With much grief and sadness, we have to announce to all our friends and supporters of Greyhound Compassion, with the tragic news that we have lost our special boy Magic.
Although it is so painful to talk or even write about Magic at this time, we realise that he had such a lot of special friends within you all.
Some of you learned through social media about Magic’s illness and you have really touched our hearts with such kind words and thoughts. It has been overwhelming to us. Everything has happened so quickly and from being given a diagnosis 3 weeks ago, Magic lost his fight against bone cancer and we were left with shock and total devastation at losing such a massive part of our family. He has left his 2 girls Petal and Tess. We know to Tess he was her big brother and as for Petal, he was her confidence and her gentleman to lean on whenever she needed him. Both girls are very quiet and subdued as they also feel a great sense of loss.
Because Magic so willingly became a fundraiser and an ambassador for Greyhounds and Galgos less fortunate than himself we are hoping later to look at a fitting tribute to him to honour his life and his work and to carry on a legacy he has left behind.
Again our thanks go out to you all. Your kindness has meant so much, not only to our dear Magic’s memory but to ourselves. You have given us some comfort as we have said goodnight to our very special boy Magic.
Angela writes warmly about welcoming an ex-racer into her home.
To say that Arthur is the most longed-for dog is the understatement of the century. Since my childhood family dog died in 1998 my heart has literally ached for a dog. Where most women my age get broody for babies, all I ever wanted was a dog. For a long time, the timing wasn’t right. Working full-time and having my own health and mobility issues meant I wasn’t in a position to give a dog everything it needed, and I always promised myself I would never get a dog just to fulfil my needs if I couldn’t meet the dog’s needs.
By the end of 2016, however, the planets were aligning, I was working part-time and mostly from home and my mum was retired and working as a dog walker so could help me as needed – the time was now right for me to get my much longed-for canine companion, the only decision now was what dog to get. Buying was never an option, it would always be a rescue whatever the breed. Greyhounds had been mentioned to me a number of times over the years and having friends who run a greyhound rescue meant I’d seen lots of their posts on Facebook about them. So, after a little more reading about these beautiful 45mph couch potatoes I decided a greyhound was definitely the dog for me and contacted Karen & Dawn.
Karen & Dawn were certain as soon as I contacted them that they could find the perfect dog for me and after one or two considerations they decided that Cushie (as he was then known) was the right boy for me. The home visit was done and preparations for his arrival began. Since my dog was going to be the best dog in the world (as everyone’s dog is to them) I decided he needed a new name, a regal name and so I re-christened him Arthur. On 22nd April 2017 Arthur walked through my front door and firmly into my heart.
The first few weeks were certainly a lesson for both of us. Arthur came to me straight from the racing track and so had literally never set paw in a house before, he had no clue how to behave in a home. Lesson number one for me came about an hour after his arrival when I decided a cup of coffee would be nice only to end up wearing it after being pounced upon carrying it through from the kitchen. Meals for the first week or so, for me, were eaten from the corner of the worktop with my back turned to an eager pooch who thought any food was his food. Arthur, having most likely been group fed up to now practically inhaled his meals, I did find myself questioning once or twice if there had definitely been food in the bowl I’d just put down for him as it disappeared before I had chance to see it.
The first few nights were also very sleepless for both of us. Right up to Arthur’s arrival I had not decided whether he would have a bed and sleep in my bedroom or whether he would sleep in the crate I had set up for him in my spare room (open of course). I went to bed that first night leaving Arthur in the hallway with access to his bed/crate in the spare room, but the second I closed the door the barking started. Each time I went out to him he was more frantic, panting heavily and obviously quite distressed being left alone in this new and unfamiliar place. I decided within less than an hour that I couldn’t possibly leave him in that state and so from the first night and every night since he has slept in my room.
