Sunday, 10 November 2019

Seven pups of Christmas

On the 29th December 2017 seven greyhound pups were born
for use in the greyhound industry. Of those seven born and registered 
only five would be named.
Their mother was thrown away in time for Easter 2018.

With so many reasons shown from at least 1994 to 2019 to not spend your 'Christmas party night at the dogs' surely the horrific story of a greyhound called IMOKRYOU would be a fitting example.

After giving birth, over Christmas 2017, to seven more greyhounds for the industry to use, IMOKRYOU was dumped at a pound just in time for Easter 2018 - carrying her old bad wrist injury, underweight with sores and with instructions to be destroyed not homed.

Only five of her seven registered pups were named in the Irish Coursing Club(ICC)Greyhound Stud Book.

So what of her pups?

Of the five named, two are being used for racing in Ireland and the other three are being used in England.

Lightsaber Puma, recently highlighted on the IGB website for his performance but obviously not his breeding.
Seeyouindevys, owned by the trainer of Lightsaber Puma - both made to begin racing at just fourteen months old.
Norse Legend, Buffalo and Fit For Racing are being used in England.

Despite Fit For Racing being registered in the ICC Greyhound Stud Book, and being shown on the IGB website, as being owned by the breeders the 'Right And Proper Syndicate', Fit For Racing is shown to be owned in England by different owners - this is a breach of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 Transfer of Ownership Regulations.

Sadly no information can be found IMOKRYOU's missing son and daughter - just another two greyhounds who vanished, like so many silent victims of the industry.

There is nothing right and proper about the treatment of IMOKRYOU but thankfully she was rescued from the pound and given the loving home all greyhounds deserve. 


IMOKRYOU was herself born in a litter of five pups by breeders happy to encourage their greyhounds to hunt at their kennels - despite going on the RTE Radio 1 Joe Duffy show to condemn such practices of live-baiting.

IGS was recently informed that her sister Tarsna Baby Jane was waiting to be adopted in England via the Perry Bar RGT after ending her last race lame in April.

Tarsna All Black continues to be used for racing in England, Tarsna Jo was due to be sold in England but carried on being used for racing in Ireland up to November 2018.

Another sister to IMOKRYOU - ALLWEHOPEDFOR - was trialled in Ireland then a month later on the same day IMOKRYOU had given birth to her seven pups, ALLWEHOPEDFOR was trialled again, in England but she was given no time result - IGS has found no further information on her.

It would be fair to ask why those involved in the breeding of IMOKRYOU 
show to have a high interest in breeding but only have a middle interest in adoption.
IGS can only hope that all of IMOKRYOU's surviving pups will
one day soon be rescued and adopted along with her siblings.

As the owner, ultimately responsible for all the above greyhounds(and for those never named/vanished),likes to boast that the mother of IMOKRYOU and her siblings - Tarsna Sal - is 'retired[from breeding at eight and a half years old]not rescued' please think
at least of this one story
 of greyhound pups born one Christmas and the treatment of their mother -
before you book your 'Christmas party night at the dogs'.

Update 11th Dec 2019

Two of IMOKRYOU's sons have been advertised for sale - Lightsaber Puma and Buffalo.
We can only hope they will not both be sold on to be abused as their mother was

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Patrick(just another victim)

Of course it is nothing new that those involved in the greyhound industry lie 
and/or give false information.
But while the public can easily just get used to it,
greyhounds continue to suffer.

Following the RTE investigation into the killings, over breeding and traceability of greyhounds in Ireland, the public reaction was justified - but greyhound breeder Sean Bourke wanted to reassure the public in his radio interview that all was well and above board in the industry. 
Sean Bourke stated that Irish greyhounds sent to the UK retire and stay there, going on to say 'when the dog is sent from Ireland to England, they're registered over there - that's their[GBGB's]problem'

Sean Bourke lied to the public.

Greyhound Bellside Bar - listed on the Irish Greyhound Board website shown to be used for racing in England and registered in the Irish Coursing Club Stud Book as being owned by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. 

Bellside Bar last raced on the 6th August 2016 in England and last trialled on 29th October 2016 in England. Yet just a few weeks later, on 9th December 2016, Bellside Bar was on a ferry from Ireland to Cherbourg to be driven on to Spain.

