A GREYHOUND rehoming centre which is the first of its kind in the North-East was opened yesterday.

Lord David Lipsey, chairman of the British Greyhound Racing Board, opened Hollin Hall Greyhound Rehoming Centre at Fir Tree Kennels, Crook, County Durham.

The centre, funded by Brough Park and Sunderland Greyhound stadiums, is dedicated to finding new homes for dogs from the two tracks after they retire from racing.

The idea was conceived by bookmakers William Hill, which owns both of the tracks, and the centre is managed by professional greyhound trainer Alison Waggott.

It can house up to 20 greyhounds at a time and as well as kennels, there is an area for the dogs to meet prospective owners and a room laid out like a normal residential home, to help the dogs become accustomed to a domestic environment.

"It is the first of its kind in the North-East," said Lord Lipsey.

"It's a great initiative and puts the North-East at the forefront of what is happening.

"I got into racing because I am interested in retired greyhounds. I had a retired greyhound myself and know how wonderful they are.

"They are so easy to look after and they don't take up much space. They are wonderful with children too."

The centre aims to find a home for each dog within six months, in which time the dogs are trained to adapt to their new environment.

A donation of £100 per dog is required as well as up-to-date vaccination certificates, and potential owners are assessed.

For further information about the scheme and kennel availability, contact Alison Waggott on 07876 077093.