November 2008


A rescued lurcher called Hot Toddy has been voted as “fittest dog in Northamptonshire” report the Northampton Chronicle today:

Shannon Wyllie with Hot Toddy
Shannon Wyllie with Hot Toddy

“Five-year-old Hot Toddy, a lurcher cross Staffordshire bull terrier, spends hours with his owner Shannon Wyllie, aged 15, walking along canals and running for miles in the countryside.

He also regularly takes to the dance floor with Shannon and enjoys performing party tricks, in particular loading and unloading supermarket trolleys. However, his favourite pastime is playing tug-of-war or fetch.

“I have found a love in working with Toddy, watching him develop and grow. I also find that it is a huge confidence- builder.

“People always comment on Toddy’s non-stop wagging tail and grin.

Hot Toddy qualified for Scruffts – a non-pedigree rival to Crufts – in 2006 in the child’s best friend and most handsome dog categories.

He has also passed his Kennel Club Silver good citizens assessment and has been selected from thousands of applicants to audition for the Top Dog television programme.

The rescue dog is now in the running to be crowned the UK’s fittest dog in Butcher’s Pet Care’s Doggyiators competition.”

Congratulations Toddy and good luck in future competitions 🙂

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This Sunday (16th) Greyhound Action and other campaign groups, met at the Belle Vue greyhound stadium in Manchester for a dignified rememberence service to remember those greyhounds that died at this track and in tracks across the country.

Around 30 supporters and their rescued greyhounds attended the ceremony and held a minutes silence and laid wreaths in memory of 45 greyhounds that died of the track in the last year alone.


Tony Peters, Greyhound Actions UK Coordinator reports on the days events: “Following a national newspaper report a few months ago that Liverpool University was being supplied with the bodies of young greyhounds by a Lincolnshire breeder, a request was made to the university to provide information in relation to greyhounds that had been used for research.

“The university’s reply revealed that Belle Vue Stadium was also a major supplier of greyhound corpses and the revelations are shocking in several different ways.”

“Firstly, they show just how dangerous greyhound racing is for the dogs. 38 of the 45 greyhounds were “put down” following death or injury, often serious, at the track.

“Secondly, they reveal just how little the racing industry cares about the greyhounds it uses. Seven of the dogs put to death had not been injured and even those that were seriously injured could have lived comfortably for many more years, after receiving veterinary attention.

“Sadly, however, because the injured greyhounds were no longer of any use for racing, their lives were unceremoniously extinguished.

“Thirdly, because Belle Vue is just one of 28 major greyhound stadiums in Britain, they point to the likelihood that a total of well over 1,000 greyhounds are being put to death annually at the country’s tracks.”

“Figures released by the industry lead us to the conclusion that about 15,000 young greyhounds, sometimes less than a few months old, are “put down” each year after being adjudged unsuitable for racing on British tracks.

“This means that, all in all, the existence of a stadium like Belle Vue leads to the killing of well over 500 greyhounds annually.

“Even though the majority of these greyhounds never even get to race, the tracks are still responsible for their fate, as they have created the demand for the dogs to be bred in the first place.

“It is for this reason that we are calling for an end to the greyhound racing industry. Commercial
greyhound racing has been banned in nine US states in recent years and there is no reason why that shouldn’t happen here, through the simple measure of making it illegal to place or accept bets on dog races.

“In the meantime, we are urging the public not to attend or bet on greyhound racing, so that this death-industry fades away through lack of financial support.

To read the full interview by UK Indy Media click here: LINK

All businesses have to compete for revenue, and in these times of global financial crisis gambling venues are finding it tough. Greyhound racing in America is starting to lose out to casinos, football, horse racing and slot machines and poker within their own racing stadia.

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Cincinnati.com revealed today that:

“The number of greyhounds registered in the racing industry has dropped from a high of 39,139 in 1993 to 20,227 in 2007. 2008 is on track to drop below 20,000, according to a National Greyhound Association registry.

With fewer greyhounds being bred for racing, that should be good news for those worried about the fate of the dogs. But a weak economy and increased gaming competition are putting a squeeze on the industry, which means even fewer dogs are needed.

Consumer spending on greyhound racing has fallen from $697 million in 1990 to an estimated $305 million in 2006, according to Christiansen Capital Advisors, a consulting agency that analyzes the gambling and entertainment industries. During the same period, casino spending grew from almost $2 billion to $34 billion.

“In Florida, the retirees and vacationers are going to the race track but they’re not betting on the dogs, they’re playing poker,” Horan says.”

However a poor economy is also affecting the greyhond rescue groups:

“Although the number of adopted greyhounds has steadily risen – about 26,500 were adopted in 2007, compared to about 20,000 in 2005, according to the NGA – some adoption groups are faltering with the weak economy as well. Several rescue farms near tracks have shut down, says Joan Buck, who oversees Queen City Greyhounds’ local adoptions.”

