Trials at the stadium were abandoned on August 19th, at the insistence of trainers, after several dogs 'went lame', during the sessions which grade dogs for competitive races at later dates. One dog, Bonatelli a two year old male with just 9 races to his name and running his first trial at Belle vue, is known to have been destroyed after breaking a hock and two other dogs, Fear the Rainman and Shyan Bigjim, are reported to have broken hocks according to the industry's Racing post. It has since emerged that Shane Bigjim actually suffered a wrist injury. An insider at Belle vue has contacted us to express concern over events on the day with allegations of a lack of animal welfare at the track that day; one racer even suggested that the RSPCA should have been called in. The man in his 50's told us he was 'Appalled' that most of the dogs took on injuries on the third bend on the track, suggesting something was seriously wrong with track preparation. Bonateli's injury was deemed ‘Too bad’ by the track vet and he was put to sleep. There have been controversial suggestions that Bonatelli ran out of the trap lame, raising questions as to why the trial wasn’t halted immediately. Another dog Fear the rainman also broke a hock but he is reported to have been treated, his owner told our contact that the dog’s injury and inevitable retirement from the sport was 'A relief ' adding that 'He would not have to risk his life on the track any more’. Rainmans owner is believed to have quit the industry. An inquiry by the GBGB is being branded as a 'cover up' by trainers after it attributed the events to ’a series of coincidences'. Furious racers blame track maintenance and possible debris from the stock car circuit, which the Greyhounds share the 88 year old stadium with. Management at the track inflamed trainers further when they asserted that some of the dogs affected were already carrying injuries. GBGB records do show that Fear the Rainman fell on his last race at Belle vue on the 2nd of July and Bonateli was baulked and slowed in his previous two races in Ireland. There have also been suggestions that Shyann Bigjim was also nursing an earlier injury. It emerges that the Speedway races the night before the trial were cancelled due the safety of the track. 'The heavens opened on Monday night' our contact stated ' the track should have been harrowed before the trials on Tuesday but ground staff were told to leave it until after the trials'. Astonishingly the Manchester track does not have a clerk of the course and there are calls by racers to appoint one forthwith. Concerns have long been raised at how the Stock cars track, running inside the Greyhound track impacts on it. "Stones and bits of metal fly up from the bikes and stock cars' our contact said, he also added that the inner stock track effects drainage.
Belle vue has been no stranger to controversy with regard to track injuries, in August 2010 it was reported by Greyhound action that several dogs had died over 10 day period at the Manchester track and the recent incidents come just days after Rathbay Jill, a three year old is believed to have been destroyed after breaking a hock on the Sunday BAGS meeting.
The recent injury and death rate at Belle vue brings into focus concern that greyhounds are routinely put to sleep for injuries that although career ending are treatable. According to vet Alessandro Piras no hock injury is untreatable. Piras has said that he was ‘Appalled at the number of times I heard that a dog had fractured a bone and automatically had to be put to sleep. All bones mend.
"The only cases where a fractured bones need result in a greyhound being put in sleep is for a broken spine - and even then, not in all cases.” http://www.greyhound-club.de/documents/Greyhound_Vet_On_A_Mission.pdf In an article from 2010, which reported on the death of comedian Dara O'Briain's dog Snip nua, The Dublin society for the protection of Animals described the destruction of Greyhounds with leg breaks as 'Tantamount to animal abuse’ http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-217908349.html