Greyhound adoption shelter accused of mistreating animals

BOSTON — Last month, the state shut down Greyhound Friends of Hopkinton, a well-known local shelter that has successfully adopted thousands of greyhounds over 34 years, and the town suspended its kennel license. The state issued a cease and desist order demanding the kennel be brought up to state standards.

FOX25 Investigates examined a recent report about the kennel, spoke to former board members about the perceived problems and even interviewed the kennel's director.

Empty cages

The adoption cages are now empty, as Greyhound Friends makes thousands of dollars in changes.  But former board members tell FOX25 Investigates it may not be enough.

“I felt like I failed because I couldn't make the changes inside and I couldn't help the dogs,” former board member Kathy Lundgren said. She says, the state told the shelter the cages were too small for dogs this size

“This is an organization that has taken in more than $3-million in contributions and donations over the last five years and they would tell us there wasn’t enough money for basic things,” said former board member Leslie Doyle.

Long stays

The former board members say they were also alarmed to learn that many of the dogs had been at the kennel for years, Kept in back cages away from the main adoption floor.

Animal behaviorist Kelley Bollen  recorded video of one dog, that she says shows signs of mental deterioration after more than three years at Greyhound Friends.

“They are just holding these dogs, in small kennels, indefinitely. And it’s just not humane,” said Bollen.

A history of concerns

FOX25 obtained a detailed report that showed in December 2015, Animal Rescue League Law Enforcement Lt. Alan Borgal told board members he was “very concerned about dogs at GHF that have been in the shelter for many months or in some cases, years."

In the last year, some of the long-stay dogs who lived at Greyhound Friends were quickly adopted out, by other rescue shelters.

The owner responds

Greyhound Friends founder and owner Louise Coleman tells FOX25 she’s frustrated that they lost their license, but she’s working to refurbish the kennel in hopes of reopening.

“If I thought those dogs were miserable, if I thought they were in bad shape, if I thought they were suffering, I would have put them down a long time ago,” said Coleman.

She went on to say “I’m not a person who is vehemently against putting dogs down. We just don’t operate like that. We can't.”

Former board member Kathy Lundgren believes Greyhound Friends may never get its license back.

“We have shiny kennels and clean floors and new cages that sort of thing. But that's not the problem. The problem is how the shelter is run,” said Lundgren.

“It’s a difference of opinion,” said Coleman.

Show of support

Since FOX25 interviewed the owner of Greyhound Friends, we’ve received more than 100 emails from people who had successful adoptions. The shelter is holding a fundraiser this weekend at the Charles River Country Club.

The state would not comment on the investigation, saying it is still active.

FOX25 understands the passion that comes with these stories, and many of our employees have rescue animals as pets. This story is not about the happy adoption stories, but rather the forgotten dogs and the conditions that caused the state to shut down the shelter.