Two and a half years later in, June 2019, Bellside Bar would start his new life as Patrick - a new life where he could find safety and begin to recover from his journey of abuse.

Irish greyhound trainer, Tommy Bolton, another one of those respected trainers within the industry, has a favourite quote:
'A good dog is a dog who pays its way!' No doubt a quote he has handed down to his daughter, greyhound trainer/model Margaret Bolton - greyhound Maxhunter was certainly made to pay its way regularly and not given much time to recover from amputation. Tommy Bolton wanted to reassure that Maxhunter would be retired - Tommy Bolton lied.

Patrick, too, was made to pay his way. 

On the 9th December 2016 Patrick was seen on his journey to Spain by Galway SPCA representative on her way to Italy with greyhounds and lurchers being adopted. The concerns raised about Patrick and the other greyhounds he was travelling to Spain with were published on the 14th December 2016.

Despite being registered as owned by the GBGB, Patrick was sold to Spanish buyer Jurado Manuel by Tommy Bolton.

In June 2019 Patrick was handed in to Spanish rescue, Galgo Espanol Swiss    - stiff and lame with muscle damage, an ear infection, and his ID/passport paperwork showing the details of past owner, Tommy Bolton, and new owner Jurado Manuel.
The paperwork shows that on the 7th December 2016 Patrick was passed as fit for travel by vets in Mountmellick.
Patrick was not handed in by Jurado Manuel but by another new owner, who, at the same time, also handed in one of her galgos who was in a horrific condition.

Patrick has a long road to recovery, not just for the physical abuse but for the mental abuse he has suffered - Patrick is shut-down right now but he is in safe hands.
We can only hope that the greyhounds he travelled with to Spain will also find safe hands.

Questions should be asked of the irregularities shown between Patrick's
 stud book status and his passport/paperwork.
How can a greyhound registered as owned by the GBGB be sold
by an Irish trainer in Ireland?

The regulations in place, that are referred to time and time again
 by those in the industry to give the public assurances, are abused -
 just as the greyhounds, the regulations are meant to protect, are abused.

This is yet another truth, of many, that the public,
who pay for the survival of the industry, should know.
Just another truth mirrored twenty-five years ago.

UPDATE - 30th August.

Greyhound 'Juliet Capulet' is still registered as being owned by Tommy's wife/Margaret's mother  Sheila Bolton, despite Juliet Capulet being exported to be used in Spain.
In an interview in 2014 Tommy Bolton did say 'It is a family operation'.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Need to know

Following the brave RTÉ Investigates programme,
showing the shocking cruelty greyhounds endure in Ireland, 
public statements from The Bord na Gcon(IGB),
 Dept. Agriculture, Food and the Marine(DAFM),
and from the racing community were desperately issued  -
all claiming the abuse greyhounds endure is from the minority 
in the racing industry.

The years of failure to act on the years of greyhound abuse and highly questionable governance by the IGB and DAFM has been normal practice - and the racing community have been fully aware themselves of this but they are always quick to remove themselves of any responsibility and accuse exhausted rescues, and advocates of greyhounds, that any reports pointing to/raising concerns of greyhound abuse is just lies and non-factual.

The IGB issued a statement two days after the broadcast of the RTÉ investigation, outlining a range of measures had been 'immediately approved'.

DAFM issued a statement the day after the broadcast of the RTÉ investigation, stating how the IGB have enhanced powers to make[new]regulations under the recently passed Greyhound Racing Act 2019 - DAFM continued by stating that it[DAFM]'has a strong and consistent record regarding the enforcement of animal welfare rules', going on to list welfare cases not related to the racing industry.

A statement was made public by a member of the racing community claiming whilst the horrors shown in the RTÉ investigation it was a 'good example' of RTÉ being 'dishonest' - going on to give incorrect information to counter areas highlighted in the investigation.

A greyhound breeder also went on the defence on radio Tipp FM giving flustered, misleading greyhound figures, complaining of the length of time greyhounds have to wait to be rehomed by the IGB/IRGT causing 'what we saw the other night[Killings of greyhounds]' - whilst he breeds more greyhounds.