The first sign that Arthur was starting to properly settle was on the 6th night when he came into the bedroom and promptly went to sleep. This was to be Arthur’s best night sleep since he arrived and absolutely my worst. Until now, where ever I went, Arthur followed. If I got up in the night, Arthur followed. If I went to the loo, Arthur waited right outside barking until I reappeared. On this 6th night, that didn’t happen. I got up, Arthur stayed put – eyes closed sleeping soundly. I called his name from the kitchen, he didn’t come. I went and sat next to him, first gently stroking, then more vigorous shaking, Arthur barely opened an eye. The poor boy was exhausted and clearly finally felt at home and ready to have a proper sleep, but in the early hours of the morning, in my very active imagination, I decided he must be seriously ill… dying… Oh my god, I couldn’t even keep this poor dog alive for a week, six days with me and he was dying.
By 4 am I had worked myself in to such a frenzy of panic I decided I had to call someone – my mum. I begged her to come over, explaining Arthur was seriously ill and must be taken to the vet immediately, she wasn’t driving at the time due to a recent surgery so called a taxi and came rushing over. The minute she walked through the door, Arthur, having now had several hours of lovely restful sleep, woke up and went bouncing to the door to meet her. I promptly burst in tears out of sheer relief. That was the moment I knew it. This beautiful boy had well and truly captured every single ounce of my heart. A quick check up at the vet that following afternoon confirmed all was definitely well and Arthur and I settled in to life together. Over the next few months Arthur blossomed. We worked on his manners around the house and he was soon behaving (for the most part) like a gentleman.
Having Arthur has opened up a whole new world for me. I have met and come to know more of my neighbours in the time I have had him than in the 7 years I lived here before he arrived. Having health and mobility problems myself it was always easier to just spend weekends indoors but since Arthur’s arrival I have spent so much more time outdoors, looking for parks and other nice locations to take Arthur, these have to be wheelchair / scooter accessible for me, but we have found so many lovely places to take him. Arthur’s favourite thing in the world is a car ride, the second he realises he is going in the car his excitement is uncontainable, so distance is no object. My main criterion now for looking for somewhere nice to eat out is not what the food is like, but do they allow dogs. Arthur loves nothing more than a ride out in the car, a nice walk in a lovely park followed by a nice pub lunch, where he is always impeccably behaved and always the centre of much attention and admiration.
Arthur is such a beautiful, happy and sweet natured soul. I have read that greyhounds can be standoffish with strangers. Arthur clearly doesn’t know this, he is the friendliest dog I have ever met. Wherever we go he wants to say hello to everyone and they instantly adore him. He also has such a playful and goofy personality, he loves his toys, he has a toy box overflowing with them and when he’s not doing what greyhounds do best (snoozing) he can often be found bouncing round the house with some squeaky toy or another or doing zoomies at 100mph round the garden.
It is difficult to imagine now that Arthur hasn’t been a pet and lived in a house his whole life. He is so settled into his happy little life and routine. He no longer wolfs his food but rather happily saunters over to his dish in his own good time. I can eat with a tray on my knee on the sofa if I want to without even so much as a look from Arthur. Each evening Arthur has a treat at 7 o’clock on the dot (believe me, he reminds me if it’s late), following this, there is a quick visit to the garden for essential business and then Arthur takes himself off to bed. I often pop my head round the door if I’m passing, to be met by one of my favourite sights, a roaching greyhound, fast asleep, all four legs in the air and just a long upside-down bobble nose and grinning teeth poking over the top of the bed, this is a sight that truly melts my heart.
Adopting Arthur was without a doubt the best thing I have ever done. He has completely changed my life and I honestly cannot imagine my world without him. I read an article recently in which the author discussed what she called ‘heart dogs’. She explained it that we will often have many dogs through our lives that we love dearly but most people are only lucky enough only have one ‘heart dog’. This is the dog with which we truly connect, the one that completely and utterly steals our heart, the doggy equivalent of a soul mate. Arthur is most definitely my ‘heart dog’.
Arthur and I had a tough few months at the end of last year, I had a major health scare and had bad news regarding the health of a close family member as well as the threat of redundancy, which thankfully didn’t happen. Arthur also had his own health problems and had to undergo surgery. Thankfully we both came through OK and I am sure this was in no small part due to the love and support we both find in each other. Speaking for myself, I don’t think I could have made it through those months without Arthur. No matter how bad things seem, one look at his face, that long nose and those beautiful big brown eyes and I know that I can make it through whatever life throws at me. I have to for his sake because he needs me too.
