Minority who mistreat dogs do not speak for us: Greyhound owners

The greyhound industry has come under fire in recent times. Most recently, the industry came under fire after RTE’s Prime Time Investigates aired a programme about the doping of greyhounds.

So I decided to go to one of Irelands leading greyhound strongholds and get the responses of some of Kerry’s proud greyhound owners and trainers.

Kingdom Greyhound Stadium, General Manger, Declan Dowling, said the Irish Greyhound Board have become really stringent on doping.

"Recently they have invested over €400,000 euros on new, top of the range equipment that will detect even the slightest drugs that may be found in greyhounds.

“There can be random drug testing and the vast majority of greyhounds there is nothing found. The figure off the top of my head is about 98% come back negative for drug taking”.

Liam Dowling of Ballymac Kennels, is one of Irelands top greyhound trainers, winning the Irish Derby in 2016 with his dog Ballymac Matt.

He believes that there are people put in place to keep an eye on these type of industries and feels that those people are pulling their weight.

Mr. Dowling, who has been involved in the industry for over 30 years, has no doubt that the overall majority of greyhound owners take great care of their dogs.

“People always have this view that greyhounds are mistreated. Come to any greyhound stadium, see the conditions they’re in, see the conditions race dogs are kept in, there’s an awful lot of money spent on them”.

Beth Reidy and her husband Mike, from Ballyheigue, have also been involved in the industry for over 30 years and feel that the negative image that is portrayed is not reflective of the industry in general.

“I think the genuine greyhound owners look after their dogs very well… all you hear in the media really are the bad stories”.

The Reidys have retired a few of their dogs at their home in Kerry Head including family favourite, 12 year old, Johnny.

“We would keep some of the dogs that we have raced on and we have retired them here at home and for the others we would find retirement homes for them as well”.

It is clear these Kerry based greyhound owners and trainers are aware that the industry comes with its flaws but they do not want to be tarnished with the same brush.

* This story and video were developed as part of an ongoing collaboration between the Irish Examiner and the Univeristy of Limerick.

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