THE owners of a number of greyhounds which were shot and dumped on land in County Limerick in what has been termed by Limerick Animal Welfare as a “greyhound atrocity” have been identified and will now be questioned.
The carcasses were at varying levels of decomposition when discovered by a couple out walking their dog on land outside the village of Ballyagran.
Bord na gCon - the lead authority investigating the matter – confirmed this Wednesday that identification markings on some of the animals were still intact and the owners have been identified and will now be investigated.
“We are giving very strong assurances to the public that the perpetrators of this awful act will be pursued and we ensure they will face the full rigours of the law,” said Barry Coleman, Welfare Officer of the Irish Greyhound Board.
“We are determined to get on top of this as the governing body and are determined to make an example of this if it warrants prosecution,” added Brian Purcell who is handling the media relations for the Irish Greyhound Board.
Marion Fitzgibbon, chairperson of Limerick Animal Welfare who visited the gruesome scene this week described it as “one of the worst cases of animal cruelty” she has ever come across.
“The smell is absolutely unbearable. They appear to have been shot because you can see all the blood on the green, and then thrown down into the pit. There are swarms of maggots feeding on these dogs and you can actually hear them munching and scrunching. All you can hear are the sound of the maggots,” she said.
The tags on two of the greyhounds reveal that they were born last year. Ms Fitzgibbon said she feared that the site was only the “tip of the iceberg”, what with the downturn in the greyhound industry.
Under the Greyhound Bill a greyhound can only be euthanised by a registered veterinary surgeon.
Inspector Eamon O’Neill of Newcastle West garda station has called for anyone with information to contact the gardai.
“We will be carrying out ballistic enquiries with regard to evidence we hope to glean from the scene. We are getting full co-operation from the landowner,” he said.
A full version of this story was published in the Limerick Leader, print edition, dated April 14, 2012