Seaham, County Durham: Dave Smith

#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

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun
Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun. Despite this, he was never charged with animal cruelty.

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.

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun. Photo shows Smith leading two greyhounds to their deaths.
Smith was photographed by a reporter leading two greyhounds to the kill zone. The dogs were later identified as two-year-olds Clash Nitro and Rent a Flyer, bred and raised in Ireland before being sold off.

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.

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun. This photo shows Smith returning with the bodies of the same two dogs in a wheelbarrow
The shocking footage shows Smith returning moments later with the bodies of the same two dogs in a wheelbarrow

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.

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun

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

BBC News

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2019 update:
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.