Tracks of their Tears


5 articles

Wimbledon | Catford | Oxford | Crayford | Portsmouth | Hall Green | Belle Vue | Ellesmere port | Swindon | Kinsley | Perry Barr | Newcastle Stadium | Brighton and Hove | Sittingbourne | Shawfield | Sunderland | Henlow | Yarmouth | Nottingham | Swansea | Glastonbury (Abbey Moor) | Pelaw Grange | Milton Keynes | Ayr | Poole | Peterborough

From greyhoundscene, pro-racing internet forum, Sept 13th, 2009

"Ei Yup Dailydogs has broken her Yarmouth last Night. She was a length clear of the other dog off the last bend and when she broke down."
Greyhound Watch Press release November 2008

Call for end to racing at Yarmouth after two greyhounds are fatally injured within a five day period.

Greyhound protection groups have called for the end to greyhound racing at Yarmouth stadium after two greyhounds are fatally injured within a five day period.

Spectators at the above venue were horrified when, in the ninth race on Wednesday 22nd October, Bluestone Lane 'brokedown' and was carried off the track yelping in agony.

The beautiful blue male had suffered a severe hind leg fracture and was put-to-sleep by the track vet.

Ann Cossey, who shared ownership of the greyhound with trainer George Parker, said: "If there had been anyway, I would have saved him, but I don't really want a three legged dog… you know if people see a three legged greyhound up the road its not a very good advert is it?"

Bluestone Lane was just 30 months old and the third greyhound Ms Cossey has lost through injury.

The following Monday, October 27th, Daves Dasher - a dark brindle male aged only 26 months - sustained a serious fracture of the right foreleg and was PTS also.

Trainer Michael Clare said: "He just got his legs tangled up as sometimes they do… It was something of a freak accident. I make no criticism of anybody."

These latest fatalities come as no surprise to Clive Ellis, founder of Greyhound Watch: "Safety at the stadium has been a contentious issue for many years with trainers describing the track as both 'diabolical' and an 'absolute tip'.

"An inconsistent surface - said to be due to grading and drainage - and the inside rail are given as reasons for a very high number of injuries and fatalities."

Assistant Racing Manager Marcus Westgate said: "It was just one of those really unfortunate things that happen in this game."

Mr Westgate also believes the injury rate at Yarmouth to be similar to other tracks. When asked how many greyhounds are put-down at the stadium each month he replied: "Maybe a couple, something like that."

Greyhound Watch, however, consider the true figure to be likely double and nationally that equates to about 1,500 greyhounds PTS annually following injury on tracks that come under the regulation of the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC).

It is a subject that remains one of the most sensitive within greyhound racing and one that industry officials remain very tight-lipped about.

The main organisation collecting injury data is the Racecourse Promoters Association (RCPA) who has turned down all requests for information.

The NGRC hold figures relating to greyhounds PTS following injury but are equally guarded.

And Mr Ellis is in no doubt about the reason why: "With research indicating a five figure number for injuries incurred annually on tracks regulated by the NGRC, and hundreds of greyhounds PTS - many solely on economic grounds - the information would prove highly damaging for the business of greyhound racing."

Evening News 7th April 2008

Three greyhounds were found dumped in Norwich within two weeks of each other.

On Thursday, March 6, five-year-old male greyhound Sugar Ray and Spa Treaty a white and brindle five-year-old female, were seen running out of Mousehold Heath, and narrowly escaped being hit by a motorist.

The two greyhounds had no collars, no identity tags and were not microchipped. The only way they could be identified was from ear tattoos.

The owners of the dogs have been traced by Action for Greyhounds UK, who believe they were deliberately dumped. They are now both at Faith Animal Rescue in Hickling.

Sid is a nine-year-old brindle male picked up as a stray in Spring Field in Lakenham, Norwich by the dog warden on March 19.

Although he was microchipped, the owner could not be traced, as the phone numbers were unobtainable, and the person no longer lived at the address.

Eastern Daily Press 25 November 2004

Dog trainer must empty his kennels

One of Norfolk's top greyhound trainers has been forced to quit after losing a planning battle with Yarmouth Borough Council.

Carl Appleton, 44, has been given an ultimatum to remove the last 17 dogs from his kennels on agricultural land in Thrigby Road, Filby, by Saturday or face prosecution.

But he said last night: "The council said I can't even keep one. I am worried some of these last ones might have to be put down because I am having trouble finding people to take them."

Council spokesman Rosie Couch said Mr Appleton had been given ample notice because a planning contravention notice had been issued two years ago. The kennel building did not have planning permission for any commercial activity.

She said: "Action was taken after complaints in the village about noise, and when council staff visited they were concerned about the muddy conditions and pens that did not appear to give cover."

However, Mr Appleton, a local builder who raced up to 60 dogs all round the country until recently, claims he is not breaching planning regulations because he is an amateur trainer and the kennels should not be classed as a commercial activity.

He insisted there were no welfare issues because the kennels were licensed by the National Greyhound Club and inspected every six months.

"I have my dogs inspected by a vet every two weeks," added Mr Appleton, who raced at Yarmouth Stadium and was attached to the new stadium in Coventry for a time.

"The council is just being bloody-minded, and I have never had complaints from neighbours," he said.

Mr Appleton, who owned most of the dogs himself, has passed a lot on to other trainers, and some are now racing at Crayford, in Kent.

Because he insists his greyhounds have been a hobby from which he has never made a penny, he is also disputing a back bill for £2500 in non-domestic rates presented to him by the council.

His father Tony, 61, from Fleggburgh, also races greyhounds at Yarmouth, and has been told to cut his number of dogs from 50 to 32, the number for which his premises are licensed.

Mike Dowling, the council's head of planning, said they had been concerned by the large number of greyhounds being kept at the Filby kennels for several years.

He said: "Extensive negotiations to bring the property back into the permitted use have failed, indeed since the planning contravention notice was issued, the activity of keeping greyhounds has intensified."

Planning enforcement officer Mathew Whitton said: "As a rule, the keeping of no more than seven dogs for personal enjoyment on residential property is considered incidental to the enjoyment of a dwelling house, but in this instance the land was not part of the owner's residential curtilage and is in the council's opinion being used for commercial activity."

Mike Palmer, editor of Greyhound Monthly, said Carl Appleton had been known nationally as a trainer. He confirmed there were unlikely to be any welfare issues.

"Dogs get muddy. They enjoy rolling about in the mud," he said.

From Global Greyhounds (pro-racing forum) Sept 2002 (Greyhound Action comments in italics)

"There have been several incidents at Sunderland with this large box they trip the hare into at the knock off. Last night's was the most serious. A small bitch dived in after the rabbit and it took twenty minutes to free it from this box and hare rail. As it was the last race only the staff and trainers witnessed it, but said they have complained to Mr Wild (Kevin Wilde, director of greyhound stadia for the track's owners William Hill) on numerous occasions about this device, but they will not listen.............."

"Same thing happened to Allen Gift at Yarmouth. It looked quite nasty........."
(Allen Gift is the dog which won the William Hill Greyhound Derby Final in June 2002)

"Someone explain to me why they have these boxes. Is it just to prolong the life of the windsock? I do hope not, as these must cost about £3 to make. Does not really justify just one dog getting hurt. Or is it to save paying a person to put a box on the hare? Either way the dogs lose out yet again!"