Nuzzle without a muzzle as retrained greyhounds free to roam

SMH; Eleanor Ainge Roy; October 26, 2011


Lazy but loveable … greyhound owner Amy Kelly, with former racers Zac and Hope, says the belief that the dogs are aggressive is misguided. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

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WHEN Amy Kelly, 32, takes her former racing greyhounds Hope and Zac for a walk, she has to muzzle them. ”People’s perception is they are an aggressive dog,” Mrs Kelly said.
”Which is just not true; they are very lazy. But I’ve had people cross the street to avoid my dogs, which is so sad.”
The NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 requires that all greyhounds wear a muzzle in public places. According to the general manager of growth and sustainability at Greyhound Racing NSW, Tony O’Mara, greyhounds were originally a hunting dog.

Since being used for racing, muzzles were used to keep the dogs focused during the race. But Mr O’Mara says the muzzles are outdated and create an unfair stereotype of the dog.
”Muzzles give a perception that they are a threat,” Mr O’Mara said.
”If you make someone look like Hannibal Lecter it creates that fear.”
But that is set to change with the implementation of the Greenhounds program, which will allow greyhound owners to apply for an exemption from the muzzling laws. This would put NSW in line with greyhound policies in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.
”Many ex-racing dogs don’t find homes because they are perceived by the public to be dangerous,” said the Minister for Local Government, Don Page.
”But this isn’t true. They are no more dangerous than any other dog. I don’t know why this didn’t happen a long time ago.”
For greyhounds to be exempt from the muzzling law, they will have to pass through a retraining program and be tested.
For many ex-racing dogs this will mean a stint with foster carers who will socialise the dogs and get them used to indoor living. Many ex-racing dogs have trouble climbing stairs after spending their whole life in kennels. Once the dogs have passed behaviour tests and been desexed and microchipped, they will be fitted with a green collar that will help dog rangers and the public identify them as Greenhounds – safe pets.
”We expect the Greenhounds program will help us find more homes for ex-racing dogs,” Mr O’Mara said.
”Currently about 2000 ex-racing dogs find homes in NSW each year. We hope this will rise to 5000-6000 when people begin to realise greyhounds make wonderful pets.”
At present greyhounds are used as companions for inmates and the elderly and as therapy dogs for people with disabilities.
”These dogs are retired athletes and they should be respected,” Mr O’Mara said.

Original story here



Filed under Greyhounds, NSW

4 responses to “Nuzzle without a muzzle as retrained greyhounds free to roam

  1. Tara

    Muzzling all greyhounds is simply breed discrimination, as is making pet owners pay for a ‘ test’. Muzzle all dogs or none. Make all dog owners pay for a test or none!

    And maybe 2,000 greys are rehomed every year (doubtful) but that leaves 8,000 greys in nsw every year still “missing” (dead). These stats are from greyhound Australasia, stats.

  2. Michelle

    When i was renting a few years ago, my next door neighbour owned an ex racing greyhound that won many times. To help me get motivated to exercise, i walked “kiwi” (he was black) three times a week. My neighbour would leave his house unlocked for me to go inside and collect kiwi for his walks. I never at any time had any problems with him being aggressive or biting and i was entering his territiory. When i was out walking him, he was well known to the locals and they often said hello to us, perhaps more kiwi i suspected at times! I thought he attracted a bit of attention as a lot of people would ask about him and whether he was an ex racing dog. I would fill them in on his many wins and races and people were always interested. Keeping up with kiwi kept me fit, for an old dog he could walk at a trot and i was at a fast walking pace beside him. He was very loyal and faithful, his owner told me to drop the lead beside me and he would just stand there. I was a bit hesitiant about doing this, but did so and he never ran away from me. I loved this dog and walking him too. So when i had to move away i was quite sad and still miss kiwi and our walks. After this experience i would definitely consider a greyhound as a pet in the future, as they are so docile and quiet but also so loving.

  3. Audra

    Unfortunately, testing for the ‘green collar’ is not always based on temperament (trainers have told me their black greyhounds – black is the most common colour and seen as less desirable than other colours for adoption – seemed to fail for no reason related to temperament; dogs with treatable pannus fail, very timid dogs can fail, a missing toe etc). Too many greyhounds are having to wear muzzles that should not have to do so. The law is a nonsense.

    The other problem is that the greyhound racing industry has the monopoly on testing (and charges a hefty sum for it): why can’t other suitably qualified dog trainers/behaviouralists be used to test greyhounds? If the industry is truly committed to getting more greyhound adoptions, why does it guard its ‘territory’ with such determination? The industry is effectively protecting the muzzling law (now greyhounds who have passed the industry’s testing must always wear the collar in public). The law is antiquated.

    I agree with Tara about muzzling laws being discriminatory. A US study has shown that the greyhound breed is one of the least aggressive. Anyone who has had anything to do with greyhounds will tell you they are generously natured dogs. The law is unjustified.

    While the public is becoming more informed about the true character of the greyhound, there is a long way to go. The muzzling law, and its implications, means that it is harder to get more greyhounds adopted.

    (PS I have three greyhounds, including two ex-racers)

  4. Cynthia Gery

    I am shocked that you would tell people the truth about Greyhounds. There is a very good chance that they will attack small dogs. The small Shichon was attacked by two Greyhounds within 3 minutes at the dog park. They pounced on top of her and would have killered her if I didn’t intervene immediately. Yes, they were muzzled but they were violently crushing and malling her. She was just laying down on her back in a submissive position when they attacked her. I will NEVER go near a greyhound again. They should NEVER out in public!!!

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