BOSSES at Poole Stadium have insisted the treatment of greyhounds is improving despite allegations of dogs being ruthlessly killed in the north of England.

There have been calls for the sport which is a popular attraction at Poole to be boycotted after it was reported that thousands of dogs in the north were being killed with bolt guns when their working life ended.

Debbie Buxcey runs a re-homing charity for greyhounds in Dorset and Hampshire. She said: "People in the dog-racing world are horrified by these revelations. The owners I deal with take great care of their animals. They are only put down if there is a very serious injury, and it is carried out by a professional vet.

"But there is still a long way to go. I would like to see an independent body that monitored the registration of dogs and what happened to them."

She added: "The big, regulated tracks aren't the problem anymore. The risk is that attacking the greyhound industry forces it underground and that's when the real abuses happen."

Some groups, such as Greyhound Action, claim that 10,000 are being killed every year and want the whole sport shut down.

Industry bosses admit the sport has been slow to respond but say the situation is improving.

Bill Glass, operations manager at Poole Stadium, said: "All of us in the business put our hands up and say that 10 years ago, we were well off the pace.

"But there has been a revolution since then."

A racing career lasts three to five years in a total life span of around 14. There is not currently any way of monitoring what happens after they retire.

Mr Glass said: "There is indeed a black hole at the moment of dogs that disappear after racing.

"But we have started building up a comprehensive database of every registered dog, and within two years, we should be able to root out the bad guys."

There is a chance this database could become law when the Animal Welfare Bill passes later this year.