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Greyhound Friends: One year later

Blog about Greyhound Friends

Learn more about the issues that animal rescue law enforcement and state agencies uncovered about the greyhound adoption group Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Greyhound Friends is closed but is trying to obtain a new kennel license, despite recent reports that they neglected sick and injured dogs.

Greyhound Friends: One year later

Stephen Bassignani

Disturbing news uncovered about Greyhound Friends since Boston 25 TV coverage

On March 2, 2017, Boston 25 News broke the first story about allegations of Greyhound Friends mistreating dogs. Investigative reporter Bob Ward interviewed two former Greyhound Friends volunteers who reported that the animal rescue had been warehousing some dogs for years in small kennels and they were worried about the welfare of the dogs. Their statements were backed up by an animal behaviorist who had visited the kennel.

They also reported concerns about where donor money was going, stating that the charity had taken in more than $3 million dollars in the past five years yet didn't seem to have money for basic care for the dogs. 

The news story revealed that the kennel had been temporarily closed due to unsafe and unsanitary conditions uncovered by the state animal inspector, MSPCA, and Animal Rescue League of Boston during multiple inspections. Reporter Bob Ward also gave Greyhound Friends Executive Director Louise Coleman an opportunity to address the allegations.

In the year since the news came out:

* Public records were uncovered that revealed numerous visits from animal welfare agencies to urge Greyhound Friends to stop engaging in practices that are harmful to dogs. 

* The executive director was charged with felony animal cruelty for continuous unsanitary conditions in the kennel. The judge ordered her to stay away from the kennel and not start new kennel operations.

* Six animal rescue organizations and numerous former employees and volunteers spoke out about concerns they had over Greyhound Friends' treatment of dogs.

* Several adopters wrote to state officials about dogs they had adopted from Greyhound Friends who were sick, underweight, and/or seemed to have not received proper veterinary care.

* The Massachusetts Attorney General's Public Charities Office opened an investigation into Greyhound Friends' finances. The agency is entrusted by statute to “see to the due application of funds given or appropriated to public charities” in Massachusetts and charged with preventing “breaches of trust in the administration” of public charities.

* The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources reported that the Greyhound Friends board of directors is "unable or unwilling to provide proper oversight."

* Greyhounds Friends issued a press release stating that Executive Director Louise Coleman was taking a leave of absence. 

* A Hopkinton contractor placed a lien on the Greyhound Friends kennel due to the charity not paying him $31,000 for repair work. 

* A MetroWest Daily News reporter uncovered public records showing that Greyhound Friends had been violating animal welfare regulations for decades, including confining dogs in cages that were too small, rampant overcrowding, and importing dogs without isolating them to protect the public against the spread of infectious diseases.

* Greyhound Friends Board President Stoddard Melhado wrote to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources stating that the organization terminated Executive Director Louise Coleman, but did not go so far as to say they would not hire her back in a lesser capacity. 

* Executive Director Coleman's defense attorney succeeded in suppressing evidence in court, including any statements about Greyhound Friends' animal welfare violations between 1988-2015, any testimony from the state veterinary, any testimony from Greyhound Friends volunteers prior to 2015, and any testimony from an animal behaviorist related to the mental state of dogs confined for years in small cages.

* The executive director was acquitted of the animal cruelty charge for unsanitary conditions.

* The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources released a 236-page report documenting the fact that Greyhound Friends neglected sick and injured dogs.

* A news report uncovered that Coleman was still involved with Greyhound Friends in April 2017, after the organization made public statements that she was on a leave of absence and after the judge ordered her to stay away from the kennel. 

* An adopter contacted the state animal inspector after discovering that Greyhound Friends adopted a sick dog to her months after their kennel license was suspended. Records indicate that Greyhound Friends kenneled the dog at the Holliston Meadows boarding facility while he was contagious with high levels of hookworms.

What happens from here?

That is unknown. Greyhound Friends is seeking its kennel license back. You can voice your opposition to this by signing our petition and/or contacting the Hopkinton Board of Selectmen at selectmen@hopkintonma.gov

Meanwhile, the Attorney General investigation into the charity is ongoing.

Read more about animal neglect and mistreatment at Greyhound Friends and sign the petition against reinstatement of the organization's kennel license.