GRNSW announce water in race kennels to become mandatory

GREYHOUND Racing NSW has announced it will become mandatory to provide greyhounds with water in their kennels at race meetings across the state from February 20, 2017.

The authority body has stated that it will supply the water, however, owners and handlers will be responsible for supplying a water bowl for every greyhound that is either racing or trialling at a race meeting.

The new requirement has been met with mixed reactions from trainers since it was introduced as a trial at The Gardens in December and as a voluntary transition period, commenced in January.

Hunter Valley trainer Natasha Benhard was one of those who was apprehensive about providing water in the kennels prior to racing, but says she hasn’t observed any negative side effects.

“We were concerned prior to using them that the dogs were going to get hooked up in the buckets and whether or not they would be able to get the water with their American muzzles on,” Benhard said.

“On top of that we didn’t really want the dogs drinking too much water prior to them racing – we were concerned that they may get a little bit bloated before the race which may make them sick.

“We started using the water buckets and we have found that the dogs aren’t drinking much water – probably because they all have a drink prior to kennelling when we arrive at the track.”

Despite this, Benhard was still of the opinion that the provision of water in race kennels should be optional as she believes greyhounds are sufficiently hydrated prior to competing.

“We are still of the opinion that it should be up to the trainers if they want to use them – especially for dogs in the early races – it shouldn’t be a thing that you have to do,” she said.

“I don’t think any of the dogs are dehydrated prior to the race – and if they are concerned about it surely it would be something the vets should pick up on when they are going over the table during kennelling.

“We probably wouldn’t have used it if we didn’t have to because, like most trainers, we make sure the dogs are well hydrated before kennelling and they always get a good drink after the race.”

Benhard said at the end of the day it wasn’t a major concern for her moving forward, stating it is just another new procedure which needs to be accepted as a part of the sport.

“It’s something which has come in since the industry has had to make all these changes and I think it is just something to keep other people happy,” she said.

“We haven’t had a negative experience – but as I said its probably not something we would have done if we didn’t have to do it.

“It’s one of those things that if we want to continue racing we are just going to have to do it.”

Trainers and handlers who do not provide water bowls for their greyhounds will be reprimanded, with both a second and third offence resulting in a $100 fine. A fourth offence will require trainers and handlers to front a stewards’ inquiry.

Past Discussion

  1. GRNSW race day hydration policy states that the trainer must remove the empty bottle (that has been provided )from the race bay after kenneling the greyhound and filling it’s water bowl.It then states that post race the trainer must replenish the water bowl with their water bottle when re-kenneling. It does not state what we can put in that water bottle for post race hydration. 

    Most trainers will add electrolytes or other substances to their dogs post race hydration. A lot of dogs look forward to this post race routine, some I believe even see it as a reward. 

    GRNSW needs to clarify the post race section of this policy so not to agitate trainers that might have their dogs post race routine turned upside down. 

  2. Personally, I don’t like being forced to do something that I don’t believe in.  GRNSW has always played the ‘evidence based’ card and to that end, I want them to show us the evidence on which they based their decision, and by that, I don’t mean that wacky SA University study that showed dots that were all over the page.

    The last 3 meetings that my dog has raced at were Dapto and Richmond (twice).  Neither of those two tracks were subject to the water trial.  What the Stewards were doing though, is weighing the dogs as they were being kenneled and again, just prior to the race.

    What I would like to see is a proper analysis of weight discrepancy from the time of kenneling to just prior to race time of weights of Greyhounds that participated at The Gardens, where, the Water Trial took place, and those that raced at other tracks without water in the kennel.

    GRNSW claims that it will be transparent in its dealings and it should therefore pose no problem to publish the results of both sets of evidence together with evidence of any Greyhound that suffered the ill effects of dehydration before applying the Water Rule and forcing it down our throats with the threat of fines and/or subsequent disqualification.

    I am all for animal welfare, but please, lets have some common sense utilised by our Administraters.

  3. Imagine the scenario, interstate dogs come for the Easter Egg. No water required interstate. Now must have water in kennel in NSW. Gulps the water or injures itself on the bucket. Late scratching. Hello lawsuit!!!

    The stupidity is astounding.

  4. Deborah555 I agree. Most transport companies have these type bowls in their trailers. 

    The only thing I’m dirty about is we can’t use our own fluids post race. We can only use the bottled water supplied. Also, this policy hasn’t been posted on the feedback section of the dogs website. 

    Yet again trainers input is deemed as unnecessary. 

  5. Trevor H Deborah555  Yes I agree we are never consulted but in this case if a dog is in a late race that is a long time for a dog to be without water especially if they are an excitable type. Using water supplied and sealed in a container inside the kennel house I think is also a good idea as it makes it very convenient and hygienic to put water in the container for your dog. You can always give them a drink with whatever fluids you use at the end of the meeting before you put them in the car or dog trailer to take them home- that’s what I do. With the excitable types they drink a lot more if they have had time to cool down and relax a bit. If they consulted me I would tell them I think the containers need to be 500mls not 250mls. 250 mls even in a small container is not deep enough for a dog to really get into if they are thirsty.

  6. Trevor H  PS the first time I did not give my dog water but they did weigh her and the others before they went on the track  and she had lost  weight ( because she pants and is very excitable) the next time I put water in her kennel and she had lost less weight so in her case it did help.

  7. Deborah555 Trevor H Hi, Deb and Trevor, I believe a lot of peoples concerns centre mainly around security or the dog being injured in the raceday kennel by getting caught up in the bucket, or the dogs laying on wet bedding if the water is spilt for long periods. Not so much over drinking the water itself.

    Unless things have changed country NSW tracks do not have CCTV in their kennels and on some TAB tracks cameras do not film the individual kennel bay areas.

    The way to limit this would be to make pre-race and post race optional as eluded to by Natasha Benhard in the article.

    “We are still of the opinion that it should be up to the trainers if they want to use them – especially for dogs in the early races – it shouldn’t be a thing that you have to do,” she said.

  8. Bluestone Deborah555 Trevor H  My concern  Bluestone was about the dog being caught up in the bucket as my dog is very excitable- but she was fine. As for wet bedding well given how hot it is at the moment that wasn’t a concern  however it might be in the winter. I think it will be necessary for kennel staff to check that dogs are okay in kennel houses where no security cameras are available. In early races it is probably not necessary but I think overall it is a good idea especially for dogs in late races. Plus if all dogs have water available then the punters know that every dog is under the same conditions in the kennel house.

  9. Deborah555 Trevor H The pre-race re-weigh needs attention. Some trainers are re-weighing before emptying, others after emptying. 

    The Race Day Hydration Policy states that if a dog is down 1.5% in weight  (0.45kg at 30kg) the on course vet will inspect the dog and make a determination. 

    If I have a dog in a late race I will re-weigh before emptying to avoid the vet making the call.Problem is the dog is probably busting because he’s been in the kennel for four hours. 

    Trainers are not idiots. The board should involve trainers in feedback on this policy so it  can be refined.

    The policy as a whole is a great idea,it’s implementation shows an amateurish application.