Mandurah Coastal Times

Injuries dog sport

- 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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