Fines is­sued over grey­hound wel­fare dou­ble

Irish Examiner - - News - Eoin English

The num­ber of fines is­sued for breaches of grey­hound wel­fare leg­is­la­tion has more than dou­bled in a year.

A to­tal of 43 fines just top­ping €10,000 were is­sued in 2017, com­pared to 20 fines in 2016, Ir­ish Grey­hound Board (IGB) fig­ures show. The in­crease in fines last year oc­curred de­spite a slight drop in the in­spec­tion rate.

The Wel­fare of Grey­hounds Act 2011 sets wel­fare stan­dards and re­quires own­ers to no­tify the Ir­ish Cours­ing Club where the sale, trans­fer or death of a grey­hound oc­curs.

The leg­is­la­tion gives wel­fare of­fi­cers with the IGB, the semi-state body re­spon­si­ble for the reg­u­la­tion of grey­hound rac­ing, the le­gal au­thor­ity to in­spect ken­nels, seize ev­i­dence, is­sue fines, and ini­ti­ate pros­e­cu­tions. It also pro­vides for max­i­mum court penal­ties up to and in­clud­ing a class ‘A’ fine of €5,000, or im­pris­on­ment for a term not ex­ceed­ing six months, or both.

IGB wel­fare of­fi­cers com­pleted 571 in­spec­tions in 2016 which led to the is­su­ing of 20 fines to­talling €5,000. How­ever, de­spite car­ry­ing out 477 in­spec­tions last year, the wel­fare of­fi­cers is­sued 43 €250 fines to own­ers who had failed to no­tify the au­thor­i­ties of where a sale or death of a grey hound had oc­curred. The value of fines was €10,750. Three dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion or­ders were also is­sued for wel­fare or dop­ing of­fences, dis­qual­i­fy­ing these in­di­vid­u­als from own­ing, train­ing or man­ag­ing a rac­ing grey­hound.

A case taken by the IGB be­fore New­cas­tle West District Court last month re­sulted in fines of €1,250 be­ing is­sued to an owner who had failed to pay three fixed pay­ment no­tices. Two wel­fare no­tices were also served last year which re­quire an owner to im­prove the wel­fare stan­dards of their an­i­mals to avoid pos­si­ble pros­e­cu­tion.

In June 2015, Ne­nagh District Court im­posed fines of €2,500 and costs of €1,500 in a case taken by the I GB against an owner who failed to com­ply with a wel­fare no­tice. That in­di­vid­ual was sub­se­quently banned from the in­dus­try by the IGB.

I GB wel­fare man­ager Barry Cole­man said: “We be­lieve re­spon­si­ble own­er­ship is es­sen­tial. Only a small num­ber of own­ers re­ceive sanc­tions. Of 477 in­spec­tions last year, there were only two where a wel­fare no­tice was re­quired.”

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