Romford Greyhound Stadium fights back over ‘worst injury record’ figures

Romford Greyhound Stadium

Romford Greyhound Stadium - Credit: EMPICS Sport

The manager of Romford Greyhound Stadium has defended the track over claims it has the worst dog injury record in the country.

Two dogs were injured and then put down earlier this month

Two dogs were injured and then put down earlier this month - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Two dogs, both two-years-old, were given lethal injections after breaking legs during the Essex Vase final earlier this month.

Afterwards, national anti-greyhound betting group Greyt Exploitations said Romford was the “worst offender” for track injuries, a claim that was firmly denied by stadium manager David McDonald.

The campaigners’ statistics showed in the first five months of the year, 221 dogs were involved in track injuries or incidents at Romford where they either did not finish, finished a distance behind the winning pack, or finished lame.

These findings, which showed 86 of the dogs had not raced again as of October 1, were compiled for every track in the country.

Newcastle was second worst, with 59 of 140 dogs injured not racing again as of the same date.

But Mr Mcdonald said Romford was simply “more diligent” at recording information than others, and is regarded as the “most professional track in the country”.

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“The welfare of greyhounds is of premium importance. We take all measures to ensure safe track conditions at all times.

“Unfortunately on very rare occasions there will be accidents in a race which result in fatal injury to a greyhound. Such instances are extremely unfortunate.”

This week, Romford MP Andrew Rosindell and the Greyhound Trainers Association (GTA) spoke in Parliament about the need for better standards of welfare.

The pro-racing Tory, who is chairman of the Parliamentary greyhound board, said: “I’m not in favour of dogs being cruelly treated or neglected and there needs to be severe action in those cases.

“We need rules in place and to make sure tracks and trainers are ensuring they are upheld.”

Ricky Holloway, chairman of the Greyhound Trainers Association, came out in support of the Romford track but called on the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) to release injury statistics.

“With any speed sport there are elements of risk,” he said. “Romford is normally a safe track. The stadium is managed brilliantly and the running surface is fantastic. But we [the sport] are a closed book and we shouldn’t be.”

The GBGB said it shared information with animal welfare groups and were in talks with the GTA about attending meetings.

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