LEADING dog rescue charities have renewed calls for greyhound racing to be stopped after recent research shows that more than 200 dogs died and more than 4,000 were injured in greyhound racing over the last year.

The statistics, which were released by GBGB the organisation responsible for licencing greyhound tracks in the UK, showed that 244 dogs died or were put to sleep due to their participation in greyhound racing over the last year, and there were 4,354 injuries.

More than 2,000 dogs have died or been put to sleep due to greyhound racing participation in the last four years.

The dog rescue charities – Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Blue Cross, Hope Recue and Amman Valley’s Greyhound Rescue Wales – believe the number of dogs that are injured, put to sleep or killed is likely to be higher as there are two greyhound tracks in the UK which are not licenced under GBGB and means they are not required to publish their death and injury data.

Owen Sharp, chief executive at Dogs Trust, said: “The release of these new stats highlights further why greyhound racing must come to an end in the UK as quickly as possible. It is unacceptable that so many greyhounds were put to sleep over the last 12 months, and many more injured, all in the name of entertainment.

“While GBGB will argue that the number of deaths and injuries has been reduced, it is not enough; one death or serious injury is one too many. For those lucky enough not to lose their lives through racing, many instead face being housed in poor conditions, with little or no enrichment.

“Greyhound racing must come to an end as quickly as possible to stop these completely avoidable deaths and serious injuries. We remain committed to protecting the welfare of these dogs until this happens.”

The figures come less than a year after Dogs Trust, RSPCA and Blue Cross made a joint call to end greyhound racing to stop the ‘unnecessary and completely preventable deaths of greyhounds.’ These calls echoed ones made by Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales.

The five organisations have worked together over the last few years as the Cut the Chase Coalition, working alongside the greyhound racing industry to try to improve conditions for the dogs involved and while there have been some improvements, there are still a number of welfare issues which have not been resolved.

The coalition believes greyhound racing is dangerous to dogs as running at speed around oval tracks causes significant injury, which can be so severe that the dog has to be put down. They also found that some dogs are kept in poor, barren conditions and fed a poor diet.