A GREYHOUND trainer from the North-East has been suspended and is under investigation following a visit from several animal welfare charities.

It is understood 14 dogs belonging to Pat Simpson have been removed from the ramshackle kennels deemed unsuitable on an allotment in Hetton-le-Hole.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain has suspended her licence and told Mrs Simpson the rundown sheds she used to house her dogs are not appropriate.

Greyhound charities visited the premises, near Downs Pit Lane, on Friday night after they were sent a video by a member of the public with concerns about the welfare of the animals.

Rita James, a co-ordinator with CAGED, Campaign Against Greyhound Exploitation and Death, said: “The conditions looked horrific. There was rubbish and pieces of wood everywhere and bricks on top of the roofs, which could have fallen down and badly hurt the dogs.”

It is understood Mrs Simpson allowed three of the dogs to be taken by Grace to be rehomed and the remaining 11 were handed over to the RSPCA voluntarily.

Tracy Cook, of GRACE, Greyhound Rescue and Co-ordinated Emergencies, said: “The conditions were atrocious. You can get nice sheds, but these were ramshackle falling down sheds.

"People were concerned about the welfare of the dogs. The dogs there were quite timid and hand shy, but bodily their weight wasn’t too bad. It was more about how they were living.”

Pat Simpson, who is from Hetton-le-Hole was licensed for dog-racing at Pelaw Grange stadium in Chester-le-Street, in County Durham.

A spokesman for the Greyhound Board of Great Britain said: “The GBGB can confirm that it has suspended the licence of greyhound trainer Pat Simpson while it investigates the case of retired racing greyhounds being kept in unsuitable unlicensed kennels.”

The RSPCA is no longer investigating Mrs Simpson and no further action will be taken.

A spokeswoman said: "An RSPCA officer attended this location on Friday night after a number of calls to our cruelty line.

"The living conditions of the retired greyhounds needed improvement but they were clean and warm with bedding and fresh water. None of them were showing signs of suffering.

"No further action will be taken in this instance."

Mrs Simpson, who lives in Hetton-le-Hole, said the GBGB has been out to inspect the kennels since the visit on Friday.

She said: “They said they were not up to GBGB standards, but the dogs were in perfect health, were well fed, had plenty water and were warm.

“What they did was rehome them and we asked them to do that. They were not taken. They were given over voluntarily.

“They are not going to do anything else. It is finished with.”