Tag Archives: licence withdrawal

Glasgow: Chris Sillars

#TheList greyhound trainer Chris Sillars, based in the West of Scotland (further info to follow)

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has banned trainer Chris Sillars from racing after neglecting a dog so badly she had to be euthanised. A legal prosecution case may now follow.

A kennel inspector who discovered the emaciated black greyhound bitch, Dudleys Forever, said it was “the worst condition of a greyhound I have seen”.

The dog, who originally raced in Ireland before being exported to Scotland, weighed just over 16kg, with a body score of 1/5, and was put down by a vet a few hours later.

An inquiry by the disciplinary committee of the GBGB was held in December 2019 and found that Sillars had breached animal welfare rules.

A GBGB report said a steward at Glasgow’s Shawfield Stadium, Alex McTaggart, made a routine visit to Sillars’ kennels on 2 September 2019. Mr McTaggart reported that one kennel block had nine greyhounds and there were four greyhounds in another non-registered block previously deemed unusable.

The GBGB’s report said: “One of these dogs, Dudleys Forever, a black bitch that had last raced at Shawfield on 24 November 2018, was in such poor condition that Mr McTaggart described it as ‘the worst condition of a greyhound I have seen’.

Video evidence was presented to the committee. Mr McTaggart said that in his opinion this was a matter of animal cruelty.

“Mr McTaggart said that on the same afternoon as his visit, he had spoken by telephone to Mr Sillars who had informed him that Dudleys Forever was eating well, and had been to the vet two months previously. Mr McTaggart told Mr Sillars that the bitch needed to see a vet as a matter of urgency.

The report continued: “Mr Sillars complied and took the greyhound to Abbey Vet Group later that day. The veterinary report was given in evidence and stated that the bitch weighed 16.3 kg with a body condition score of 1/5. Further tests were not undertaken, and the bitch was euthanased.”

The committee was told that the following day McTaggart met Sillars who accepted it was not true that Dudleys Forever had been seen by a vet recently. The dog had last been seen by a vet on 2 December 2018 – 10 months earlier.

The GBGB’s disciplinary committee viewed this as “a clear case of animal abuse” and moved to ban Sillars from racing.

The GBGB report concluded: “The distressing video clip endorsed the opinion of a highly experienced stipendiary steward that this was the worst condition of a greyhound he had ever seen, and the committee concurred. The committee deplored the neglect of this greyhound and concluded that Mr Sillars had treated the greyhound with cruelty and in such a manner as to cause the greyhound unnecessary suffering.

“The deliberate decision of Mr Sillars not to seek veterinary attention was wholly unacceptable. The committee considered the offence to be a prima facie breach of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and urged the GBGB to send the details of the case to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in Edinburgh.”

Say No To Greyhound Racing In Scotland said: “The treatment of racing greyhounds in Scotland is absolutely appalling and this trainer must be prosecuted and feel the full force of the law. We would also like to see criminal prosecutions where greyhounds are doped with Class A and human prescription drugs.

“To date there have been no prosecutions in Scotland with 14 GBGB confirmed doping cases in the last two years at Shawfield track in Glasgow which includes five for cocaine. We will continue to campaign for as long as it takes to shut this disgraceful industry down in Scotland.”

A spokesperson for GBGB, said: “We have the highest expectations of welfare and care in our sport so there is no place in it for trainers like Mr Sillars. This was a clear case of animal neglect and cruelty and the independent disciplinary committee has rightly decided to remove Mr Sillars’ licence, ensuring that he is never allowed to participate in our sport again.”

Reporters from The Ferret asked to see the video evidence presented to GBGB but it declined to release it.

The Ferret reported in October 2019 that dozens of greyhounds at Shawfield had been doped. Steroids, beta-blockers and prohormones – used by bodybuilders – were among other prohibited substances found in the bloodstreams of greyhounds at the Glasgow stadium since 2009.

Five of the 28 positive tests at Shawfield – Scotland’s only licensed track – involved cocaine, which is potentially fatal for dogs and can lead to seizures, strokes and heart attacks.

As well as those incidents, a trainer based in Edinburgh who races in England had three dogs tested positive for banned substances.

Source: The Ferret

Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield: Louise Lawford

#TheList Louise Lawford, born 23/09/1971, previously of Eastern Road, Sutton Coldfield but as of March 2020 believed to be in Grendon, Atherstone, Warwickshire – for animal welfare offences relating to her pet-sitting business Pawford Paws

Pictured is professional dog sitter Louise Lawford who claimed five dogs in her care ran off after being let off the lead in Hopwas Woods, Tamworth
Professional dog sitter Louise Lawford claimed five dogs in her care ran off after being let off the lead in Hopwas Woods, Tamworth

In June 2019 five dogs, who became known as the ‘Tamworth Five’, went missing while in the care of Birmingham-based pet-sitting Louise Lawford. Lawford claimed that the dogs – Ralph, Charlie, Pablo, Maggie and Jack – had run off in Hopwas Woods near Tamworth, but no trace of them has ever been found.

The Tamworth Five - the five dogs that went missing in the care of professional dog sitter Louise Lawford
No trace of the Tamworth Five has ever been found

In court, prosecutors rejected Lawford’s version of events but were unable to prove what had happened that day. Charges relating to the pets’ disappearance therefore had to be dropped.

Lawford was called a “dog killer” by someone in the public gallery, which the judge described as “outrageous”.

The court heard that Lawford had been placed in a position of trust and left customers anguished.

The fate of the Tamworth Five remains a mystery.

Professional dog sitter Louise Lawford is pictured outside court

Some of the pets’ owners were in court to witness Lawford being sentenced.

“The dogs were never found, despite being chipped and there being extensive searches,” said Jonathan Barker, prosecuting, adding he did not accept Lawford’s account that the dogs got lost in the woods, but could not prove otherwise.

Speaking after the hearing, the dogs’ owners – who say they “know” their pets are dead – said they would take civil action against Lawford.

“It’s a positive outcome because the court just did not believe the dogs were lost,” one owner Becky Parsons said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

She said the past six months had been “an emotional rollercoaster” and that she was so upset at losing her dogs, Pablo and Maggie, that she “couldn’t face going back” to her house and has had to move.

The case, brought by Birmingham City Council, has attracted much attention on social media, and Lawford was called a “dog killer” when she left court briefly before sentencing.

Pictured is professional dog sitter Louise Lawford who claimed five dogs in her care ran off after being let off the lead in Hopwas Woods, Tamworth
Lawford was prosecuted for animal welfare offences unrelated to the disappearance of the five dogs

The former dog walker, who has already had her licence revoked by Birmingham City Council, admitted breaching conditions including limits on the number of dogs she boarded at any one time, boarding dogs from different homes, as well as failing to seek treatment for the dog with a skin condition.

Lawford’s defence said she expressed “extreme and continuing remorse for what happened to the dogs”.

“This is well-intentioned but incompetent care,” her legal representative Tom Walking said.

Lawford apologised for the pain owners of the missing dogs have suffered

Birmingham City Council welcomed the sentence, calling the case “unusual and upsetting”.

“Only Mrs Lawford knows the truth of what happened to the five beloved pets placed in her care,” said Vicky Allwood, the council’s senior animal welfare officer.

Her sentence means she will have to give up her elderly pet labrador.

Sentencing: fined £800 and ordered to pay costs of £2,616 and a victim surcharge of £80. Banned from owning dogs for five years.

BBC News
BirminghamLive