AN animal charity worker has urged the Government to force trainers to rehome greyhounds properly once their racing careers are finished.

David Holmes, chairman of the Retired Greyhound Trust in Northumbria, last night said the Government needed to make sure greyhounds were looked after once they retired.

"It is still a big problem," he said. "Our target is to re-home 150 greyhounds this year - it will be the most we have ever done in a year. From what I understand, Dave Smith was putting that many to sleep every week," he said.

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He said that although many trainers knew of the groups existence, because the group can only take a limited number and there is a waiting list, many trainers were reluctant to wait.

"The trainers that are good are the exception rather than the rule," he said.

He said aspects in the industry needed to change to make conditions safer for greyhounds, including changing from a track with bends to a straight track.

He said the body responsible - the National Greyhound Racing Club - was not managing the problem of retired greyhounds effectively.

He said: "It needs taking out of the hands of the people who are in control of it at the moment. I would like to see it undertaken by Defra. They are the people who should be able to take this on and resolve it properly."

He said that greyhounds generally make affectionate family pets, which needed only two 20-minute walks a day, were good with children and spent a lot of time sleeping. The group has about 70 dogs in kennels at any one time and is always looking for new owners.

Anyone who would like to give a greyhound a new home or sponsor the charity, can log on to www.northumberland greyhoundrescue.org.uk