We also have a big year ahead of us this year. Arthur needs one more surgery which is coming up in April, hopefully we can then put his health issues behind us. We have also decided that we would like a house with no stairs in the garden and to live nearer my mum (Arthur really loves his grandma and wants to see her more than he already does) and so we have a house move coming up soon too. Despite the stress of moving, I am really looking forward to the move, I know it is going to be better for Arthur and for myself and I am sure he will settle just fine after a day or two, once he knows it’s our new home. Most of all I am just excited for the future and the fact that I get to share it with this beautiful gentle giant of a dog, my gorgeous King Arthur.
The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) published its 2017 injury and retirement/end of life data in March 2018 for the first time since racing was introduced in the UK in 1926. Although given to be complete at the time, the retirement and end of life data transpired by December to be “interim” because of a 6 month lag in “retirement” figures. The GBGB said it would publish updated, final statistics before the end of 2018. They noted that the injury figures (4,837 injuries out of 419,385 “dog runs”) would not change because they are reported in real time at the racetrack.
In the end the GBGB published its final retirement and end of life data in January 2019. The “final” stats showed: 1,100 greyhound deaths within racing in 2017 broken down as per the following tables:
GBGB 2017 “Retirement” Data
Published March 2018
“Final” published Jan 2019
6 Month Lag
|Retained by Owner/Trainer||
|Greyhound Trust / Charity||
|Homed by Owner/Trainer. Put to breeding||
GBGB 2017 End of Life Data
Published March 2018
|“Final” published Jan 2019||
6 Month Lag
|Killed: Treatment Costs/Poor Prognosis||
|Killed: No Home Found||
|Killed: Designated Unsuitable for Homing||
|Put to Sleep: Trackside||
|Put to Sleep: Medical & Other||
|Total End of Life||
Moreover, the CEO of the greyhound regulatory board is quoted as saying that there is a 5,000 “dog clog” languishing in trainers’ kennels whose fate after racing is still unknown. The published GBGB data is not explicit about these greyhounds.
The statistics are heartbreaking, knowing that these poor, gentle greyhounds suffered in the name of gambling and entertainment. This is exploitation and we believe The League Against Cruel Sports is right to repeat its 2016 call for greyhound racing to be “consigned to the ranks of cruel sports which are no longer acceptable”. Please sign and share the petition demanding greyhound racing be phased out in the UK.
Greyhound Compassion volunteers have just returned from an action packed visit to the Protectora y Santuario Scooby in Medina del Campo. The four of us tried to cram as much into the trip as we possibly could.
We did the usual cleaning, hosing, tidying, food preparation and sorting jobs and then tried to complement these with a few extras! So many lovely and friendly galgos were in residence. Scooby is expecting many more galgos to be dumped during the early months of the coursing season (now open) because the hares have a mutated form of myxomatosis. This is bound to increase the numbers of galgos coming into the shelter during the winter as hunts will be aborted, not to mention the suffering of the poor hares.
We persuaded the fund-raising committee to delay a shelter open day by one week so that we could help out. Seemed like a good idea at the time but what we didn’t realise was that the weather would be such a big influence (not quite the “come rain or shine” mentality we are used to in the UK). On the open day the weather was chilly and threatened rain but the dedicated Spanish supporters came along for a tour of the shelter and refreshments.
The Brits introduced the idea of a “lucky dip” for the children and another technical game of skill and nerve for the teenagers. Unfortunately somebody let the recently rescued puppies out for the children just as they approached the “lucky dip” – who could compete with half a dozen appealing puppies?
We raised a few Euros in aid of the shelter but can’t help thinking it would have been better not to have interfered and to have left the organisers to capitalise on the sunny weather one week earlier. Still it was good to showcase the animals and hard work of Scooby. In the same week, the Scooby rescuers had completed the last of several visits to a dog collector to rescue many neglected and ill-treated dogs.
We were really pleased to see that work had started on replacing the dilapidated fencing around the enclosures in the oldest part of the shelter – all 800m around corridors 7 and 8. This will improve immensely the conditions for the galgos in the shelter. It gives the dogs the benefit of natural light and fresh air in their outdoor runs but without a transparent view into each others’ territory, withdrawing the opportunity to antagonise each other, or to dig under the fence to reach the neighbours, or break out and go on a tour of the shelter!
