Call for crackdown as mutilated greyhound found in Foyle
The gruesome discovery of a mutilated racing dog in the River Foyle has prompted calls for co-operation between Irish and UK racing boards on greyhound welfare.
A member of the public contacted Pet FBI - a Londonderry-based animal charity - after he came across the carcass of the greyhound while he was out walking his own dog.
Foul play was confirmed after the dog's remains were lifted to the side of the river.
To the man's horror, he realised someone had callously cut both of the dog's ears off - most likely with a Stanley blade found lying in a nearby pool of blood.
Helena Bryson, a member of Pet FBI, said the animal welfare organisation highlighted the barbaric act on its Facebook page in the hope of identifying the owner of the dog.
She said: "Every greyhound has a number tattooed on both ears which will identify who owns the dog, so it is obviously whoever did this to this poor dog did not want identified.
"We think that this particular dog had come to the end of its racing life and the owner just couldn't be bothered with it any more, but this has to be such a cruel, painful way to end the dog's life.
"We see acts of animal cruelty all the time but you never get used to it, and the thought of the pain this poor dog endured and the fear it would have felt just sickened me.
"There needs to be tougher penalties for anyone guilty of animal cruelty, and while I don't think whoever did this will be found, unfortunately, perhaps DNA testing could track him or her down and they face prosecution for what they have done."
This is not the first time a greyhound has been dumped into the River Foyle with their owner's identity hidden by severing the animal's ears.
In 2008 two greyhounds were found in the river just across the border. Experts believe they had washed down from Northern Ireland.
And again in 2009 a dog was found washed up along the river near Bay Road in the city.
The Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland wants a combined approach between authorities in thye UK and the Republic which would tackle the issue of the border in Northern Ireland, which is sometimes used by unscrupulous dog owners. A spokesman for GRAI said: "We would like to see the Irish Greyhound Board and Greyhound Board of Great Britain, along with the Irish Coursing Club, all working together on any investigations into this terrible act.
"All three bodies have a responsibility for greyhounds racing in Northern Ireland.
"We would like to see a successful prosecution be brought against those involved in any welfare and transport regulations breaches, such as in this case."
Greyhound racing is big business, but as the dogs grow older and get slower, some unscrupulous owners would rather kill the working animals than pay for their upkeep as unprofitable pets.
Earlier this month a man was fined €4,000 (£2,800) by a court in the Republic and banned from keeping greyhounds for ever.
The conviction of Paul Nolan was the first successful prosecution brought against an individual under the Republic's Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011.