Charity opposes bid to bring dog racing back to Northern Ireland race track
An application has been submitted for a licence to allow Drumbo Park to reopen for greyhound racing, it can be revealed.
The charity Almost Home Greyhound Rescue NI has reacted with dismay to the development and said countless dogs will suffer if the application to permit racing is given the green light.
Drumbo Park in Lisburn closed at the start of the year, with the loss of 44 jobs.
At the time, directors blamed a combination of factors for the decision to pull down the shutters, including online betting, a lack of government funding and restrictive licensing laws.
However, less than three months later, an application for a track betting licence has been submitted by newly-formed company Run with Passion Ltd.
Former Drumbo Park stadium manager John Connor is a director of the firm, according to Companies House.
Almost Home Greyhound Rescue NI said it is devastated at the prospect of the track reopening.
A spokesperson said: "I am gutted. This must not be permitted, imagine if it was cockapoos or Labradors being injured and killed on such a scale.
"There is no way it would be allowed to continue.
"Surely gambling addiction is a problem in this country as well as everywhere else.
"We believe it would make more sense to turn the facility into a safe community dog park with cafe and a greyhound rehoming and education centre.
"Greyhounds are the best dogs and they make the easiest house pets as they need little exercise compared to other breeds and are also very devoted to their humans.
"The only difficult greyhounds are those blooded with live chickens, rabbits and kittens to try to make them chase.
"Greyhounds are the most gentle, affectionate and easiest house pets, but the industry won't allow comparison with pets as the greyhounds are easily disposable as betting commodities.
"Drumbo Park cannot be allowed to reopen if live animals are going to suffer as a result."
It is not known what has prompted the decision to try to reopen the racetrack, coming so soon after the former director of the racetrack said they had run out of money.
Previously, Michael McAdam said that over the weekend prior to the closure the business had recorded a £10,000 loss despite efforts to cut overheads.
He said the financial problems were being exacerbated by "restrictive licensing laws".
"You can race on a Sunday, you can gamble on a Sunday, you can have a meal in our restaurant, but you can't have a glass of wine with it," he said.
"So that ruled out the opportunity to try and change our race pattern. It's just so frustrating - nobody wanted to help us."