The need to know though:
  • The IGB want to introduce an injury support scheme - injuries of/to greyhounds have always been a concern but the IGB are guilty of claiming that injuries are 'quite rare in greyhound racing'. Concerns have long been raised of injured greyhounds being used in racing -  whilst owners/trainers have been fined for giving their greyhounds pain-relief medications under a doping hearing, there has been no evidence of this issue being dealt with under welfare issues. Further revelations of a report the IGB refused to give under the Freedom of Information were obtained by The Business Post of IGB's knowledge of injured greyhounds used in racing.

  • The IGB want to increase welfare inspections - despite the IGB welfare inspections having declined dramatically over the last three years(this has mirrored the dramatic decline in the number of samples taken for testing prohibited substances).

  • The IGB state they will provide a confidential freephone line so welfare breaches can be reported to the IGB for investigation - The IGB have failed/declined in the past to investigate notices of welfare breaches/issues reported to them, including welfare reports concerning the greyhounds kept by the 2014 IGB award winner Noel Mullins. A 2017 IGB statement stated 'Any member of the public can contact the IGB as all reports are fully investigated.' Going to show the new phone number and email address, introduced just after the recent shocking 2019 RTE Investigation, is more of a show in public-relations rather than sincerity for the greyhound.  

  • The IGB want to 'Progress the traceability provisions of the Greyhound Act 2019' - a long-standing issue largely ignored by the IGB.

  • DAFM and the IGB allowed the illegal breeding/registration/racing of greyhounds for nine years - this would have contributed to more greyhounds considered as wastage and dealt with as considered, as well as adding pressure to any numbers of greyhounds lucky enough to have found homes through the already many exhausted rescue centres.

  • The IGB kept from DAFM an important 2017 document which would have been of great value in the development of the recently passed Greyhound Racing Act 2019 - this document, also kept from the public, was finally released only because the IGB knew the makers of the RTÉ investigation had gained access to it.

  • The IGB announced to 'Financially incentivise the rehoming of greyhounds in Ireland through additional supports though the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust' - Financially the IGB-run IRGT has always been seriously poor despite calls for change in the organisation, along with concerns raised of a breach of the Charities Act 2009. False figures of IGB/IRGT homed greyhounds were given in the development of the Greyhound Racing Act 2019 by IGB Chairman, Frank Nyhan. An organisation happy for it's volunteers to go on radio and keep certain truths out of the interview.

  • Despite a previous recent shocking investigation by RTÉ, into the doping of greyhounds in 2017, the urine samples taken from greyhounds for testing have continued to decline  and IGB Veterinary Director, Denis Healy, said in an RTÉ Drivetime interview(Dec 2017) 'people are entitled to their views but the reality is we are facing this[doping]head on..' - even after the investigation the IGB relaxed rules on the drug pentobarbitone.

  • The issue of the doping of greyhounds continues - with a two-year-wait for any decision(s)on the three urine samples showing cocaine given by the Graham Holland trained Clonbrien Hero.

  • Concerns continue of the IGB's continued praise for trainers with a history in prohibited substances - where the IGB stated, just days after the RTÉ Running for their lives investigation it was 'a night for the Irish to celebrate' in reaction to the UK Greyhound Derby final on 29th June being won by a greyhound trained by Paul Hennessy - who has a guilty history in prohibited substances. Also in that Derby final was Graham Holland who, as highlighted above, still has three cases of cocaine samples to answer. 

The list could go on.

The IGB have shown many times over they have a 
dubious history - in greyhound welfare as well as in business practices.
DAFM have played their role in allowing this to happen - we have even seen time
 and time again DAFM Ministers smiling in photos with those involved
 in issues such as doping and live baiting -
as well as sharing a part ownership in a racing greyhound.

The racing community, despite their claims of it being the minority who abuse
greyhounds, are fully complicit simply by being involved in the demand for greyhounds.

We can show how for the last 25 years we seen nothing but failure for the gentle greyhound, 
despite all the debates, all the reviews, all the Acts/Legislation's,
all the investigations and reports.

