MEMBERS of the greyhound racing industry have raised more than £2,700 for a charity after its event was cancelled amid safety concerns.

Brighton’s Rockinghorse charity had been due to hold a fundraising event at Hove Greyhound Stadium but cancelled after being subjected to a campaign of abuse over social media by an animal rights group.

Greyt Exploitations bombarded the charity, which is the fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, with activists sending Facebook messages and emails to staff.

One animal rights campaigner even made a joke about going to the hospital to “bet on the children’s lives”.

As a result of cancelling the event, the charity missed out on the opportunity to raise £5,000 for a new vital cardiac monitor.

However, in just one day of fundraising members of the greyhound racing community raised more than £2,750 for Rockinghorse.

Mark Whittaker runs a syndicate of racing greyhounds.

His dog Armchair Piemass was put down at Hove dog track last month – which sparked Greyt Exploitations’ campaign against the charity event at the track.

He told The Argus: “That was my dog that was put down.

“I run a syndicate called Armchair Owners and unfortunately Piemass couldn’t be saved.

“She would have had to have her leg amputated and would have been in a lot of pain.

“Sometimes you have to make these decisions based on what’s best for the greyhound.

“I don’t feel it’s contradictory, 99.9% of people in the greyhound industry are good people. When they heard about this they wanted to help Rockinghorse and hundreds of people have donated.

“I do agree there needs to be more transparency within the greyhound racing industry, and there are no official death figures, but the ‘antis’ just make things up.

“We didn’t feel it was right for this charity to miss out because of a small group of people.”

Greyt Exploitations co-ordinator Trudy Baker, who launched the campaign against the charity, said she was sorry if people had taken offence but added that charities should make informed choices about how they raised funds.

To support Rockinghorse, visit uk/donate.


ROCKINGHORSE planned a fundraising night at the dog track in Hove.

But Greyt Exploitations launched a social media campaign against the charity and its staff were bombarded by tweets, Facebook messages and emails.

One supporter, Jill Kirby, emailed Rockinghorse chief executive Ryan Heal and posted a comment on Facebook suggesting they “bet on the children”.

Mr Heal described their hate campaign as “despicable” and said the comments were grossly offensive to the families of children they support.

He said he felt compelled to cancel the event amid fears for the safety of his staff and supporters.