SCENES OF carnage greeted volunteers of a dog rescue charity when they arrived at the charitys kennels on Saturday morning to find two dogs dead and many more badly injured after an intruder broke into the kennels during the early hours of the morning and had released thirty Greyhounds and Lurchers from their pens and allowed them to fight.
The incident occurred at the Tia Greyhound and Lurcher Rescues kennels in Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, West Yorkshire.
It appears that an intruder - believed to have an inside knowledge of the kennels - entered the building through a small gap in a window into a side block of kennels. The intruder then walked through the office and into the main kennel area where they then opened every single pen, allowing thirty dogs - half of which were males, many of them ex-racing Greyhounds - to run out and attack each other.
Two dogs died as a result of the ensuing fight, one being found dead at the scene, the other needing to be put to sleep by a vet later. Six other dogs were badly injured and received veterinary treatment over the weekend, before being returned to the kennels, prior to being taken to foster homes. One dog is expected to lose its leg as a result of its injuries.
There is evidence that the perpetrator stood and watched the carnage as it ensued, as two clear trainer prints were found in a pool of blood. Police carried out a forensic investigation and will be making further inquiries, as one individual is under heavy suspicion.
It appears that the intruder did not steal any of the collecting tins or other valuables from the charity office, but removed an old fax machine to make it appear as though their motive had been burglary.
The charity was established by ex-policewoman Deborah Rothery who retired from the police force after being stabbed in the line of duty and retired. She started to rescue Greyhounds and established a small rescue charity in 1997.
She named the charity after her first rescue dog Tia who had recently died. The charity has now grown rapidly and rescues Greyhounds and Lurchers from all across the UK. Amongst the charitys patrons is One Foot In The Grave TV star Annette Crosbie.
Miss Crosbie, who has been in Yorkshire filming her part in the forthcoming film about the Rhylestone Ladies WI Naked Calendar, in which she insisted that her own rescued greyhound - a dog from TIA rescue - had a part as her characters pet, was said to be distraught when news of the incident was broken to her.
To my mind, the real villains behind this atrocity are not the sick individuals like the one who broke into the kennels on Saturday, but the entire Greyhound racing Industry, declared Miss Crosbie. In 1991, the Government recommended that the Greyhound Racing Industry should build kennels nationwide in which to place ex-racing Greyhounds until which time they could be rehomed. This would be a drop in the ocean the Industry with its huge profits but they have not built one single kennel. Instead, it is left to people like Debbie, people who genuinely love dogs, who work for nothing except their compassion for these poor animals.
People who run their rescues and charities on a shoestring, because the greedy, rich and callous Industry cannot be bothered to put its hand in its pocket to help the thousands of dogs who are cruelly cast aside every year when their racing careers are over.
Corals made profits of £32 million last year on Greyhound Racing alone, whilst the Tote is worth £1.5 billion annually. It makes me sick that these gross profits are banked whilst dogs suffer.
My heart goes out to Debbie and Bob, and to all the volunteers at TIA rescue. Huge thanks are due to everyone who has rallied round to help. Again, it is ordinary dog lovers across the world who care about dogs who actually do what they can to help.
I sincerely hope that the sick-minded individual who perpetrated this callous act is caught and punished with the full severity of the law.
Bob Lowrie, partner Deb Rothery was faced with a horrific sight when he opened up on Saturday morning.: I saw the main gates were open and as soon as I got to the door I just knew there was something wrong, said Mr Lowrie.
Inside it was bloody mayhem, there were 20 to 30 dogs running loose, many were injured and one four-year-old dog was dead. There were dogs everywhere.
It wasnt a thief, the cameras havent been taken, or money collecting tubs, the only thing thats been taken is the phone and fax machine, said Mr Lowrie, 42. I think they might have done that deliberately so we couldnt ring the emergency services, or just to make it look like a burglary.
Im sick. Someone has come here to kill dogs, thats all there is to it. Theyve come to do as much damage as they can.
Volunteers spent the day taking injured animals for veterinary treatment and tidying up the mess. Ms Rothery and her helpers were devastated by the attack.
Kaye Fitzgerald-Gorham, of the charity Lurcher Search UK, who helps Deborah Rothery to run the kennels told OUR DOGS: I went along to help clear up on Saturday morning, and the place was literally a bloodbath. There was blood splattered up the walls and in pools on the floor. Debs partner Bob arrived at the kennels that morning and saw blood literally running out from under the door.
whole rescue is run by volunteers, so there are no night staff
on the premises, but even so, nobody could expect that a sick-minded
individual could do something like this.
There are some sick dogs there. Some of them are terminally ill and it has affected several of them mentally. They are the scratching at the doors, whining and do not want to be taken into the kennels. How someone can perpetrate such a crime is beyond me. There are some very sick individuals out there.
Kaye added that since the story was posted onto the Internet, and flashed between several dog mailing lists, the rescue has been inundated with offers form people wanting to help.
The response from people wanting to help, by making donations for the dogs treatment, offering foster homes, homoeopathic medicines, transport and even DIY repairs has been overwhelming, she said. I just hope that the dogs will suffer no further trauma as a result of this despicable incident.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire police stated that house to house enquiries had been made and that the investigation was ongoing.
If anyone wishes to help the charity, please contact Deborah Rothery or Bob Lowrie on 07974-960684 or Kaye Fitzgerald-Gorham on 01422 240168. Lurcher Search UK may be contacted at www.lurcher.org/lsuk