Thank you to all of our donors who helped to make this much needed work possible. We launched in January 2018, appealing for €20,000 for the project and reached the target in September with the work starting in October. Donations came from Greyhound Compassion, Galgos Greys and More (Switzerland & Germany), Scooby’s Slovenian marathon runners in the Medina del Campo half marathon, a Dutch craft circle and their on-line auctions as well as some private donations. Thank you!
Protectora y Santuario Scooby benefits from the many volunteers who visit but we’ve come to realise that the written ground rules do not go far enough in today’s world of instant messaging and interactive communications. With this in mind we helped to make a video at the shelter to remind volunteers to respect Scooby as the home of the animals and to show what value volunteers can add when working at the shelter. The film certainly conveys the message but only after a number of outtakes. We had to contend with puppies tormenting the oldies while they were being cleaned out in the background, galgo needle noses poking into the camera, changing weather, poor scripting and very amateur camera skills on a selfie-stick until a fellow volunteer took over. The final product will certainly serve the purpose and what a laugh we had making it!
Last Tuesday Greyhound Compassion was present at the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG) in Portcullis House, London. The theme of the meeting was, “Greyhound Racing in the UK – An Update on Welfare.”
The meeting focussed on what’s happened since the post-implementation review of The Welfare of Racing Greyhound Regulations was signed off by DEFRA in 2016.
Stakeholders from across the debate provided in-depth contributions to the EFRA Select Committee & DEFRA consultations in 2015-2016 to make the case for a high standard of welfare for the tens of thousands of greyhounds racing on British racetracks.
A significant milestone was reached in March 2018 when the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) published, for the first time in racing’s 92 year history in the UK, injury & end of life data in response to the DEFRA review. The publication was accompanied by a new 5 year Greyhound Commitment from the GBGB.
We went along to hear what has changed since 2016 from the expert panel comprising: Mark Bird, MD, GBGB; Trudy Baker, Chair Greyt Exploitations; Professor Andrew Knight, Animal Welfare & Ethics, Winchester University; Clarissa Baldwin OBE, Chair – Greyhound Forum; Nick Weston, Head of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports.
The GBGB presented its 5 year plan to: drive down euthanasia on economic grounds; cement the Greyhound Commitment; and professionalise the racing industry through apprenticeships. The GBGB added that it would be conducting research into the implications of temperature extremes for racing dogs, acknowledging that racing had continued at the majority of tracks during the “beast from the East” winter and 2018 summer heatwave.
The GBGB pointed to its funding decline. High street bookies closing has meant 20% shaved off of their bottom line. The GBGB ’s overriding theme was one of ambition against the backdrop of independent rescues picking up the pieces – way too little, way too late.
Clarissa Baldwin OBE covered the nobility of the greyhound and the origins of the breed. She openly touched on the failures of the GBGB in the past and acknowledged its attempts to put its house in order, and to engage more responsively with the Greyhound Forum (comprising: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust, Greyhounds in Need, Forever Hounds Trust, Greyhound Trust, The Kennel Club, Wood Green Animal Shelters and RSPCA). She acknowledged that the greyhound deaths on economic grounds must be eradicated, “no place for trainers who consistently put greyhounds to sleep on economic grounds”. Clarissa recognised that the standard for trainers’ kennels is a BSI document available at a cost and, therefore, many trainers are reluctant to purchase it, thinking they could do without it.
All pretty tame, nothing new up to this point of the meeting. Step forward Trudy Baker, Andrew Knight and Nick Weston and it was clear that the GBGB had been defending the indefensible.
Trudy, of Greyt Exploitations, revealed how the GBGB has not complied with its formal agreement with DEFRA because it has not fully published the methods by which greyhounds left racing in 2017. Independent racing, racing abroad and other uses (which would include for research and/or dissection) are missing, yet they are categories on the GBGB Retirement Forms.
Greyt Exploitations also questioned why track fatalities declined rapidly between 2014 and 2017 while the rates for hock and wrist injuries have nearly doubled. It could be that in the face of having to publish death rates, the industry has taken steps to treat more injured greyhounds or it could simply mean that less greyhounds are destroyed trackside by a vet and more away from the track and by unknown methods – which is concerning.
