I've been putting off starting a new blog, I'd wanted to wait until Freddie found a home, but the avalanche of email about Greyhounds demands their own blog.
For those who aren't up to speed, our latest issue contains an article by vet Emma Milne. She'd just spent eight hours trying to save a little dog that had been disemboweled by two ex-racing Greyhounds while out on a walk. She didn't succeed and the dogs elderly owner was devastated.
I suspect Emma wrote it pretty soon after the obviously distressing incident.
When she filed her copy it was highlighted by our chief sub as being 'likely to generate lots of letters'. But Emma is a feisty vet and she often get a hefty mailbag as she does tend to say what she thinks. No alarms bells went off for me at this point - which I regret. Emma has written for us for several years. The article was sent for illustration and design.
It was an even busier month for me than usual, I had the dreaded Vat to do and a couple of new staff starting so I'll admit my eye was off the ball. I had already planned the edition and commissioned the major features, but I ran out of time and didn't proof read all the regulars this month - leaving it to others. After a few years columnists are given their head to pretty much write what they feel.
One of my staff did say the same thing - that Emma's column would generate lots of letters. But I'm afraid I still didn't get the hairs standing up on the neck feeling of impending doom.
When the first angry email dropped into my in-box I turned to the magazine and I have to say my jaw dropped!
We should have picked the piece up as a knee-jerk reaction to a horrible series of events.
It was like allowing the mother of an abducted child to write an article on paedophiles. Emma was far too close to the story and needed to have had time to cool off - or for us to interject some balance.
I totally can empathise with how that little old lady felt. If any dogs killed my dogs I would be devastated, but the fact that this was such a shocking episode to Emma must mean it is far from commonplace. I sadly can recall plenty of other stories of small dogs being killed by bigger ones - of all breeds and types. It is everyone's responsibility to act responsibly if they have a dog with a heightened chase instinct. In my opinion some of the passion needs to deflected to the owners of these two dogs for allowing this incident to happen in the first place.
I am sorry everyone has been so upset, and I know it isn't good enough to just say sorry. But to our defence we have spent 18 years being incredibly proactive towards Greyhound Welfare, this article is obviously not a reflection of our views. And for many of you who haven't read the magazine and are just making comments on this one feature, please do try to think a little more charitably of us.
Knee-jerk reactions tend to be infectious and I can recognise the outrage and passion in these posts and emails. It is so unthinkable to suggest Greyhound genocide as a reaction to one dog's very sad death. I'm as shocked as you!
We will be printing lots of your letters in next month's edition and we will continue doing all we can for all the dogs as always.
And please, don't forget Freddie.
I'm sorry if I stopped replying to email last night, I was trying to get back to everyone quickly. I've managed to pick up food poisoning from my trip into London yesterday for a meeting. In the dead of night I did wonder briefly whether the chef might have been a disgruntled Greyhound rescue supporter out to get me, but I know from all the lovely people in Greyhound I've met that you're all gentle souls deep down! (I hope!)