Category Archives: greyhound racing

Chips Farm Kennels, Ormskirk: Greyhound Trainer Richard Whelan and Others

#TheList greyhound trainer Richard Whelan, born c.1980, and kennel hands Gary Morley, Barry Murphy, Ian Orr and Jake Parkinson all of Chips Farm Kennels, Southport Road, Scarisbrick, Ormskirk L40 8HE – doped racing dogs with Viagra, birth control pills and pig sedatives

Richard Whelan (left) is disqualified from working with racing greyhounds as is kennel-hand Gary Morley (pictured)
Richard Whelan (left) is disqualified indefinitely from working with racing greyhounds along with four kennel-hands including Gary Morley (pictured)

Ten greyhounds in the charge of trainer Richard Whelan were “routinely” handed banned substances – including sedatives meant for pigs.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain also banned four of Whelan’s kennel-hands for their involvement as animal welfare campaigners renewed calls for a clampdown on the racing industry’s doping scandal.

Sildenafil – Viagra’s active ingredient – was found in a sample taken from a dog called Skywalker Stevie, who had run at the Hall Green track in Birmingham.

The erection-boosting sex drug is said to give greyhounds an advantage by increasing their blood pressure and heart rate in the early stages of a race.

Richard Whelan is disqualified from working with racing greyounds following a doping scandal
Former greyhound trainer Richard Whelan

Nine other dogs handled by Whelan, 38, and kennel hands Gary Morley, Barry Murphy, Ian Orr and Jake Parkinson were found to have been doped.

Among the nine, seven were found to have consumed norethisterone – a key chemical in birth control pills used to suppress oestrogen in female dogs, so they can continue racing while in heat.

Three were also found to have ingested a pig sedative capable of slowing down a greyhound to potentially change a race result.

And another champion racer, Leonas Lark, tested positive for ­performance-boosting minoxidil – the active ingredient in men’s hair loss ­treatment Regaine.

Pills meant for treating malaria in humans and cramp in dogs were also seized during a 2017 raid of The Kennels, which is no longer in use.

Tim Morris, a scientific advisor for the greyhound authority, said: “The regime at the kennels was one in which the abuse of doping substances was frequent, if not routine.”

The board said Whelan placed “reckless trust” in them.

The banned trainer later admitted the test results were “very strange” but denied any knowledge of greyhounds being drugged and blamed jealous rivals.

He claimed the door to the kennels at Hall Green racetrack were unlocked between races.

He told us: “A lot of people did not like us training dogs.

We were very good at training dogs. We had a lot of winners.”

He said his ban was “a disgusting decision. I walked out of the hearing.

I understand being fined, but to be fined that amount and banned… it is a shambles.”

Flyer by campaign group Caged Nationwide
Flyer by campaign group Caged Nationwide

Greyhound racing has been blighted with doping claims for years and welfare experts say efforts to clean up the sport are failing.

Rita James, of greyhound protection group CAGED, said: “We think more can be done, most definitely.

In our view, race-fixing and doping is commonplace.

“People are putting dogs at risk to line their own pockets.”

Whelan claimed he dealt with the “money-side of the business” and “trusted the kennel-hands”.

Sentencing: all five men were each fined £5,000 and disqualified indefinitely from working with racing greyhounds.

Mirror

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.