Henlow greyhound track boss pledges to rehome all retired dogs

Two retired greyhounds brought along to the pro-racing demonstration at Henlow Stadium last week. Pi

Two retired greyhounds brought along to the pro-racing demonstration at Henlow Stadium last week. Picture: Callum Franks

The operator of Henlow’s greyhounds track has pledged to rehome all its ex-racing dogs.

Henlow Stadium promoter Kevin Boothby. Picture: Harry Hubbard

Henlow Stadium promoter Kevin Boothby. Picture: Harry Hubbard - Credit: Archant

Promoter Kevin Boothby told industry paper the Greyhound Star he had reached an agreement with rescue kennel owner Johanna Beumer to exclusively rehome Henlow racing dogs.

“Traditionally, we have never had a major homefinding issue here because so many of our runners are owner-trained, but the extra fixtures mean we have to plan for the future,” he said.

“I have a kennel in Lincolnshire which I will turn into a rehoming centre if we need to find more places – but whichever way we do it, these dogs will all be rehomed. Welfare is a massive priority at Henlow.”

Mr Boothby added that the Henlow team planned to support Ms Beumer through fundraising.

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Ms Beumer, 74, was awarded an MBE in 2007 after decades of work retraining and rehoming ex-racing greyhounds. Speaking at the time of the award, she said: “The dogs are my family.”

Henlow is the fourth of the UK’s 23 licensed tracks to pledge to rehome all ex-racing dogs.

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Racing fan Viv Clements, who has two retired racing hounds as pets, told the Comet dogs raced at Henlow had always been rehomed after retiring, but that this pledge gave it “an official footing”.

Mr Boothby’s announcement comes after campaigners for and against dog racing faced off outside the Henlow track.

Trudy Baker from anti-racing campaign Greyt Exploitations – which claims the greyhound industry is inherently cruel – said Henlow’s pledge was worthless unless rehomed dogs were named.

She added that there was no commitment to treating injured dogs that could be put down for financial reasons – with owners reporting euthanasia of a dog to the Greyhound Board of Great Britain given the option of saying an injury was “not treated on economic grounds”.

Rita James of Caged Nationwide, another group opposed to dog racing, cited the number of greyhounds and said any claim to rehome all track dogs was “simply unrealistic”.

The GBGB has vigorously denied claims that many dogs no longer able to race, for example because of injury, are put down.

According to Racecourse Promoters Association data published by the government in 2016, 1,295 dogs at 22 tracks were euthanised between 2012 and 2014 – about 0.13 per cent of all raced dogs at those tracks during that period.

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