Swansea Council have successfully prosecuted the owners of Swansea Greyhound Stadium for offences under the Animal Welfare Act. Francis Short, 64, who lives at the track in Fforestfach – run by his ex-wife – admitted one offence under the Act and must pay £515.
Kelly Byrne, prosecuting on behalf of Swansea council, told the court environmental health officers visited the stadium on 5 March this year. She said they found the greyhound kennels were of a “very poor standard”. As well as the soiled bedding and general disrepair some dogs were kept in poor light “with some kennels in complete darkness”.
One greyhound had an open cut on its tail with blood smeared across its kennel wall, magistrates in the city heard. Other dogs were roaming loose and there was an open bin bag and a block of frozen meat dumped on the floor.
A vet who was called to look at the dog with the open wound thought it was at least a week old, said Ms Byrne. Short told officers that he had been treating the dog but it must have “eaten the bandages”.
In mitigation Craig Davies said his client had been involved with racing dogs for 55 years and had never been in trouble before. He said Short was in poor health which had made it difficult for him to care for the dogs kept at the track, although he did receive daily assistance from the Greyhound Trust.
Alain Thomas of Greyhound Rescue Wales said: “Any track that keeps greyhounds for commercial purposes should set the highest possible standards for the greyhounds in its care. This is essential for the sake of the dogs who live at the track and also because the standards they set will be seen as an example by people who use the track. The Swansea Track has obviously fallen far below any standard that could be considered acceptable”.
“This track obviously lost sight of the importance of caring for the greyhounds that it depends on for its commercial existence. In my opinion, this track should now close.” He continued “The fact that an inspection found problems at the track also shows the importance of the regular monitoring of premises where numbers of greyhounds are kept.”
Greyhound Rescue Wales hopes that the Welsh Assembly Government will bring in legislation to give proper protection to all greyhounds racing in Wales. This would involve regular inspections of all premises where five or more greyhounds are kept and other measures, including a requirement to have a vet present at all greyhound races so that injured dogs can be treated quickly.
Greyhound Rescue Wales is working closely with other major charities and the Welsh Assembly Government towards proper regulation and its aim is to see regulations introduced before the end of 2010.