No Licence to Kill
Journalist Nick Mays has written an excellent article for ‘Your Dogs’ magazine – questioning whether the use of bolt guns to destroy dogs is socially acceptable. A legal method whereby the slaughterer requires no formal training or a licence to own what is effectively a lethal and dangerous weapon.
A twelve month campaign by Many Tears Animal Rescue and German Shepherd Rescue following the destruction of 10 German Shepherd Dogs has forced the RSPCA to announce it is suspending the use of captive bolt guns.
Greytexploitations contributed to the article with an account of a greyhound that had sustained a traumatic injury following – to what we believe to be – a botched attempt to destroy with the use of a bolt gun.
Last year on January 7th, Joanne Page – a professional trainer – attached to Henlow dog track, took four healthy greyhounds to a Hitchen vets to be destroyed. By sheer coincidence, volunteers from a local rescue were on the premises and upon hearing of the dogs’ impending destruction, pleaded with Ms Page to hand the dogs over for re-homing. Their pleas were ignored and the dogs were destroyed forthwith.
These innocent souls were later to be known as ‘The Hitchen Four’
On February 17th Ms Page was cautioned at local level and retained her license in order to continue training greyhounds in her ‘care’ for the gambling industry.
However, Ms Page was actively encouraged – through external pressure – to responsibly retire her dogs once they were no longer useful, by surrendering them to greyhound rescues.
As a result, a number of greyhounds -12 – were retired in quick succession and with them came a series of health issues which required thousands of pounds worth of veterinary treatment with two of the greyhounds needing emergency surgery.
Harrishill Flyer, a white and black male – who had been racing only two months previously and passed fit to race by the track vet – needed 38 teeth extracted and part of his jaw bone removed because of two untreated abscesses.
Mitch Who – a black male – was found to have severe dental neglect and needed 19 teeth removed.
But a third greyhound – Milton – upon examination revealed he had a small hole which went straight through his skull.
The vet’s report
‘The canine carers had reported that he had suffered a number of nose bleeds. On examination it was discovered that he had an infected wound on his head. On closer inspection, we were horrified to find that under a flap of dying infected skin, there was a large hole through the dog’s skull, exposing a cavity. The wound was flushed with sterile saline and this fluid together with blood and pus, started to pour from the dog’s nostrils, confirming that the hole was in the frontal sinus that would normally communicate with the nasal passages. Thankfully the dog’s cranial cavity, containing the brain, was not affected. The wound was clearly quite an old one as the skin around the hole had started to heal and there was infection present. The dog was sent for xrays to see if there was any further underlying damage, any boney fragments left in the cavity or any evidence of shot. None was found, the wound was again flushed and the skin edges stitched. The dog was prescribed antibiotics to control infection and painkillers to help with the discomfort. It is clear to me having examined and treated Milton that this injury was caused by a major traumatic impact to the head and would have been very painful and distressing to the dog. Thankfully he was treated successfully and made a full recovery from his injuries’
Ms Page was bought before a disciplinary hearing in June last year and found guilty of cruelty which would have led to the unnecessary suffering of greyhounds in respect of Mitch Who and Harrishill Flyer. The trainer received a reprimand and £500 fine and her license was suspended for 3½ months. Despite Milton suffering a horrific injury, the offence was not deemed serious enough to be officially recorded during the Disciplinary Hearing.
There has since been no official statement from the GBGB as to Ms Page’s present ‘licensed’ status.
Only last year a greyhound’s severely shattered skull was unearthed on land belonging to a trainer in Ireland. Although the horrific find was reported to the Irish governing body – the Irish Greyhound Board made no attempt to investigate the complaint.
Whilst it is not illegal for an owner to destroy a healthy dog, the industry’s Retirement Form allows for destruction purely on economic grounds and by methods other than those used by a vet – see section D
Racing greyhound’s lives are governed entirely by economics and will undoubtedly be destroyed by those who seek to avoid the expense and trouble of a lethal injection – by a vet – in order to maximize profits and accommodate younger faster dogs needed to supply the gambling industry.
It is an inevitable consequence of commercial greyhound racing – perpetuated by the Rules of Racing which encourages the treatment of dogs as disposable commodities – that thousands of greyhounds will continue to be destroyed as cheaply as possible and as we have seen, sometimes in a brutal and barbaric manner.
What do you think about the use of bolt guns?
Your Dogs magazine would like to know
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or write to
Your Dogs Magazine (captive bolts), Roebuck House, 33 Broad Street, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 1RB
Please have the courage to watch this video if you would like to make a fully informed response.