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Charities’ campaign to stop extension of Wales’ only Greyhound racing stadium

19 Oct 2022 4 minute read
Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales have started a petition against the Valley Greyhounds development. Pictures: Hope Rescue.

Rhiannon James, Local Democracy Reporter

Two dog rescue charities have launched a campaign to prevent further development of Wales’ only Greyhound racing stadium.

Valley Greyhounds, based in Ystrad Mynach, has submitted a planning application to Caerphilly County Borough Council to extend its facilities as part of its aim to obtain a professional racing licence.

Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales have started a petition against the development as “an urgent plea to the public to take action and protect hundreds of greyhounds from needless, preventable injuries and death”. 

The petition currently has more than 2,500 signatures.

The proposals for the stadium include an additional bar area, a function room, a new judge’s box, and a vets surgery. The materials used will be cladding and UPVC, in-keeping with the current development.

Today is the last day to comment on the application, as the consultation period concludes on Thursday, October 20. 

But, a site notice, erected by the council on October 19, states that written submissions can be made within three weeks of the notice.

According to Valley Greyhounds’ website, work on the stadium has already begun – this is despite the fact planning permission is yet to be granted.

Valley Greyhounds hopes to become licenced by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) by January 2024.

Charities’ concerns

The dog rescue charities have concerns that this will “intensify” the greyhound racing taking place in Ystrad Mynach.

Founder and Senior Head of Operations for Hope Rescue, Vanessa Waddon, said: “The intensification of racing at Valley track will lead to far more deaths and injuries for greyhounds right here in Wales.

“We have first-hand knowledge of the pain and suffering greyhound racing causes, having previously taken in surplus and injured greyhounds from the Valley track. Sadly, some of those dogs didn’t survive their catastrophic injuries.

“There are no benefits, economic, cultural or otherwise that can justify even more deaths and injuries – these beautiful and innocent dogs should not be regarded as collateral damage.

“Dog lovers in Wales will be horrified by these plans, and we hope Caerphilly County Borough Council will show their residents and the general public in Wales that they also care about animal welfare and make the right decision.”

The application submitted to the council was attributed to Clubhouse And Grandstand Tredomen Athletic Football Club on the planning portal, not the address of the Valley Greyhound stadium.

Ms Waddon said this affected their ability to object to the application.

She added: “It didn’t come in in the automatic notification that we had requested from the planning portal, nor would it come up for anyone searching on the postcode or Valley or Greyhound key words.

“We – Greyhound Rescue Wales and Hope Rescue – therefore haven’t had sufficient time to obtain advice from our planning consultants in terms of planning objections, nor obtain views from our supporters in terms of wider welfare concerns.”

A different petition by Hope Rescue calling for Greyhound racing to be banned in Wales got more than 35,000 signatures and is expected to be debated in Senedd.

The charity stated: “Greyhound racing is inherently cruel and greyhounds have little legal protection. It is already banned in 41 US states.”

CEO of Greyhound Rescue Wales, Tim Doyle, said: “Animal rescue charities are under extreme pressure following a perfect storm of the impacts of Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis on animal ownership. Greyhound Rescue Wales is seeing unprecedented demand to take in unwanted racing greyhounds, whether this be unwanted/unraceable puppies or dogs reaching the end of a racing career.

“It is important to recognise that a greyhound track does not exist in a vacuum. It is part of a wider industry, the negative impacts of which extend across the UK and Ireland. The breeding and supply sector alone results in thousands of unnecessary euthanisations of dogs every year simply because they are ‘surplus to requirements’ or not suited to racing.

“An intensification of racing at Valley Greyhound Stadium would position Caerphilly as a new centre of gravity in this kill-chain and I ask Caerphilly County Borough Council to seriously consider if that is something they are comfortable with before proceeding any further.”

A decision on the planning application is expected to be delegated to council planning officers and made by November 16.

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