It is important to have a whole-of-life plan for your racing greyhound, including planning for retirement from racing because the long-term welfare of your greyhound is paramount.
Greyhounds have become popular pets
More and more Australians are becoming aware that greyhounds not only have a placid nature, but they are excellent companions which don’t require a lot of exercise and are happy to spend most of the day sleeping.
An increasing number of people living in and around Melbourne’s CBD are adopting greyhounds as pets as they are extremely well suited to apartment living.
Encourage your friends or family to adopt a greyhound as a pet once it’s retired from racing.
Re-homing should be the first consideration
If you are an owner, Greyhound Racing Victoria encourages you (or one of your fellow owners if your greyhound is owned by a syndicate) to consider adopting your greyhound as a pet once it is no longer a racing greyhound. Or you might consider encouraging your friends or family to adopt your greyhound as a pet once it’s retired.
Surrendering greyhounds to shelters and pounds
Section 6.5.1 of Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds (Code) details five approved options for participants wishing to rehome a greyhound. One option is to surrender a greyhound to a registered shelter.
In this section, the Code clearly states that greyhounds must not be surrendered to a (council) pound. Participants should understand that if a greyhound is surrendered to a pound, all participants connected to the greyhound (i.e. the racing owner AND the “person in charge”) will have breached the Code and, therefore, all connections may be subject to prosecution under the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
Some shelters also offer pound services for difference councils; for example, the RSPCA and Lost Dogs home are registered shelters but are also pound services for a number of different councils. It is easy for participants to unknowingly breach the Code when surrendering a greyhound to shelter, if they not aware that the facility also operates as a pound for local council(s).
To avoid making this mistake, both the racing owner and the person in charge should find out if their chosen shelter also offers pound services and, if so, which council(s) they service. This is important to know because where both of you live determines whether the facility is a shelter or a pound for either of you.
Further, participants should be aware of, and be sensitive to, community expectations and the reputational risk for greyhound racing when greyhounds are surrendered to RSPCA facilities, particularly those in metropolitan Melbourne, even when those facilities are considered a shelter for participants based on where they live.
What is a registered shelter? It is a facility registered as a shelter and offers temporary care to dogs and cats for the specific purpose of rehoming. Shelters can legally refuse to accept any animal.
So, what is a pound? A registered facility funded by local councils, on behalf of their ratepayers and residents, to temporarily hold stray, surrendered or abandoned dogs and cats until they can be reunited with their owners, or rehomed if there is no owner for them to return to. All animals surrendered by ratepayers or residents of the council(s) serviced by the pound facility MUST be accepted.
How do I find out who my local council is? For those who own their property, your rates notice is issued by your local council provides that information. Otherwise, identify the local council you live in by visiting https://knowyourcouncil.vic.gov.au and entering your address.
How do I make sure I select a shelter that is NOT also a pound? For all participants connected to the greyhound, know which council area you live in. Ask the shelter if they are a pound for any of the councils lived in, or visit the council websites to search for the name and/or address of their pound service (look under the Lost and Found Pets area in the Pets and Animals section). If you are still unsure call the Council offices.
I’m the former trainer of a dog that the owner has asked me to rehome for them. I’ve found a place I can use because the pound service it runs is not for my local council and it is a registered shelter. Does it matter where the owner lives? Yes, because both of you are responsible for the greyhound’s surrender under the Code. You will need to find out what council the owner lives in, and then make sure the facility is not also the pound for the owner’s council before surrendering the greyhound, otherwise you will have breached the Code.
Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP)
The Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP), run by Greyhound Racing Victoria, finds homes for hundreds of retired greyhounds each year. Go to the GAP website for re-homing and adoption information.
Visit GAP at gap.grv.org.au