CONCERNS have been raised greyhounds could be put down if plans to demolish Oxford Stadium go ahead.

Galliard Homes wants to build around 225 homes on the site in Blackbird Leys, but animal support groups fear what will happen to the dogs that currently use the track.

Oxford Greyhound Owners’ Association and Oxford Retired Greyhounds chairman John Alcock said hundreds of dogs would be displaced if the stadium closes.

Mr Alcock, who is also treasurer of the national Greyhound Owners’ Association, said: “The biggest problem will be the dogs. Where are they all going to go?

“A lot of trainers keep retired greyhounds as well as racing ones.”

He said about 350 dogs were owned by trainers who used the track, many of whom could face a struggle to get by without it.

The nearest alternative venue is in Swindon. But retired Greyhound Trust (RGT) home coordinator Jenny Hebborn warned some trainers may have no choice but to put some dogs down.

She said: “There is going to be a horrendous impact. Oxford is a bad area for rehoming greyhounds anyway. We don’t get many enquiries.

“A lot of the trainers have got a lot of lower-grade dogs which are reaching the end of their careers.

“Obviously the RGT will do its utmost, but it’s quite obvious that there is going to be a quantity that are possibly going to have to be put to sleep.

“It’s heartbreaking when you stop to think about it. One of the trainers has 40 retired dogs in his kennels.”

Trainer Dave Lee said: “Obviously it’s devastating. Being a trainer, you never want to put a dog down. I don’t know what’s going to happen to the dogs, they should be looked after.

“I don’t know what situation the other trainers are in.”

Residents objecting to the housing scheme have also raised concerns about the impact on school places and transport links in the area.

No planning application has been submitted yet. Planning agent Savills, which is acting on behalf of stadium owner the Greyhound Racing Association, is still reviewing responses from its consultation events in July and holding discussions with Oxford City Council .

A spokesman said an application was likely to be submitted before the autumn.