Last year in April 2012, a walker was exploring the woods near an abandoned quarry located approximately 40 kilometres outside of Limerick city when, alerted by her own dogs, she came upon a horrifying discovery—an open and shallow mass grave of dead greyhounds most of which appeared to be shot in the head It is assumed that these were failed racing greyhounds (identified by having tattoos in their ears) and that they were disposed of when they were no longer fast enough to race. Some were estimated to be between just 2-3 years of age.
Marion Fitzgibbon, a spokesperson for GRAI and founder of Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) recounts that her organization was immediately notified of this grim discovery and they swiftly contacted the local Guards. However, the police were slow to act and only became involved when the press and various media outlets began to take interest in the story. Limerick Animal Welfare notified the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) of this discovery, who then sent a Stipendiary Steward to visit the site. Luckily, all registered racing greyhounds in Ireland have identifying tattoos in their ears which link them to their owners. Due to the fact that bodies found at the site were in various stages of decomposition, there were still some legible tattoos on a number of the dogs, which Limerick Animal Welfare were able to record when they first went to the site. In total, these tattoos were linked back to three different individuals. If proven guilty of disposing of the greyhounds in this way, then it is possible these individuals could be prosecuted under the new greyhound welfare legislation as well as other existing laws.
However, movement towards justice for the quarry greyhounds has been slow, despite the fact that new greyhound welfare legislation was introduced in Ireland in 2011 to protect racing greyhounds. Yes, the owners of the dogs found in the quarry are facing legal action, but because the wheels of justice in Ireland always turn rather slowly, it has taken nearly a year for the trial to come to court.
We have recently been in contact with reliable sources and have been informed that this case will be heard in County Limerick and Dublin on April 24th and 25th. This is the first case where the Greyhound Welfare Act is likely to be applied and the persons responsible made to face the consequences of their actions, only then will justice for the Limerick quarry greyhounds (and all greyhounds that have faced the same fate) no longer remain to be seen.
Written by Andrea Lynch, PR Officer for GRAI, Email firstname.lastname@example.org