Greyt Exploitations’ own data showed 798 more injuries than the GBGB statistics. Greyt Exploitations illustrated the point of “missing” greyhounds with reference to a Greyhound Star article which noted that Ireland exported 11,034 greyhounds in 2017 predominantly to the UK. In the same year there were 1,497 British bred greyhounds making a total of 12,531 dogs, yet in 2017 only 8,094 were registered to race on GBGB tracks. Where are these 4,437 greyhounds?
We heard from Greyt Exploitations that the GBGB has failed to to obtain UKAS accreditation of trainers’ kennels by its agreed deadline of December 2017. Although the PAS came into effect in December 2017, UKAS confirmed as recently as 25 October 2018 there has been no extension to the scope of accreditation to include trainers’ kennels.
As if there was nothing left to question, Professor Knight blew some very crucial arguments out of the water. He very interestingly touched on “bony remodelling” whereby a racing greyhound’s skeleton adapts to propulsive forces and reabsorbs calcium from some areas and deposits it in others, increasing the chances of bone fractures.
Prof. Knight provided the GBGB with some food for thought if racing is going to continue in the UK and have a better welfare standard:
Nick Weston described how the League Against Cruel Sports is calling for a phased out ban given the GBGB’s failed attempts at reform, calling it “untenable and unacceptable that these animals have died for someone else’s enjoyment”.
We are posting the presentations we could obtain for our readers’ interest. Please do read them, this was a fact packed meeting with some very revelatory material.
The quote of the night goes to Prof. Andrew Knight: “there is misuse of the term euthanasia by this industry, I am going to use the correct term – killing.”
And action point of the night goes to the two MPs who chaired the debate admirably (Andrea Jenkyns and Anna Turley) – both agreed to keep greyhound welfare uppermost on the Parliamentary agenda. Quite a watershed moment for the greyhounds – APDAWG was an occasion for wider dissemination of some of the complexities of greyhound racing and many members of the audience welcomed the informative content.
What a cracking day at PupAid yesterday! Such a warm and relieved atmosphere, one of palpable success – #lucyslaw will come into force on 1 October after a 9 year campaign. A strong team of just a few volunteers, led by Marc Abraham, reached the goal to ban puppy farming having battled the pet industry and the big welfare charities who should have achieved this objective tens of years ago.
Great day for the pointies too, Greyhound Ambassador, Magic, for Quaker Concern for Animals and Greyhound Compassion met up with Josh Burrell @jb-new of Lookdwn.com and joined him on his press pass in the VIP area. Great to meet so many welfare minded celebs and journalists who sympathised with the poor greyhounds within the racing industry, astounded by the GBGB’s own stats that 1,013 “were put to sleep or suffered sudden/natural death”, 25.4% trackside in 2017.
We took a few photos for the ambassadorial album.
Magic – a credit to his rescuers at Greyhound Rescue.
Today Magic, the Greyhound Ambassador for Greyhound Compassion and Quaker Concern for Animals, was invited to visit the “holidaymakers” at St. Mary’s Church’s (Marshalswick) “Holiday at Home” week (6 – 9 August).
“Holiday at Home” is hosted by St. Mary’s Church for parishioners who are 75 and over. The week includes 4 days of activities and excursions, as well as lunches and all refreshments. Monday saw watercolour classes and a beetle drive, yesterday was the visit to a garden centre. Today’s events included a magician’s act in addition to a talk by Greyhound Compassion complete with Magic the greyhound.
Magic took Petal, the galgo, along to tell the holidaymakers about Greyhound Compassion, the link with Quaker Concern for Animals and to talk to them about greyhound racing. He also, without much effort, showed them what fabulous pets greyhounds make. We also covered the plight of the galgos and the work of Protectora y Santuario Scooby in Spain.
It was a really lovely event. The dogs were met with a very warm welcome with great company and a very friendly atmosphere. Magic and Petal seemed to go down a storm too.
We’re really honoured to have the support of Quaker Concern for Animals (QCA) on two initiatives which will help our charitable objectives.
