POST MORTEMS ON the skeletal remains of several dogs found dumped in a bog in Co Kildare last summer concluded that they likely suffered “traumatic injuries”.
Last August, a member of the public made the gruesome discovery while out walking at Roseberry Bog in Newbridge.
The remains included individual skulls and bones as well as full skeletons of what were suspected to be greyhounds.
It has emerged they were examined by the Department of Agriculture’s veterinary laboratory in Celbridge and were sent forward for further testing to see if the dogs and their owners could be identified.
But those tests, commissioned by Greyhound Racing Ireland, have so far not traced any owner.
The post mortem results have strengthened calls from the Irish Council Against Blood Sports (ICABS) for authorities to pursue the owners and prosecute them.
The organisation shared a number of graphic images of the dumping site at the time, which were viewed by The Journal.
Dublin TD Paul Murphy, who sought the results of the post mortems, said the full results should be released by the department.
“It is very likely these (dogs) were killed, this is a scandal and all the information should be published,” he told The Journal.
The campaigners and Murphy have also sought clarity on whether gardaí are investigating the deaths of the dogs.
Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, whose department has oversight of the greyhound industry, said it was not possible to determine when the animals had died.
“Incomplete skeletal remains of seven dogs were submitted for post mortem examination to my Department’s laboratories at Backweston on 1st September 2022,” he told Murphy following a parliamentary question in the Oireachtas.
“It was not possible to determine when these animals had died but traumatic injury, evident in six of the dogs, was the most probable cause of death.”
McConalogue said the case was handed over to Greyhound Racing Ireland which arranged for tissue samples from these dogs to be analysised by a specialised laboratory.
It was hoped these would confirm the species and identify the individual animals and an owner.
When contacted, the greyhound body said it had tried without success to match the species with greyhounds in the wider Newbridge area.
“DNA was retrieved from one of the greyhounds and submitted for analysis,” its spokesperson told The Journal.
“The DNA sample was cross referenced with DNA from a selection of greyhounds in the wider Newbridge area. To date, no match has been found and the GRI investigation into the matter is ongoing.”
While GRI said it had not managed to confirm that the dogs were greyhounds, ICABS and Murphy both said it was highly likely and believe it highlights conditions in the industry.
“This is yet another horrendous example of what happens to greyhounds in this callous racing industry,” ICABS chairperson Aideen Yourell said.
“Six of these poor creatures suffered traumatic injuries as revealed by the post mortems. It’s high time the government pulled the plug on funding this horrible industry that sees thousands of greyhounds disposed of when surplus to requirements,” ICABS chairperson Aideen Yourell said.
A 2019 investigation by RTÉ into the greyhound industry found that as many as 6,000 greyhounds are killed each year amid an overbreeding crisis.
It revealed that they were were killed for a range of reasons, including “failure to produce qualifying times”, “failure to produce desired entry level times” and for an “unacceptable decline in performance”.
Murphy said the new information goes “someway towards confirming the overwhelming likelihood that the dogs were killed, that they were greyhounds, and it’s very likely they’re part of the thousands of dogs who die every year because they’re not fast enough in what is a very cruel industry”.
Yourell said: “We need more detail of what kind of traumatic injuries they mean, how these dogs died and did they suffer injuries to different parts of their bodies.”
Murphy and ICABS said that all of the new information must be shared with gardaí.
“It’s needed at this stage,” Murphy said, adding that independent authorities need to investigate the discovery.
Gardaí were contacted for comment but no confirmation of an investigation was received at the time of publication.
GRI and the Department of Agriculture have been asked if the information was forwarded to gardaí.