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Poorly socialised to life outside of racing, they are bred and trained to chase, and under stimulated for much of their racing lives.Many racing greyhounds live a very insular existence which does not set them up for the transition to domestic homes.Relationships between humans and animals are built on trust, mutual understanding and respect.
The Be A Tree Project, for example, is dedicated to teaching children how to effectively read dog body language to keep them safe.
And it’s true to say that some dogs will enjoy the company of children – others less so.
Yet for as long as they continue to be used by the racing industry, our scrutiny and attention needs to be on all aspects of their care and welfare, at each and every point of their difficult transition.
— Animal activists have been trying for years to put an end to greyhound racing in Florida, one of the country’s most popular spots to watch dogs chase mechanical rabbits round and round a track.
They carry the physical and psychological scars from their former lives, which can make it challenging for them to settle into life as a companion.
Often they have poor dog skills, an inability to regulate their own excitement levels when outside the home, and are fearful of the everyday experiences they encounter as a companion dog.They quite often “freeze” if they become overwhelmed by a situation (rather than opting for fight or flight). After the release of the sobering statistics relating to their racetrack fate, chief executive of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, Mark Bird, commented: “There were 348 dogs this year for whom no home could be found and our mission is to reduce this number to zero.” He added: “Greyhounds make calm, gentle and loveable pets that are excellent with children.” As well as being a hugely sweeping statement – greyhounds are all individual dogs, after all – comments like this are misleading, inaccurate and potentially downright dangerous.No group of dogs can be simply described as “good with children”.As I mentioned, greyhounds tend to passively cope with situations that they dislike (stand still and hope the scary thing goes away) rather than actively making a fuss.In some ways, this is what makes them “good” racing dogs – they don’t complain very much.In their view, the greyhounds were mistreated, subjected to harsh living conditions, then retired with broken bones.On Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly backed a measure that set greyhound lovers scrambling in a new direction: finding new homes for thousands of dogs with no clear future.Racing greyhounds suffered around 5,000 injuries last year, and more than 900 were put down.As many as 257 animals were destroyed at the trackside, another 333 were killed due to the cost of treatment or a poor prognosis, and at least 348 were destroyed because they could not be rehomed.Amendment 13, which proposed banning racing by the end of 2020 and hardened the battle lines between greyhound track owners and animal advocates, passed with 69 percent of the vote.The industry has long been criticized as abusive to the dogs.