Dog track protests do nothing to stop racing but the abuse upsets blameless neighbours

Posted On 23 Dec 2020 at 12:10 am

Personally, I am not a lover of greyhound racing. I have not been to the track in Nevill Road, Hove, for many years.

And even then, I only went because there was a charity event that I wanted to support. A large number of worthwhile charity events have always been held at the stadium.

It is a private enterprise so closing the greyhound stadium – as the petition presented to Brighton and Hove City Council asked – is not a council decision to make.

This is not an illegal or an unregulated business. It is perfectly legitimate and there are many controls and regulations that the stadium has to conform to.

There are regular inspections of the health and wellbeing of the dogs and a vet has to be on hand at all meetings.

All the dogs are accounted for via a stud book that tracks them from birth to retirement. No stadium has ever been closed for welfare reasons.

I am assuming that the resident who brought this petition takes part in the protests that happen outside of the grounds every time there is a race meeting.

As one of the ward councillors for the area, I have to say that the protests do nothing to stop the punters or the management of the stadium but they really upset my blameless residents.

There has been a great deal of loud shouting through megaphones and abusive name calling, so much so that I know at least one person has been taken to court and prosecuted because of abusive behaviour.

Some of my elderly residents and those with young children are frightened to go out of their houses when the protests are taking place as many of them have been verbally abused.

The police have to attend these demonstrations, taking them away from other vital work.

If this facility were to close it would also put a large number of people out of work. Not only the people who run the stadium and those who care for the greyhounds but all the restaurant and bar staff, etc. Many local people rely on this track for their livelihood.

Finally, I appreciate that everyone has the right to attend peaceful protests but I would respectfully ask that the demonstrators show more respect to my residents living opposite.

They have suffered from these not-so-peaceful demonstrations for far too long – and I will not be supporting this petition.

Councillor Vanessa Brown is a Conservative and represents Hove Park ward on Brighton and Hove City Council.

This article is an edited version of a speech given to a meeting of the full council.

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