It seems a far cry from the speed machines we see flying around the race track chasing the mechanical bunny, but greyhounds have been proven to make fantastic and safe family pets.
AustralianRacingGreyhound.com was lucky enough to chat with Dr Beer this week with a simple goal in mind – reminding the public about the many benefits of the Greyhound Adoption Program.
Like many around the nation, Dr Beer was horrified by the live-baiting footage screened by the ABC’s Four Corners on Monday night and she now fears for the public perception of the breed.
“The live-baiting footage was distressing and disgusting for all that viewed it,” she said.
“The footage certainly has the potential to impact the wonderful work of the Greyhound Adoption Program in two ways – firstly by portraying the greyhounds as savage killers, and secondly by suggesting that all greyhounds will have been exposed to this type of ‘training’.
“There is no doubt that some people watching the footage of Monday night will now think of all greyhounds as ‘savage’ and ‘dangerous’.
“During the Four Corners report, Professor Paul McGreevy from Sydney University explained some of the behavioural aspects involved, and attested to the normally placid and lazy nature of the greyhound breed. Unfortunately, his comments are unlikely to have been remembered by viewers once the very graphic footage that followed was aired.”
Dr Beer explained the thorough process in which racing greyhounds are tested and trained to become suitable for adoption.
She stressed the importance of remembering the greyhound is no different to hundreds of breeds of dogs around the globe that have been bred for generations to help in hunting endeavours.
“The Greyhound Adoption Programs across the country will test and assess any greyhound, regardless of whether it has raced 100 times, or if it has never even seen a race track because it has not shown any interest in chasing.
“There are dogs that pass and dogs that fail the national temperament test (which includes a prey-drive assessment) from both of these populations.
“The GAP staff would have absolutely no way of knowing if a greyhound had been exposed to live-baiting practices during its life.
“Even if a greyhound fails the national temperament test, it does not mean that they cannot go on to be a loved family pet, it just means that they need to managed in such a way that they are not a risk to small, mobile animals.”
With the greyhound industry facing its darkest hour, Dr Beer said the Greyhound Adoption Programs would spend countless hours dispelling the myths surrounding the breed. Some of the biggest barriers to new adoptions are the public’s misconceptions about the activity levels, feeding requirements and typical temperament of the greyhound.
Anyone who has owned a retired greyhound, or who has friends or family with one, will attest to the lazy, placid nature of this breed.