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Jilly Cooper's horror over mutilated dog dumped in Northern Ireland river

By Donna Deeney

Published 09/07/2015

Body of a greyhound that was dumped in the River Foyle
Body of a greyhound that was dumped in the River Foyle
Writer Jilly with Feather, a greyhound that she rescued

Bestselling author Jilly Cooper has spoken of her horror after reading about the sad plight of a greyhound whose ears were sliced off before being dumped in the River Foyle.

The Belfast Telegraph reported how the former racing dog's carcass had been found lying in the Londonderry river with its ears severed to prevent the owner from being identified from markings.

A Stanley blade was found lying in a pool of blood nearby. Animal lover Cooper described whoever was responsible as wicked.

She also praised a court in the Republic for the first successful prosecution brought against an individual under the Republic's Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011.

Paul Nolan was fined €4,000 (£2,800) by a court and banned from keeping greyhounds for ever. Jilly Cooper had actually taken in one of Nolan's old racing greyhounds nine years ago, and named him Feather. Nolan abandoned the animal to its fate on a motorway, lacking even the compassion to remove its muzzle to give it a chance to eat, the Riders author said.

Ms Cooper added: "I was horrified to read about the poor greyhound found in the river. It was such an appalling thing to have happen, so wicked.

"Greyhounds are so sweet, so gentle and make such wonderful pets - but it is a real problem when they come to the end of their usefulness for some ungrateful trainers and owners who do unimaginably cruel things to these gentle dogs.

"My own darling Feather was just the most gentle, sweetest, creature you could find and he suffered so much as well.

"His ears were mutilated too but thankfully he survived and it didn't affect his gentle nature.

"It was an amazing breakthrough by the Irish courts to impose such a heavy fine on Paul Nolan.

Writer Jilly with Feather, a greyhound that she rescued
Writer Jilly with Feather, a greyhound that she rescued

"We must all get together to make sure both the UK and Ireland courts get tough on these trainers and greyhounds.

"It's the same for race horses, they are treated dreadfully once they stop being useful to their owners, it is appalling."

English author Cooper began her career as a journalist and wrote numerous works of non-fiction before writing several romance novels, the first of which appeared in 1975. She is best known for writing the Rutshire Chronicles, the first of which was international sex and showjumping bestseller Riders in 1985.

Richard King from the Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland (GRAI) wants to see greater co-operation between the Irish Greyhound Board and Greyhound Board of Great Britain, as well as the Irish Coursing Club, when it comes to investigating cruelty.

He welcomed the support of such a high-profile figure as Ms Cooper. He said it would help his organisation enormously as it tried to stop unscrupulous owners and trainers on both sides of the Irish border.

He added: "Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland urge anybody with information to contact both the Irish Greyhound Board and the Greyhound Board of Great Britain.

"GRAI urge the Irish and UK racing bodies to work together on this and all relevant welfare issues."

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