In­juries dog sport

Mandurah Coastal Times - - FRONT PAGE - Aaron Kirby

THE safety and well­be­ing of Grey­hounds has again been called into ques­tion af­ter two dogs were in­jured while rac­ing at TAB­touch Park Man­durah on De­cem­ber 27.

Coali­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of Grey­hounds WA di­vi­sional man­ager An­drea Pol­lard con­tin­ued to call for a ban on the sport and said the “car­nage con­tin­ues” af­ter three-yearold grey­hounds Aldrich and Leilani’s Lad broke their right hind legs while rac­ing.

“Whilst the gov­ern­ment claims WA has the safest an­i­mal wel­fare-wise in­dus­try in the world, dogs are still be­ing in­jured de­spite re­bate schemes and re­search on how in­juries can be avoided or re­duced by im­prov­ing tracks and run­ning six in­stead of eight dogs,” she said.

"If gov­ern­ments won’t ban grey­hound rac­ing they must en­sure track safety is im­proved."

Aldrich started race nine well but stum­bled late be­fore limp­ing over the line with a bro­ken leg.

The on-track vet di­ag­nosed the in­jury.

In race 12, Leilani’s Lad suf­fered the same in­jury af­ter stum­bling on the back straight and failed to fin­ish the race, but was med­i­cally sta­bilised and trans­ferred to a vet hos­pi­tal for as­sess­ment and treat­ment.

Both dogs are be­ing re­ha­bil­i­tated un­der the RWWA Grey­hound In­jury Full Re­cov­ery Scheme.

Rac­ing and Wa­ger­ing WA (RWWA) an­i­mal wel­fare man­ager

Anna Smet said ma­jor in­juries were un­com­mon while rac­ing but the RWWA was com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing the safety and well­be­ing of grey­hounds.

“A very small pro­por­tion, only 0.5 per cent of grey­hound starters, sus­tain ma­jor in­juries,” she said.

“In the event a grey­hound does sus­tain a ma­jor in­jury, own­ers and train­ers are able to re­ceive fi­nan­cial sup­port to as­sist with vet­eri­nary costs or al­ter­na­tively they are able to sign own­er­ship of the grey­hound over to RWWA’s Grey­hounds as Pets pro­gram, where all vet­eri­nary costs will be cov­ered by RWWA.”

The fi­nan­cial sup­port comes from the RWWA Grey­hound In­jury Full Re­cov­ery Scheme, which con­trib­utes to the cost of help­ing a grey­hound that has been in­jured se­verely enough to need surgery while rac­ing to re­cover.

The scheme was de­signed to pre­vent grey­hounds from be­ing put down be­cause the owner could not af­ford the vet bills.

Ms Smet also said they would con­sider the re­sults of re­search con­ducted by the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy Syd­ney which rec­om­mends straight tracks and fewer dogs run­ning in races to re­duce in­juries and deaths.

“RWWA is con­stantly mon­i­tor­ing new ad­vances in rac­ing tech­nol­ogy and will give con­sid­er­a­tion to adopt­ing ini­tia­tives that have been proven to in­crease safety,” she said.

Many an­i­mal wel­fare groups are firmly against grey­hound rac­ing. The RSPCA es­ti­mates more than 750 dogs are in­jured ev­ery month across Aus­tralia.

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