A haven for the ‘dumped’ track heroes

A greyhound exercising through play at the centre
A greyhound exercising through play at the centre

TWO lurchers had to be rescued after being dumped out of a white Transit van and left to fend for themselves in Todmorden.

This particular incident happened last autumn, but sadly it’s an all too familiar story and the reason why Debra Rothery and her husband Bob Lowrie set up Tia Greyhound & Lurcher Rescue nearly fourteen years ago.

The charity now has a rescue centre at Moorside Farm, Cragg Vale, which homes around 100 dogs, and five charity shops, with branches in Hebden Bridge, Halifax, Skipton, Meltham and Pickering.

Debra said: “I used to be a bobby and I was stabbed when I was working in Halifax. I was off for a while and one day I started talking to an Irish guy who had greyhounds and I found out what happens to them when they no longer race. They’d get seven days to be re-homed and then they’d be put down,” she said.

Debra explained that this applied to all stray dogs that end up in council pounds - and the pounds do their best to rehome the dogs or get them in to a rescue. Most greyhounds just disappear one way or another, she said.

“I then left the police and set up Tia and we’ve gone from there really.

“The situation has got slightly better now but not by much.”

Debra believes that the racing industry is in denial about the role it plays in the mistreatment of greyhounds and decided to set up a list of all the dogs she has come into contact with on the charity’s website to act as a wake up call and show the real state of affairs. The list includes information about the dogs, where they came from, on what date, the condition they were in, which track they came from, whether they were strays and more.

Debra said: “The wall of shame contains details of 881 dogs. It’s a controversial thing. I set it up to name and shame the racing industry. They were saying there was no problem and I knew there was.”

The charity, which has annual vet bills of around £50,000, receives no funding from the government, the greyhound industry, or the National Lottery and relies solely on donations and the money raised from its shops.

Debra added: “There are many ways to help. We don’t have many foster carers because they’re mainly people who look after the ones that need special care.

“But people can adopt or sponsor a dog. We also need dog walkers and volunteers in our charity shops.”

The centre also has a ‘brick in our wall scheme’ to help pay off its £200,000 mortgage. It costs £10 to do and has so far raised £20,000.

For more information contact Debra on 07974 960684, email debra.rothery@btinternet.com, or visit www.tiagreyhounds.org.uk

l CAN more be done to protect dogs which have been used by the racing industry when their track careers are over? Email your comments to hbtimes@hebdenbridgetimes.co.uk or todnews@todmordennews.co.uk