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Racing greyhounds suffered around 5,000 injuries last year, and more than 900 were put down.As many as 257 animals were destroyed at the trackside, another 333 were killed due to the cost of treatment or a poor prognosis, and at least 348 were destroyed because they could not be rehomed.
These shocking statistics were published by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, under pressure from animal welfare campaigners.
The League Against Cruel Sports responded by describing these deaths as unjustifiable.
As I mentioned, greyhounds tend to passively cope with situations that they dislike (stand still and hope the scary thing goes away) rather than actively making a fuss.
In some ways, this is what makes them “good” racing dogs – they don’t complain very much.
Track owners and trainers pushed back, saying the dogs were well cared for and would not race if they were unhealthy or neglected.
But as Florida is home to 11 of the nation’s 17 active dog tracks, there is a concern that the networks of people who find new owners for dogs at the end of their short racing careers will be overwhelmed.“There is no way to know when the tracks will close or how many dogs are coming into the market, so we are sitting on pins and needles, but also quietly working to try to find new foster homes, calling vets about care packages and looking for people willing to drive vans to Florida to pick the dogs up,” said Carol Becker, president of God’s Greyts, a greyhound adoption group in Orlando that opposed the amendment on the basis that the dogs were already well cared for.“We are trying to avoid a crisis if too many tracks close around the same time and there are not enough homes lined up,” she added.
But we cannot say that this will be true of a whole breed.
What also concerns me about suggesting that these dogs are good with children is the information being used to make that assessment.
It can make life tough for their new adopters – especially at the start.
In my professional work training some of these dogs, I have worked with a number of people who adopted ex-racing greyhounds, only to discover that they refuse to go for walks, can’t be left alone, and react aggressively to other dogs they meet.