A suburban backwater in a seaside town became the centre of media attention yesterday as jounalists sought out the man who, according to racing insiders, has destroyed 10,000 unwanted greyhounds.

In a neighbourhood where Seaham man David Smith is held in high esteem, Marjorie McIntyre attempted to give the businessman a chance to speak up for himself.

DAVID Smith's smart bungalow is called Adam and Eve Cottage. It is reached by a track off a road of private houses in the County Durham town of Seaham.

Loading article content

It's the same track along which owners of redundant racing dogs have brought their animals to be despatched for only £10.

But at the end of the tree-lined track yesterday the iron gates at the foot of the drive into Mr Smith's bungalow were firmly shut.

As we approached to try and asked speak to Mr Smith, a man inside the grounds told us he was not at home.

When we pointed out that we wished to give him a chance to give his side of the story, we were told: "He has been asked 40 times today to speak to the Press and I'm telling you he doesn't want to comment.''

Asked to leave the gateway because the family was "expecting a delivery'' we moved on to the street leading down to Adam and Eve Cottage where Mr Smith told journalists at the weekend that he was no longer involved in destroying dogs because it was too much hassle.

He had said: "I was doing society a favour. These are sick and injured dogs that would otherwise be thrown out on to the streets because their owners can't afford vet bills.''

It was alleged that once Mr Smith took delivery of the dogs from owners, they were taken to a shed on his one-acre plot where he would kill them, using a bolt gun.

He also claimed that the "little bit of money he made'' went to children's charities.

But his activities were not being viewed as a service to society by one couple parked in the street leading to his home.

The man and woman, who are involved in the greyhound industry were heartbroken over what they described as the needless slaying of thousands of dogs. In tears, the woman said: "We have come to see for ourselves where this man lives."

Arriving at Adam and Eve cottage, the couple, said: "How could he live there beside these canine killing fields?

"This has brought shame on the whole industry. It has also cast a shadow over responsible owners who would only go to a vet to have an injured dog put down.''

She conceded however: "Sadly, what he is doing is not illegal but it is totally unethical.''

The couple claimed they had contacted the RSPCA sometime ago over what was going on, adding: "We are glad this has at last come to the notice of the public.''

Clearly, this was not a sentiment that was shared by Mr Smith yesterday as the gates to his home remained shut.

A unnamed retired business man who is a neighbour of Mr Smith's stood up in his defence yesterday he said:

"Why is he being hounded? He has worked hard all of his life and has done nothing wrong or illegal. His family have been doing this for generations.''