The extraordinary tale of ‘Henry’ the three-legged greyhound has taken a new twist with the news that the dog may feature as part of a court case being actioned by Kinsley promoter John Curran – writes Floyd Amphlett.
The tripedal black greyhound’s picture appears widely on the websites and placards of anti greyhound racing supporters, most notably, as far as Curran is concerned, on the ‘Shut Down Kinsley Greyhound Stadium’ Facebook page.
He said: “We are well advanced in the process. I cannot reveal more detail at present though the full story will emerge in due course. I can say that although I allowed protestors to stand outside the stadium, I took issue with two things that they did. In the first instance the placard that stated greyhounds were ‘murdered’ in the stadium.
“Apart from anything else, it is impossible in law. Only a human being can be murdered. However it implies intent to unlawfully kill and that is against the law. Those placards have now gone. Secondly, I objected to the three legged greyhound being paraded for propaganda purposes with the clear aim of misleading patrons, when backed up by the other placards, which clearly intimate that this greyhound had lost his leg as a result of an injury sustained at Kinsley.
“It was only later that I found out the full story. Henry, had never been inside a greyhound track in his life. He was injured when playing with his littermates at a few months old. The decision was seemingly taken, given the seriousness of the injury, that the pup should be put to sleep.
“It then emerges that a well known rescue kennel, who home many ex-racers, reached an agreement to pay for the dog to be treated, and eventually Henry ended up with his current owner who lives around four miles from the stadium. I have seen the dog at the track where he looked completely miserable and in the back garden of his owner, and contrary to the picture, he looks a very happy greyhound.
“As far as the legal action is concerned, I believe the perception about Henry was deliberately misleading with intent to deceive, and I can prove that my business, which is family owned, has been damaged by that misrepresentation. You can possibly work out the rest yourself. There are many anti groups continuing to fraudulently use Henry’s picture to feed their red ‘donate’ buttons. And they try to claim that we exploit greyhounds!”
It is certainly ironic, that there was no need to parade a non-racer, when there are dozens of tripeds living as pets throughout Britain.
The subject sharply divides opinion among greyhound supporters. Although rare, a snapped front leg is one of the most serious injuries that can be sustained. For some, leg amputation is abhorrent and euthanasia is preferable on humane grounds.
However, in a series of articles formerly printed in the Greyhound Star newspaper, the former, highly respected, RGT head coordinator Amanda Ainsworth disagreed. Although accepting that the initial operation was painful and traumatic, she believed most patients made huge progress from as little as 24 hours after surgery. The dogs then lived full normal lives and tripeds were actually in great demand as pets.
The late veterinarian Paddy Sweeney would often amputate to save a life and would gleefully recall visiting former patients who thought nothing of clearing a five-bar gate.
According to Curran, Henry has now been ‘retired’ after his story broke on social media with his owner herself being accused of exploitation.
He said: “The poor bloody dog would be stood outside the stadium in the winter for a couple of hours. Although they had a coat on him, he used to keep laying down on a blanket. He obviously wasn’t comfortable.’
Clare Hadden, a pro-greyhound racing supporter who owns a three-legged greyhound and belongs to a social media group where all members have dogs with similar disabilities, said: “You can quote me on this. These dogs have a wonderful life running free. What they hate, above anything is just standing around. It brings them great discomfort. If you watch them, if they are forced to stand for any amount of time, they can’t wait to lay down. Henry’s owned has taken a lot of stick on the Facebook pages, and rightly so.”
As has previously been noted on this website, given the need for freedom to grow and thrive, and their love of running, serious injuries are always a possibility for young greyhounds being reared ‘free range’. They represent a percentage of ‘those who don’t make it’.
As to Henry’s identity, it is claimed that he is a well bred June 12 whelp, bred in Yorkshire, by a well known open race trainer. Two of his four littermates raced at Nottingham. We have tried to get confirmation of these facts but will do so if the information is forthcoming.