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Romford greyhound re-homing volunteer urges protestors to visit kennels amid claims of cruelty

PUBLISHED: 16:07 06 September 2016

Julie has been re-homing retired greyhounds for 15 years.

Julie has been re-homing retired greyhounds for 15 years.

Ryan Tute

A greyhound re-homing volunteer has urged protestors to see the work they do after claims dogs are treated badly in kennels.

The home was set up specifically for dogs that have raced at Romford Greyhound Stadium. The home was set up specifically for dogs that have raced at Romford Greyhound Stadium.

Julie Coney, who set up the Romford Greyhound Owners Association (RGOA) kennels in Brentwood, Essex, invited the Recorder to the kennels to see the work they do for retired greyhounds.

The RGOA, which was formed back in 1977, helps assist homing retired racing greyhounds at the end of their career at Romford Greyhound Stadium.

The kennels have already help home about 40 dogs this year but it’s thought as soon as you home one greyhound, there is another two awaiting the space.

Running costs for the Brentwood site rise to about £1,000 a week with up to 50 dogs residing there at a time.

Greyhounds relaxing inside the Brentwood centre. Greyhounds relaxing inside the Brentwood centre.

Volunteers at the kennels work long hours to ensure the dogs’ needs are catered for and she believes protestors claims dogs are treated badly within the racing industry are misguided and unfounded.

“I believe the people who protest and claim the dogs are treated badly have a misconception about the industry,” Julie said.

“They say that dogs go missing once they stop racing but this is simply not the case, they are just sat on the trainer’s sofa waiting for a space in a re-homing centre.

“All greyhounds are microchipped so it’s nonsense to suggest they are just let off the lead and free to runaway.”

Mrs Coney has been re-homing greyhounds for 15 years, but has been in Brentwood for the past three years.

The kennels receive £13,000 from Coral bookmakers but still rely on charitable donations throughout the year to survive.

In November 2005, Coral Romford Greyhound Stadium made membership mandatory for all greyhound owners - a procedure which tried to provide further guarantees on the safe re-homing process as dogs could be tracked easier.

Despite procedures like this being put in place by the RGOA, protestors continue to gather outside the stadium and voice their concerns.

Last month the group known as the Essex Defenders took to London Road, Romford, armed with anti-greyhound racing leaflets and made their feelings clear on the sport which they claim is “outdated”.

Mrs Coney says she would happily welcome protestors to the kennels and appreciate the opportunity to show people the work they do.

She said: “Dogs are really well looked after by their trainers and kennel owners.

“They are walked four or five times a day and get all the exercise they need.

“People like us get into the business because they love greyhounds.

“Trainers are up at 6am and will still walk their dogs after a race at midnight, it’s a long day for anyone and something you would not do if you didn’t love the animal.”

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