Greyhound adoption cuts sport’s seedy side
Australia was shocked two years ago when a Four Corners expose revealed the extent of horrific mistreatment of greyhounds in the Eastern States.
Misconduct such as live baiting was never established in WA, but the unseemly practice of euthanising greyhounds that didn’t run fast enough was a feature of the local industry.
In 2015-16, 104 greyhounds were put down for not racing.
Last financial year that fell to seven.
Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia said he expected that to drop to zero this financial year off the back of a new greyhound welfare working group.
Mr Papalia released figures on retired or deceased racing greyhounds for the first time ahead of Racing and Gaming WA’s annual report being tabled next week to highlight the Government’s focus on welfare.
“It’s our intent to be the gold standard in the industry,” he said.
Severe penalties, including suspension, apply for trainers which put down an ex-racing greyhound without first having it assessed by RWWA’s Greyhounds as Pets adoption agency.
Some greyhounds can’t be released to the community because of behavioural issues and are put down. That figure was 53 last financial year, down from 92 the previous year.
But overall the number of greyhounds re-homed, either by GAP or other adoption agencies, rose 50 per cent last financial year to 691.
GAP team leader Lauren Savage said greyhounds made gentle, affectionate pets.
“They adapt really well to home environments and a lot of that is to do with racing exposure because they’ve been handled by such a variety of people,” she said.
It is illegal for greyhounds to be off their leash at any public dog parks because of their propensity to take off.
GAP typically charges about $350 for a sterilised, microchipped greyhound.
RWWA director general Richard Burt said greyhound racing was a “niche industry” in WA. “Three tracks, small number bred, high rehoming rates and no live baiting. I say that hand on heart,” he said.
Paul Papalia with Jake at Greyhounds as Pets.