Magic, a rescued racer from Nottingham track, was adopted by one of the Greyhound Compassion Trustees a couple of years ago. He finished racing one Saturday night in March 2016 at the age of 5, having raced 120 times. Now he’s a firm favourite on a different circuit – spreading the word about the plight of racing greyhounds and fund-raising for those less fortunate than him.
So far this year he has given a talk to his local Women’s Institute, presided at the Greyhound Compassion fun dog show, but left the judging to the judge, and has been an Ambassador for many less fortunate greyhounds at 7 Greyhound Compassion flag days. These “meet and greets” are a good way of spreading the word about the vast numbers of greyhounds needing homes and talking to the public about the greyhound racing. They are often surprised that greyhounds race from morning until night so that racing can be streamed to high street bookies and around the internet. The other disturbing fact is that the racing industry published its injury and end of life stats for the first time this year and revealed that 1,013 racing greyhounds were put to sleep or suffered sudden/natural death in 2017, 25% of which took place at the track. There were 4,837 injuries last year.
Magic becomes Greyhound Ambassador for QCA & GC
Magic’s next set of diary engagements will now embrace his new role for QCA – he is to be an official “Ambassador” for greyhounds at Greyhound Compassion’s events and QCA will report on his activities from time to time and contribute to Greyhound Compassion’s charitable projects where possible. These include funds towards subsistence, vet care and kennel maintenance for greyhounds and galgos at Greyhound Rescue (Lincolnshire), Protectora y Santuario Scooby and Limerick Animal Welfare.
Magic’s calendar over the next few weeks includes Greyhound Compassion flag days on 25 August in Welwyn Garden City and on 8 September in Hertford. However, his biggest engagement this summer will be the Greyhound Rescue Sponsored Walk in Pinewoods, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, in memory of Freya. Freya was rescued from greyhound racing a few years ago. She suffered a terrible trauma while racing which meant she could not be homed from the Lincolnshire shelter. One attempt at homing didn’t work out, devastating her adopted family, but it wasn’t to be. Instead she lived her life out at the shelter where she came to trust her carers. She played happily with them but could not face the rest of the world. Sadly she passed away last year. Now Greyhound Rescue is holding a sponsored walk or walk for a donation in her memory.
You Can Sponsor Magic On The Pinewoods Walk In Freya’s memory
If you would like to sponsor Magic on the walk or make a donation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
QCA GETS BEHIND BRISA THE GALGO
The second aspect of our relationship with QCA is about support for a special galgo – Brisa. Brisa was rescued earlier this year as part of a pack of hunting dogs of various breeds including beagles, bassets, fox hounds, terriers, galgos and dogo argentinos. They were held by one man and rented out to hunters on their boar hunting excursions. Protectora y Santuario Scooby rescued all of the 36 dogs from unprecedented circumstances of neglect and animal abuse. Scooby is taking legal action against the pack owner. This was a situation in which dogs were killing each other, sickening evidence of this has been given to the authorities. The dogs were malnourished and on the verge of death, all were covered in fleas and ticks and several have tick borne diseases.
Scooby is appealing for funds to cover the veterinary treatment for the dogs and the costs of mounting a legal case against the perpetrator of the cruelty. We have hope because a previous prosecution brought by Scooby against an owner of neglected horses and donkeys resulted in a 6 month suspended jail sentence and prohibition from owning animals for 2 years. We hope Scooby can be successful in this latest case too.
Brisa is an older lady from the pack and is now living with Fermin Perez of Scooby in special care at his home. The court has placed her in Fermin’s care while the formal complaint is completed. Although Brisa has made progress, she does have Ehrlichiosis and this needs regular treatment with antibiotics (doxycyclilne). Eventually, when she is fit and after the court case, Scooby will be able to spay her.
Although Brisa shows signs of having been a keen hunting dog, she is adjusting to living with the rescued geese and ducks and other animals at Scooby. She is very sweet, quiet, patient and walks obediently by Fermin’s side. She doesn’t have an aggressive bone in her body. The relief she feels to be comfortable, safe and secure is immense.
QCA is going to sponsor Brisa and contribute to the costs of her care, for which we are very grateful.