Now, following the shocking truths shown in the
RTÉ Investigates programme, more people than ever before
will be demanding justice not for the trainers/breeders/owners/sellers
but for the greyhound - by the immediate phasing out of greyhound racing.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

25 years of the same debate

'We must restore the[greyhound]industry to its former glory'- 
Jackie Cahill TD(and director of Thurles greyhound track)
 Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 6 Feb 2019.
The 'former glory' of the greyhound industry must have
 been more than 25 years ago
as debates on greyhound welfare in 2019 mirror
 the debates on greyhound welfare in 1994.

February 1994 MP's in the UK Commons held a debate on 'the cruelty to greyhounds' - following the BBC's On The Line programme(about cruelty to greyhounds). The then MP, Colin Pickthall spoke, in the opening of the debate, 'The United Kingdom accounts for 80 per cent. of Irish exports, so conditions and attitudes in Ireland are of direct concern to the authorities and the Government in this country.' 

The debate highlighted the issues that greyhounds are forced to face - from exports to traceability, to blooding/live baiting to doping to running with injuries, etc. 

25 years later(and a few legislations later), in  Ireland, February 2019, we come to the Dáil Éireann debate on the Greyhound Racing Bill 2018(Second Stage) - the Greyhound Racing Bill 2018 to become the Greyhound Racing Act 2019.

The 2019 debate mirrors the issues, that greyhounds are forced to face, raised in the UK 25 years earlier, in 1994.

In 1994, the issue of live baiting/blooding was raised - Owen McKenna being the star of this subject who was convicted of blooding his greyhounds with live rabbits. Owen later was allowed to continue training greyhounds in Ireland, gaining praise in 2018 despite losing his appeal in 2017 against a €1000 fine for the doping of three of his greyhounds in 2015(a fine which he later took to the High Court and lost). Blooding greyhounds was also raised in the 2019 debate where Maureen O'Sullivan TD spoke of the knowledge that 'the blooding of greyhounds, which goes on and is ignored'.

Perhaps O'Sullivan was referring to advert of  Kieran Purcell's Greyhound Kennels who advertises to 'look after your' greyhounds as well as 'hunt' them. Or maybe O'Sullivan was referring to the advert of Tarsna Kennels - of Yvonne Harrington, who boasts of her dog Bobby who flushes out plenty of 'rabbits for the[greyhound]pups to chase'.

As in 1994, where the subject of exports - especially to Spain - were debated, the subject continued to be highlighted in the 2019 debate - especially to China and Pakistan, countries with no, or little welfare laws.
Outside the debate, within the greyhound racing community, greyhound breeder/greyhound stadium architect, Seamus McCloskey gave his praise and support to a new initiative which will lead to an expansion of greyhound racing in China. Seamus McCloskey already has a history of exported greyhounds - one of his ended up as a stray in Spain, and another ended up in Pakistan.

It's interesting to read in the 1994 debate how the then UK's greyhound racing regulatory body - the National Greyhound Racing Club(NGRC)had rules against selling greyhounds to Spain(the NGRC eventually replaced by/becoming the Greyhound Board of Great Britain). In the 2019 debate such prohibitions of selling greyhounds to such countries would not be enshrined into the Greyhound Racing Act 2019.

The 1994 debate further highlights:

  • the issue of greyhounds being used for racing while injured - an issue continuing to be raised into 2019 with repeated positive urine samples from greyhounds showing the use of pain relief medications
  • the issue of greyhounds having been dumped in the River Foyle - an issue continuing into, at least, 2015
  • the issue of greyhounds being used for vivisection - an issue the University College Dublin reported they had stopped after buying 33 greyhounds in 2013 for experiments.
  • the issue of greyhound homing was raised - an issue continuing into 2019 and seemingly an issue used more for PR for the industry rather than sincerity for the greyhound - especially when the IGB Chairman Frank Nyhan gave false figures on the IGB/IRGT homing at a Committee debate(for the Greyhound Racing Act 2019), and especially when IRGT volunteers breed more greyhounds.
  • the issue of traceability - an issue raised in the 2019 debate and continuing. An issue highlighted in a confidential 2017 report for the IGB, which was kept from the public, detailing the culling of thousands of greyhounds - even kept from the Dept. Agriculture, Food and the Marine until May 2019, despite the many debates between the IGB and DAFM for the new Greyhound Racing Act 2019.

