FIGURES released by dog-racing’s governing body have revealed that more than 1,000 animals died or were killed last year.

The data, released by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, shows 257 dogs were euthanised at track side on ‘humane grounds’, 348 died after treatment was deemed too expensive, 267 were killed due to being ‘unsuitable for homing’ and 55 died from ‘sudden death’.

Chris Luffingham, from the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Dog lovers around the country will be asking if one dead dog is too much to pay for a sport which is solely designed to give people something to bet on.”

The figures also reveal that racing dogs suffer almost 5,000 injuries a year.

The data was not broken down by racing track, but additional study carried out independently by greyhound campaigners Greyt Exploitations found 108 dogs were involved in 124 incidents at the Pelaw Grange track, near Chester-le-Street.

There were at least 215 dogs involved in 245 incidents, at the Newcastle track, and 244 dogs involved in 273 incidents at the Sunderland track.

Trudy Baker, of Greyt Exploitations, said: “Greyhounds are sentient creatures, not disposable gambling chips.”

Lisa Morris-Tomkins, chief executive of the Greyhound Trust, has called for further support to enable the charity to find more homes for retired racing greyhounds, and pledged to work with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain to target reductions in euthanasia and increases in successful homing.

She said: “It is unacceptable that any greyhound suitable for homing is euthanised.”

The board, which is responsible for the welfare and care of all racing greyhounds and regulates the sport, has published The Greyhound Commitment setting out its expectations of how the sport and industry should be run with animal welfare at its heart.

Commitments range from introducing further safety measures at racing tracks, raising standards at residential kennels to providing training and development for the 7,000 people whose jobs depend on the sport.

Chief executive Mark Bird said: “We are a country of animal lovers and sports lovers so it is vital that animal welfare is at the heart of greyhound racing.”