We wrote to Clarissa Baldwin CBE, Chair of the Greyhound Forum, to ask what advice the Forum has been giving track managers in this heatwave when the guidance to pet dog owners has been to take all precautions to avoid heatstroke.
The response from Clarissa Baldwin CBE (Chair of the Greyhound Forum) acknowledged that the hot weather situation in racing is appalling and assured us that the Forum members were pressing for industry reform. The reply indicated that whilst the hot weather posters were sent to all tracks, there are currently no sanctions on tracks that continue to race when welfare of the greyhounds could be compromised. The Forum is asking for some proper scientific research, a Rule added to the Rule Book and then heavy sanctions on those that disregard it.
We responded by questioning why scientific research is needed when the dangers of exercising dogs in hot weather are already well-known. Indeed the RSPCA website has seasonal advice for dog owners. We also wondered why the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), as the regulator, couldn’t act to change or apply a special regulation in these extreme circumstances. All of this was accepted by the Chair and she informed us that talks were being held yesterday.
In parallel with this email correspondence we discovered that the GBGB had issued hot weather advice yesterday (in full below) which included: the track vet’s advice will be respected and racing managers are advised not to hold 6 bend races during the day. In our view this is not good enough for obvious reasons and implies the track vet’s advice is not always respected.
On the other hand the Irish Greyhound Board has suspended all trials and racing between 10am and 7:30pm (full details below) and has deferred key races. Both IGB and GBGB issued a veterinary advice bulletin about caring for racing greyhounds (both are below). Surprisingly the GBGB advice note indicates that some have advocated putting the greyhound in an open chest freezer. Thankfully the vet has rejected this idea warning of a real risk of freezer burns to the feet and any wetted skin.
It’s good that the IGB has taken these welcome steps and we think the GBGB should follow suit. We are surprised the GBGB has not taken adequate steps especially as yesterday was the first day of the GBGB’s new Chairman, formerly CEO of the RSPCA.
Here we are trying to keep our rescued racers cool in afternoon temperatures of 25º, listening to reports of the Saddleworth Moor fire and reading intermittent bulletins about how to keep the elderly, our children and pet dogs comfortable in these record temperatures. We’re following all the advice reminding us that a dog cools only through his tongue and paws; advising us not to exercise our dogs in the heat of the day or on hot surfaces to avoid burned pads or worse, heatstroke. Having read a particularly gruelling report about heatstroke in dogs and in one particular pet dog in our area who sadly died of heatstroke today after his morning exercise, we checked just what the greyhound racing timetable in the UK for today looks like. We wondered if the tracks might have cancelled some race meetings. After all, if pet owners are not supposed to exercise their dogs in extremely high temperatures, surely greyhounds are not racing at 40mph around tracks at 2pm in the afternoon?
No, it’s worse than imagined, racing started at 10:29am today, probably just as the canine victim of heatstroke died in his local surgery, 20 minutes after arriving there from his morning exercise. The screenshots from the online greyhound racing information reveal that greyhound racing is definitely not being cancelled in this extreme heat.
The races commenced today at 10:29 and finish tonight at 22:45, just as we are starting to follow the TV doctors’ advice about keeping cool at night to ensure we sleep well through a hot and sticky slumber. When cross-referencing the race start times during the day with the weather forecast for the track locations, the temperatures range from 18º (with a “feels like” temperature of 20º) to 27º (with a “feels like” temperature of 28º). The evening to nighttime temperatures range from 19º to 23º, and 16º when the 22:45 race starts.
Isn’t this too much? Doesn’t racing in this extremely hot weather contradict all the advice we’re receiving for our pet dogs and their daily exercise?
Having cross-referenced with the weather forecast, we turned to The Greyhound Commitment announced by the The Greyhound Board of Great Britain on 14 March 2018. You can read The Commitment in full here. How does racing in this week’s hot weather gel with these sections of The Greyhound Commitment?
Doesn’t seem very committed, not much fun or enjoyment for the greyhounds racing in 27º.
Still, a former CEO of the RSPCA joins the Greyhound Board of Great Britain next week as its Chairman. Perhaps on Sunday night he’ll watch the long-range weather forecast for his first week in the job and cancel the racing if the hot weather continues.