ACTIVISTS are calling for greyhound racing to be stopped at Swindon stadium because they say it puts the dogs’ lives in danger.

Stop Swindon Greyhound Racing gathered last Sunday for an awareness raising event in the town centre, to mark Greyhound Remembrance Weekend.

Founder Stephanie Poyntz, said: “We do these outreach events because we’re just trying to raise awareness among people. I genuinely think there are people who have absolutely no idea what goes on and that the dogs all love racing, and all get rehomed to nice homes afterwards. Which is what I used to think. But it’s not the case.”

The group held the event on the 94th anniversary of the start of greyhound racing in the UK in 1926.

“One of the arguments we get from pro-racers is that if you don’t have racing you won’t have Greyhounds,” said Stephanie. “But Greyhounds as a breed have been around for thousands of years. So what were they doing before this?"

She added: "They make lovely pets, they’re a really gentle, affectionate dog.

“People think they want to run all the time, but they don’t. They’re called ‘40 mile-an-hour coach-potatoes’. They sleep most of the day and then they might go for two 15-minute mad runs, and that’s it."

The group, which started in 2018, normally gathers every Saturday outside Abbey Stadium when races are being held.

Stephanie said: "I started working in Swindon in 2017 and found out that there was an active greyhound racing track here. I was really upset that the town where I was now working in had this going on and I thought I’d got to do something.

“This country is a nation of dog lovers, and we’re only one of seven countries in the world where it is still legal to race dogs. Most other countries have banned it because they recognise it is cruel,” she said.

“It is unacceptable to treat dogs as commodities and use them for entertainment. I think most people in our group would like to see a ban too,” she added.

“One of the problems is they do not have stamina,” said Dawn Grace who joined the group earlier this year after reading about the prosecution of Clive Elliot, a register breeder and trainer in Swindon who had subjected his racing dogs to months of neglect.

"Greyhounds have agility to go fast and then they tire very quickly. Which is why they end up in such a state and they often die of heart attacks.

"The owners run these dogs for themselves. If they all love their dogs why don’t they just have them as pets?" she added.

Dawn said she once reluctantly attended the races for an event.

“I saw a dog being dragged along afterwards, and it was complete knackered. And I was horrified. The people involved had no care for that dog,” she said.

"By coming out like this we want to get people interested in and understand more about what really goes on in the industry, and that these dogs are born just to be exploited. Their racing careers end by horrible injuries, death or being too slow," Dawn said.