There is a hidden side to greyhound racing which race goers will never see. This includes painful injuries; kennels not fit for purpose, lack of socialisation and wanton neglect to name but a few!
This money driven industry, with its poorly maintained tracks, cause frequent injuries to these beautiful dogs and thousands will die or vanish each year that are deemed ‘surplus to requirements’. Their bodies have been found dumped in mass graves, often with their ears cut off to avoid identification.
In 2010 Government regulations were introduced to address these problems, but The League Against Cruel Sports states that they are woefully inadequate.
As a result of over breeding and the demand for better performances, dogs that do not make the grade are cruelly disposed of, with their ears sliced off and often shot with a bolt gun, while some are sold for experimental purposes. Such a cruel and bloody end for dogs whose only crime is being ‘unfit for purpose’!
Greyhound racing remains big business, where profit is put above animal welfare and of course while the Government continues to rake in taxes, there is little hope of a change. There is an old saying within the racing fraternity, ‘You bet, they die’, which is sadly true of such a barbaric sport.
People who patronise these races, are quick to point out how Greyhounds love to race, but there is no freedom of choice on the racetrack. These dogs can reach speeds of up to 40mph and if they collide at full sprint they can receive such horrific injuries that they have to be destroyed.
Sadly, an early death is the fate of most dogs born into the racing industry and due to the vast number bred each year it is impossible to re home them all. So until people wake up to the reality behind the traps, they will continue to suffer!
The biggest welfare challenge for the lucky dogs that survive the track, is what to do when they do retire. The normal age for retirement is 4 – 5 years of age and that does not account for the puppies who do not make the grade.
Sadly there is still public perception that Greyhounds do not make good pets and that they require to much exercise when in fact the opposite is true.
They are still misunderstood and make wonderful, placid pets and contrary to public belief, do not need that much exercising. In fact the majority of retired Greyhounds that have been through our hands as pet sitters, only required a twenty to thirty minute walk, twice a day. In the course of our dog walking duties, we would often enter the clients home, to find them feet up, sound asleep in a comfy bed and those dogs from the racing industry, often retire early, so have many years ahead of them.Greyhounds make lovely pets
One word of caution however, a Greyhounds instinct is to chase, so they may require training in order that that can live happily with small pets, but we have cared for quite a few of these lovely dogs, who happily live with cats.
I cannot praise these dogs highly enough. They have been a joy to walk (although vigilance is required when spotting a squirrel or passing little furry), docile, biddable and an all round lovely companion, so next time you are looking to re-home a low maintenance dog, why not contact The Retired Greyhound Trust, who will be more than happy to match you with an appropriate dog.