In the 25 years of those mirrored 1994/2019 parliamentary debates there have been various legislations passed, most notably the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 - which Bord na gCon Brian Purcell described as 'probably the strongest piece of legislation for any animal in the world'. Such strong legislation that saw John Corkery only fined €800 after he had his greyhounds shot and dumped at a quarry in Co. Limerick back in 2012. The fine being for forgery and failures of transfer of ownership notification. Despite never giving the identity of the person(s) he gave his greyhounds to to be shot, the Bord na gCon praised it a successful prosecution and in 2016 licensed John Corkery to race greyhounds in Ireland again where he has continued to do so up to May of 2019(at the time of writing).

Will the Greyhound Racing Act 2019 resolve all the continued issues concerning the well-being of greyhounds and actually give greyhounds well-being(?).

If the lack of willingness to invoke/use/put into practice/enforce/etc the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011, which we have seen over, and over, and over, again is anything to go by, then we should only expect to hear more parliamentary debates of greyhound cruelty to continue in the future.

The public cannot be fooled into thinking that the Bord na gCon(Irish Greyhound Board)changing it's name to Rásaíocht Con Éireann(Greyhound Racing Ireland)will be yet another new page
 when integrity and transparency have only ever been 
words spoken by the industry, and not words put into practice.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Adopted For Breeding

Imagine a trusted dog rescue - taking donations from the public - was
homing dogs and at the same time it's volunteers were breeding more dogs.
The outcry would be justified.

Any greyhound being adopted is of course a wonderful thing. Any promotion in the media of how greyhounds make amazing companion animals is also a wonderful thing. However, IGS feels that it is important that such promotion should include details of the overwhelming numbers of greyhounds being bred compared to the numbers being homed, to show the scale of the problem.
This is why IGS emailed the RTÉ Radio 1 Ryan Tubridy Show about the Catriona Ní Duill interview on the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust and greyhound adoption.
We supplied the radio show with recent breeding figures - as given/recorded by the Irish Coursing Club registrations. We also invited the show to look into the IRGT finances and homing figures compared to the UK's RGT, and to look at how despite taking public donations the IRGT uses it's status to not have to be accountable to the public on how their donations are used.

IGS received no reply of interest to our informative email.

Catriona Ní Duill appeared on the radio show on Monday 22nd April 2019. The show, called 'Billy The Greyhound' , gave a great insight to listeners on the wonderful attributes greyhounds have, and how they make wonderful pets.
Catriona spoke of the work of the IRGT and her work for/with the IRGT.
She spoke delightfully about her greyhound Billy.
How Billy was "available for adoption" in 2015.
How Billy has saved nine(dog)lives after becoming a blood donor.
How Billy featured in an IRGT promotional video on the Irish Greyhound Board YouTube channel.

What Catriona did not talk about, though, was how she and her son have used Billy(who was used for racing under the name of Tynwald Bish)for breeding since she 'adopted' him.

Twenty two pups registered in the ICC greyhound stud book, while eighteen of those pups are recorded on the Irish Greyhound Board website - from Tynwald Bish aka Billy.

This is certainly rare, as the normal procedure of adoption would be
 that the greyhounds are neutered. 

Billy was advertised as recently as April 14th 2019, along with another greyhound, Tommy Brislane(from Australia), as stud dogs at Catriona's kennels - just eight days before Catriona's radio interview on adoption.
Three days before the interview, on the 19th April 2019, an advert was placed for greyhound pups for sale from greyhound Kuma Bubbles, 'marked up and ready to go' - Catriona being the contact seller.

In the radio interview Catriona quickly dismissed the question on breeding by replying how greyhound breeding has fallen - whilst this is true it is a shame the interviewer didn't press with the question using the still-shocking breeding figures supplied to her.

Catriona and Billy also appeared in the Westmeath Examiner in November 2018 to promote the IRGT.

