AN ANIMAL welfare charity says it is not surprised by the case of a North-East greyhound trainer who had dozens of dogs taken off him - claiming it is an ongoing problem dealing with “cast offs” from the industry.

More than 50 dogs were seized from professional trainer Malcolm Taylor following an inspection of his kennels and his licence suspended by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB).

Mr Taylor, who has kennels in Dalton Piercy, Hartlepool and regularly raced dogs at Sunderland greyhound stadium, has now handed back his licence.

He remains subject to disciplinary action by the GBGB which could impose a lifetime ban from the sport and a £5,000 fine – the maximum punishment available.

The GBGB said all the registered greyhounds in Mr Taylor’s care were re-located to other licensed trainers or found homes through the Retired Greyhound Trust.

However some rescue groups, including Teesside-based charity Grace (Greyhound Rescue And Co-ordinated Emergencies), say more dogs linked to the trainer and initially unknown to the GBGB have had to be rehomed.

Its rehoming co-ordinator Tracy Cook said she had taken 19 greyhounds, rehoming 15.

She said she had passed details of the dogs’ ear markings to the GBGB so they could be identified.

“This kind of thing happens all the time,” she said.

“A few years ago there was a trainer who quit who had 198 dogs. It took me three months to rehome them all.

“The problem is there are too many dogs being bred for the industry and they only race from approximately 18 months to four years old when they lose a little bit of speed.

“It is an ongoing problem dealing with the cast offs from the industry.”

The GBGB, which regulates licensed greyhound racing, said it “cared passionately” about the welfare of greyhounds and kennels were inspected twice a year by a team of stipendiary stewards and annually by an independent veterinary surgeon.

A spokesman said: “The kennels failed to meet the standards required of a licensed trainer.

“Our main priority was the welfare of the dogs concerned which were all checked over by a vet and have now been relocated.”

The Northern Echo attempted to get in touch with Mr Taylor using details previously published on the GBGB website, but no response was received.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: "We would like to thank everyone who has reported this matter to us.

“An investigation is currently under way."