Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Catching up: disappointing racing Greyhound regulations

Hello all!

You might not have realised it from the stream of planned posts, but I've actually been away for a couple of weeks. Alternatively you might have noticed and felt abandoned - not to mention missing me terribly - in which case, fear not! I'm back. *grin*

I've cleared out my inbox, run around our social networking sites to say hello and greeted our regulars on DoggySnaps, so I've spent some time reading up on the latest doggy news. One regular stop is, of course, the blog of our Chief Executive, Clarissa Baldwin, who had some disappointing news:

The latest Association of Dogs and Cats Home (ADCH) meeting fortuitously took place in Dublin which gave me an opportunity to check on the progress of our new Rehoming Centre.

[see the full post to read more about ADCH]

Unfortunately the week ended on a disappointing note as we finally received the Consultation into the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations. Despite all our recommendations, the proposed regulations will not protect Greyhounds from cradle to grave. By focusing purely on the welfare of dogs at tracks, the consultation fails to address the issue of the 1000s of dogs which routinely disappear before their racing career has started or when they are retired from racing at 4-5 years. We will be feeding back our disappointment to Defra and submitting our evidence about what needs to be done to better protect Greyhounds as part of the Consultation.

Anyone who's visited a Dogs Trust centre or who has started their search for a dog on our website will know that we do get a lot of ex-racing Greyhounds. These have to be some of the most misunderstood dogs on the planet; for example, far from needing a lot of exercise they're couch potatoes who are often well-suited to less active owners (though they do need daily walks and a short run).

More misconceptions arise when people see muzzled Greys in the park. Although some ex-racers need to be walked muzzled, don't be fooled; this is so they are kept apart from small dogs, cats, squirrels and the like as their chase instinct has been finely honed for the track. With people, they're commonly very gentle family dogs (don't forget, racers have human handlers, after all!) and as they're used to canine company they sometimes prefer to live with other similar-sized dogs. Greyhounds who haven't been trained to chase small furries can also often live very happily with small dogs, cats and the like, just like any other well-socialised and trained dog, whatever the breed or crossbreed.

Nikki the ex-racing Greyhound (pictured) is currently looking for a home with attentive owners and, preferably, another dog. Find out more.

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