It is no big news that there are those who give their time to the
 Irish Retired Greyhound Trust who are
 also involved in breeding more greyhounds.
How they fail to see their contribution to the overwhelming numbers of greyhounds needing homes, and adding to the overwhelming and tireless work
 of many dog rescues in Ireland, is quite offensive. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

IRGT/IGB Legislation Breach

Following the recent IGS article on the
  our research into the IRGT(registered as a Private Charitable Trust)2017
accounts threw up yet another contradiction
 - and a breach of the Charities Act 2009.

After the IGS publication of the IRGT Annual Reports - published by the Charities Regulator - and after the Charities Regulator renewed its website, the IRGT Annual Reports are now no longer made available to the public. The CR's Board Na gCon Retired Greyhound Trust page states that private charitable trust documents are not published.
IGS wrote to the CR to ask why this is now the case. They informed us, in their reply, that under section 54 of the Charities Act 2009 private charitable trusts are exempt from making their accounts available to the public.

 Under this Act a “private charitable trust”
 means a charitable trust that is not funded by donations from the public.

It seems that the IRGT - operated and supported by the IGB - does indeed accept donations from the public and therefore the non-publication of its Annual Reports must be a breach of section 54 of the Charities Act 2009.

Of course, this is not the first time the IGB have been involved in breaches of Legislation:

Despite such breaches of Legislation, and many other ongoing issues of serious concern,
 the Government hand-outs for the greyhound industry 
continue to rise obscenely - €16.8m for 2109.

Taking the total Government subsidies to the industry to €132,400,000
(€132 M, 400 Thousand) 
for the years 2010 to 2019
Plus an extra €23m from the Government in their purchase of the Harrolds Cross track - to help the IGB wipe their debt of €23m.

UPDATE June 2019

Since IGS researched and published concerns of the IGB/IRGT being in breach of the Charities Act 2009(for taking public donations while being registered as a Private Charitable Trust - not having to disclose to the public it's financial documents)in Oct 2018, the IGB/IRGT websites have now removed any references to asking the public for donations.
Although there is still one site running and taking donations for the IGB-run IRGT - even giving information about how it funds a rescue despite that rescue no longer running, and IGB Welfare Manager/IRGT Secretary recently ran a fundraiser asking the public to donate.

UPDATE 30th July 2019

The IRGT have now changed their charitable status from Private Charitable Trust to Trust.
This means they can now legally accept public donations and are now responsible for publishing their
financial accounts - through the Charities Regulator website.
It remains to be seen if any action will be taken by the Charities Regulator against the IGB/IRGT for
their previous breach of the Charities Act 2009.

Sunday, 23 September 2018


The less you look for bad news, the less bad news you will 
have to publish(or worry about having to publish).

Following on from our 2014 article on Doping , and our 2015 article Doping Continued , IGS thought it was time to have a brief look at this continued issue again.

The headline of the recent Irish Times article on Irish greyhound doping, 'Perception that trainers use drugs on dogs ruins industry image', shows exactly how important PR is for the Irish Greyhound Board.

Just as we have seen with misleading injury data from the IGB, and misleading IGB/Irish Retired Greyhound Trust adoption figures - given by the IGB new Chairman, Frank Nyhan, in a statement to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine in 2017 - figures given for anti-doping are also used to mislead the public that the IGB are taking doping seriously.

Despite the IGB, in 2017 taking delivery of a €400k 'state of the art analytical system that allows for the detection of substances..'  the six months samples figure for 2018 falls short of the samples taken for the six months of 2014.

  • 2014 - January to June 2,822  
  • 2018 - January to June 2,665
Indeed the decline in the taking of greyhound urine samples for dope testing, has declined each year since 2013:

  • 2013 - 7,307
  • 2015 - 5,632
  • 2016 - 5,387
  • 2017 - 5,294

On announcing the new testing equipment last year, the IGB stated: 'The Irish Greyhound Board’s programme to enhance integrity in the sport has been significantly strengthened through a major upgrading of its laboratory testing infrastructure.'

If the IGB have a 'programme to enhance integrity' in greyhound racing,
 then why is their new 'state of the art' testing equipment not used more - 
to take full advantage of it's capabilities?

Could it be that the new testing equipment will overheat if used to much?

Or, could it be that if more urine samples are taken, then more urine samples will show positives for prohibited substances? 

After all, the 'perception that trainers use drugs on dogs ruins industry image'