Greyhound trainer locked up for cruelty

A TEENAGE greyhound trainer who kept more than 30 dogs in “concentration camp” conditions with no food, water or light has been locked up for causing unnecessary suffering.

James Hore

A TEENAGE greyhound trainer who kept more than 30 dogs in “concentration camp” conditions with no food, water or light has been locked up for causing unnecessary suffering.

Robert Freeman, 19, had been entrusted with looking after the animals when his father John, 52, fell ill at the kennels in Tiptree.

Colchester Magistrates' Court heard the teenager from Swansea left the dogs in cages covered in urine and excrement without food or water for days causing some of them to go “kennel crazy”, biting at the bars and walking round in circles constantly.


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District Judge David Cooper described the 15 minute RSPCA film showing the conditions as “heartbreaking”.

He said: “Looking at the place where you kept the dogs it wasn't so much a kennels as a concentration camp.

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“Seeing the dog turn and turn in that way was heartbreaking. It was heedless neglect and cruelty.”

Robert Freeman, who runs his own company training railway workers, was ordered to serve 90 days in a young offenders' institute after he pleaded guilty to nine charges of causing unnecessary suffering.

The court heard the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC) visited the kennels in Tiptree in February last year after a tip-off from a concerned member of the public.

The RSPCA and police were called onto the property in March when conditions had not improved and seized 30 dogs and three puppies, many of which were underweight, were flea-ridden, had eye problems, a broken tail and untreated injuries.

A statement from Irene Haslewoodof the NGRC said: “The conditions were appalling. I've never seen a situation so upsetting and unnecessary. It was heartbreaking to see dogs living like that.”

All of the dogs seized have since recovered, are now at a healthy weight and most have been re-homed.

Rebecca Wastall, defending, said John Freeman had a very successful greyhound racing business and his son became involved with a partnership.

“When he fell ill Robert Freeman decided to try and cope and run the kennels as best he could,” she said.

John Freeman, a retired railways worker from Saron Ammanford, Wales, pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to prevent suffering to animals.

He was given a 90-day sentence, which was suspended due to his ill health. He was also fined �500, ordered to pay �2,000 towards the �20,000 RSPCA bill and will be electronically tagged so he cannot leave his house between 9pm and 6am.

Both men were banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

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