Kennel Hand Speaks Out as the ‘Greyhound’s Voice’: A kennel hand has spoken out in sheer frustration and has published his video diaries and photographs, cataloguing the appalling level of greyhound welfare deemed acceptable by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.
The trainer’s refusal to accept his offers of help and the indifference shown to a series of complaints he made to officials regarding breaches of Racing Rules, eventually broke his silence.
Neil Haine, 40 from North Dorset, contacted Greyt Exploitations – a greyhound protection group – after the complaints he lodged with his Area Steward, Colin Betteridge, regarding greyhounds being kennelled in their own
excrement and urine soaked beds for three days at a time, without fresh water or any form of exercise – were ignored.
Eve Blanchard, a professional trainer attached to Poole stadium, employed Mr Haine from November 2008 until his departure on May 26th, where he felt he could no longer endure the conditions suffered by the 36 greyhounds at the
Mr Haine said “I asked Colin Betteridge to come and witness the disgusting conditions of the kennels I faced every Tuesday morning but when he arrived with a GBGB official, Noel Thompson, it was after 1pm. Colin was fully
aware I finished at 1pm and therefore knew the kennels would be clean by this time.
Regardless, I pleaded with Colin to do ’something’ but he insisted ‘kennels only need to be cleaned when deemed necessary’ – even if it meant breaking the rules”
“In an effort to try and help Mrs Blanchard reduce her kennel to a more manageable size, I spoke to a trainer Mrs Blanchard trusted, about her reluctance to re-home her retired dogs. Although it confirmed rumours, I was still shocked when the trainer told me ‘just give them sleeping tablets, 2 should do the job’ and then bury them
in her garden with the other 17 greyhounds”
Mr Haine continued “The more I tried to help, the more abusive and obstructive Mrs Blanchard became. She stopped me cleaning the kennels, voluntarily, from Saturday lunchtime until the following Tuesday morning and even stopped me from exercising the dogs, racing or retired. It was heartbreaking going into work on Tuesday mornings, seeing the filth the dogs had been locked up in all weekend. The squalor and the stench never failed to bring tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat”
“Mrs Blanchard refused to pay for the costly disposal of the old bedding and dog dirt, getting rid of it was becoming a problem and so the amount of waste had to be reduced. When I refused to just add a handful of clean bedding on top of the wet bedding, she then told me she wasn’t getting any more bedding and if I didn’t do as I was told, the dogs would have to sleep on bare boards. This was the final straw and with my wife’s support I knew we had to get help and quickly!”
In a heartfelt plea, Sue Haine concluded “You all need to stand united against this despicable treatment of these beautiful creatures. The GBGB are killing the sport by ignoring this terrible abuse. Please be a voice for the
Mrs Blanchard’s kennels were under the spotlight earlier this year when an undercover video of the kennels was posted on the internet and as a consequence the RSPCA were called in.
In January, Inspector Ken Snook, ordered a number of major structural improvements to be made. However, we spoke to Mr Snook on Monday last and he confirmed he had not been back to ensure those improvements had been carried out, preferring to phone the Greyhound Board of Great Britain and seek assurances from the very racing officials who had earlier dismissed the kennel hands concerns.
A spokesperson for Greyt Exploitations said “It is abundantly clear these greyhounds were needlessly suffering and the responsibility lay with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, in failing to enforce an Improvement Notice issued to Mrs Blanchard last November and have since consistently failed to secure the welfare needs of these innocent dogs.
The welfare of animals will always be compromised where there is a profit to be made and we are appealing to the public to refrain from supporting or betting on Greyhound Racing until such a time as the commercial element is removed”