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Dog dies in police kennels

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a Greyhound died when police put the animal in a kennel and then forgot about it for 10 days.

The stray, which died of thirst, was picked up by officers and taken to Dalkeith police station in Midlothian on 2 January. The dog was placed in a holding kennel but it is thought the officer at the front desk who logged its details did not pass on the information.

Police only became aware something was wrong when they noticed a bad smell from the kennel in the station courtyard on 12 January and discovered the dog’s dead body inside.

Lothian and Borders Police said an investigation had been launched into the human error, which they say ‘could result in disciplinary action’.

A force spokesman said: ‘This is a tragic situation and we express our sympathy. We want to stress we are treating this matter very seriously.

‘We are appointing a senior officer to investigate all the circumstances.

‘We also reported the matter to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) and they've allocated a senior officer to carry out a separate independent inquiry.

‘We would not want at this stage to pre-judge either inquiry but we are determined that they will be thorough. The inquiry will also determine whether conduct proceedings are necessary.’

It is believed that the officer who took note of the dog's arrival was not normally based at the station.

A spokeswoman for the SSPCA said: ‘We have offered our assistance to police in their investigation.’

Margaret Nawrockyi of Dog Theft Action commented: ‘This is a very real problem; finders of lost, stolen or abandoned dogs are in a very difficult position as they don’t know where to take a dog they find.

In the first instance, they should contact their local authority dog warden or police station to take the dog in, but we know that that several police forces are refusing to take abandoned dogs, but alternative provisions have not been made for the dogs’ care. It is crucial that this issue is address nationwide as a matter of urgency. If it is not, DTA are fearful that incidents like this will be repeated.’

Tony Peters of Greyhound welfare group Greyhound Action told OUR DOGS: ‘We will be asking all our supporters to write to the Chief Constable of their local police force to urge them to make sure this never happens to another dog in a police station ever again.

Mr Peters expressed the view that the dog in question may well have been an ex-racer, and claimed:

‘Even if this poor greyhound had not died so horrifically at the police station, the likelihood is that it would eventually have been put to death anyway, in a situation where thousands of ‘unwanted’ dogs are ‘put down’ by local authorities every year, because no homes are available for them.

‘The way to make sure that no more greyhounds meet an untimely death, whether in police stations or elsewhere, is for the public to boycott greyhound racing - don't go to it or bet on it - so that this appalling industry fades away through lack of financial support.’

His views were echoed by Helen Stevens of South Devon Greyhound Action who added: ‘We are appalled at this state of neglect. The Police are an authority that is meant to protect people and animals and this situation of a poor greyhound dying in a police kennels is immensely cruel.

We cannot imagine the discomfort this poor greyhound must have suffered and the person responsible should be held accountable for neglect of their duties.’