#TheList Dave Smith, born c. 1949, of Adam and Eve Cottage, Northdene Avenue, Seaham SR7 7BH – killed thousands of ex-racing greyhounds with a bolt gun and buried them at his home
The prosecution of Dave Smith was brought by the Environment Agency after police ruled that the ‘Seaham Slaughterer’ as he came to be known would not face criminal charges in relation to the destruction of the dogs.
It had been claimed that Smith had shot about 10,000 dogs, but magistrates were told the figure was nowhere near that. It was conceded that he had put down two dogs a week for two years at a cost of £10 a time.
While Smith was questioned by police, it was confirmed the bolt gun used to kill the retired greyhounds was held legitimately.
There are unconfirmed reports that Smith also disposed of dogs for the police and local authority.
Enquiries by the RSPCA concluded that there was no indication animal cruelty laws had been broken.
A spokeswoman for the charity said if used properly a bolt gun was a humane method of killing dogs and there had been no evidence that Smith had killed the greyhounds inhumanely.
Following a six-month investigation, the Environment Agency prosecuted him under legislation used to restrict the dumping of waste.
Smith admitted a single charge under the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations that, on 12 July 2006 he disposed of waste – the bodies of deceased dogs – on land without a permit.
Greyhound protection group Greyhound Action (now defunct) held a protest outside the court and said it was disgraceful that the dog racing industry itself was not in the dock.
Sentencing: £2,000 fine for environmental breaches
Dave Smith still runs a building supplies business Dave Smith Builders Merchants & DIY based in Lord Street, Seaham SR7 7JH. At the time of his prosecution, many local people came forward to support Smith, claiming that he was only meeting a demand from the greyhound industry.
In June 2019 a documentary on animal cruelty within the greyhound industry by Irish TV channel RTE entitled RTÉ Investigates: Greyhounds Running for Their Lives highlighted the Smith case and made the shocking discovery that many Irish knackeries, including Larry Earle Ltd of Camolin, Co Wexford, and John Styles & Son Ltd, will willingly provide a similar service today.