On December 22nd, a concerned volunteer from a local rescue centre – Tony Locke – emailed greyhound protection groups asking for help and advice regarding four greyhounds kept in filthy conditions on a council allotment.
The dogs are confined to a small muddy area, strewn with rubbish and dangerous objects and fed on what can best be described as ‘runny porridge’.
One greyhound can be seen unable to place any weight on her hind leg and another dog is completely bald on his hind legs and underbelly. We have no way of knowing what bedding – if any – has been provided inside the sheds and despite Workington experiencing sub zero temperatures of minus 6ºC and heavy snow falls throughout January – the dogs have never been seen wearing coats or jackets.
As a consequence, numerous verbal and formal written complaints have been submitted to Allerdale Council – who have adopted the Animal Welfare Act, which give them the powers of enforcement necessary to deal with and prosecute those guilty of causing unnecessary suffering and cruelty to animals.
Local authorities are under no obligation to adopt the Act and many choose not to, simply because of the financial burden.
If funded correctly, a local authority can quite successfully enforce and prosecute offenders under the Act – as can be seen with the recent conviction of Ian Street by Wirral council.
Not surprisingly – without the necessary funding in place, Allerdale Council denied their responsibility and all initial complaints were automatically referred to the RSPCA, who have no powers of enforcement but often privately prosecute – as anyone can.
Regardless, Mr Locke made several complaints to the RSPCA but no attempts have been made since to assure Mr Locke as to the dog’s welfare or even if an inspection had been undertaken.
The council, eventually forced to accept their responsibility, reluctantly arranged a site visit – by the dog warden – for 9am on January 7th.
Even though full access could not be gained – only what can be seen on the video footage – the dog warden agreed a veterinary inspection was called for but this would have to be arranged by her manager.
Enter Environmental Services Manager – Ernie Davidson – who again, only after external pressure, arranged a vet inspection for 15th January – some 9 days after initially being alerted to the greyhound’s conditions and that was only if Mr Davidson’s car could make it through the snow!
In attendance were Mr Davidson, the dog warden, vet, police and the dogs’ owner. Mr Locke was asked to leave and did not witness the inspection and approximately 30 minutes later he was advised by Mr Davidson – the vet had ‘no concerns’ and when pressed for further assurances Mr Davidson told him – in the councils view – the complaint was now resolved and no further action would be taken.
Two days later a further video was taken – the conditions had not improved and if anything had worsened.
A formal request for assurances of the dogs welfare – produced a very curt reply from Allerdale Council’s Strategic Manager – Ian Payne – who in response stated ‘A vet visited the site on Friday, examined every animal and no welfare issues were apparent’
Mr Payne has since refused to respond to a series of emails and phone calls questioning the vet’s diagnosis for both ailing dogs and what – if any – treatment they were receiving.
How You Can Help
Please complain to Allerdale Council and the local newspaper – email addresses below – regarding the conditions of these dogs kept at North Side allotments, Workington and request the official veterinary’s report, together with his diagnosis of the two ailing dogs and what – if any – medication or treatment he prescribed.
Please also advise Allerdale Council and the local newspaper, rescue places have been secured for these dogs and will remain available for the foreseeable future, should they wish to use the powers given to them by Parliament to seize these dogs – as it is clear the owner is failing to provide a suitable environment for them to live and therefore failing in his ‘Duty of Care’.
Please remember to be polite and to enclose the two links to the videos
News & Star
John (Binky) Armstrong – Mayor of Allerdale
Ian Payne – Strategic Manager
Workington’s Ward Councillors
Many thanks, as always, for your care and compassion for the greyhounds