of this
country will never forget the case of David Smith the man who
allegedly killed up to 10,000 greyhounds and buried them in his
back garden. We have the sympathy and the support of the general
public and in time WE SHALL OVERCOME!
Please see below links to the related news items.