A BUILDER alleged to have buried 10,000 greyhounds in his allotment is to be prosecuted.

There was a national outcry when David Smith was photographed burying dogs he executed in an outbuilding on his land.

It was claimed he had killed up to 10,000 dogs, mostly greyhounds no longer fast enough to race, over a number of years.

Despite protests from animal rights groups, Durham Police confirmed Mr Smith had done nothing illegal by using a bolt gun to shoot the dogs in the head, as they were killed humanely.

But now the Environment Agency has begun proceedings for a private prosecution against him.

He will be accused of depositing non-specific controlled waste without a licence on July 12.

The allegation relates to burying dogs in a makeshift graveyard behind his home in Northdene Terrace, Seaham, County Durham.

The first hearing of the case was due to take place before North Durham magistrates this week, however, it has now been delayed until a date in January, still to be confirmed.

The racing industry was stunned when it was alleged healthy greyhounds were killed in Seaham at £10 a time, said to have been taken there by trainers and owners because they were no longer good enough to race.

Pressure group Greyhound Action believes up to 30,000 healthy greyhounds, including puppies, are killed across the UK every year because they are not profitable to owners.

Spokesman Tony Peters called on Sunderland and East Durham residents to boycott greyhound meetings and betting on races to starve the industry of cash, saying they are innocently "fuelling practices by which dogs are killed."

However, the National Greyhound Racing Club, which licences 31 major UK dogs tracks including Sunderland, said it was "flabbergasted and appalled" at the destruction of healthy dogs.

It launched a hotline to gather evidence to unmask any heartless trainers who have had dogs put down on the cheap because they were no longer raceworthy.

Mr Smith himself received a lot of support, including a petition collected in shops and businesses, from people in Seaham.