To read the full article click here: LINK

Cincinnati greyhound rescue Queen City Greyhounds, has taken in 34 dogs from the states tracks. Cincinnati.com reports:

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Through Queen City Greyhounds, Mark Wells and his mom, Ellen, foster Dixie, a former racer known as Death Star

“On Nov. 4, Massachusetts residents voted to ban dog racing by 2010. The Woodlands Dog Track in Kansas City, Kan., closed in September, and in October, Queen City Greyhounds took its largest group of dogs – nine animals.

But for these greyhounds – which have been deemed too slow, old, sick or injured to race – there’s a lot to learn, and unlearn, on the journey from the regimented life of racing to the less restricted, yet unfamiliar, life of a pet.

Michael and Carole Walsh’s home often serves as Queen City Greyhounds’ intake area.After being bathed and microchipped, each dog is placed with a foster to see how it adjusts to life in a family and a home.

Unfamiliar surfaces are always a challenge for the dogs. It took Boomer Tempo about a week to master the slippery laminate floor in foster handler Karen Hammerling’s kitchen. Death Star – a retired racer from a “Star Wars”-themed litter – is recuperating from a broken back leg and is afraid to attempt the steps in first-time foster Ellen Wells’ Hamilton home.

Although some dogs have families waiting for them, most have to wait for an adoption to be approved, and sometimes families aren’t prepared to meet a greyhound’s specific needs.”

To read the full article please click here: LINK

After winning the refernedum to ban greyhound racing in their state, Massachusetts greyhound rescues are giving a big push to get retired greyhounds rehomed.

The Worcester Telegram (USA) reports on their efforts and potenital difficulties in the light of the ban:

“Observers might expect that tracks and rescue groups would have a contentious relationship. Those in the rescue business have worked hard to make sure that is not the case, however, even as politically active animal welfare organizations have fought to end racing. To ensure access to dogs that are discarded by the tracks, many rescuers stayed out of the battle over Question 3, the ballot initiative that passed on Nov. 4, ending dog racing in Massachusetts in 2010.

Louise Coleman, founder and director of Greyhound Friends, spent years building a working relationship with owners and trainers at the Wonderland and Raynham/Taunton tracks in Massachusetts and the Belmont, Seabrook and Hinsdale tracks in New Hampshire. Greyhound Friends finds homes for roughly 350 dogs a year. The success of Question 3 will not end the need for greyhound adoption services, Ms. Coleman said. She takes dogs from kennels in the Midwest and abroad, where racing continues.

“Greyhound Friends sees our role as part of the adoption process and not political,” Ms. Coleman said. “We’re not a lobbying group. We’re an adoption group.”

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Sandra L. Jepsen, kennel manager, brushes one of the greyhounds at Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton.

It costs $1,000 a day to run Greyhound Friends; all of the funding comes from grants and private donations. Ms. Coleman and Ms. Jepsen are the only full- time employees. Mr. Melhado serves as the volunteer coordinator of approximately 60 volunteers who, among other things, clean the facility, walk dogs, and conduct “meet and greets” at pet stores and events to recruit potential owners.

“They’re hounds; they’re lazy dogs,” Ms. Coleman said with a laugh. “They like to lie around a lot. They survive at the track because they’re used to lying around.””

To read the full article click here: LINK

In the wake of the Nov 4th referendum on greyhound racing in Massachusetts and the impending racing ban as of Jan 1st 2010, dog track workers are still angry and bitter about the result.

The Taunton Daily Gazette (USA) revelas: “Closing the state’s two dog tracks will leave an estimated 650 people jobless in Raynham and another 200-300 others out-of-work at Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere.

Many workers expressed a sense of betrayal that they were losing their paychecks and health insurance to a ballot vote. They wondered why Gov. Deval Patrick did nothing to try to sway public opinion against the question.

“Nobody did anything wrong. The kennel owners love their dogs,” 27-year old Lilly Rempel-Elliot, who works in the accounting office, said. While Raynham faces a loss of a half million dollars in gambling and property tax revenue and could be looking at job furloughs, local sympathy was for the workers.”

Campaigners won the vote by 56 % and were delighted with the outcome: “The Committee to Protect Dogs xecutive director Carey Theil called it “a victory for everyone in the Commonwealth who cares about dogs.”

“Voter have sent a clear message that we will not tolerate an industry that causes thousands of dogs to endure lives of terrible confinement and many to suffer serious injury,” he said. “Tonight’s vote means that this cruelty will finally come to an end.”

However the fight is not over yet: ” Legislatures may repeal, amend or delay it, as they did for tax rollback and election financing measures. The size of the popular vote makes that prospect unlikely. On Jan. 1, 2010, dog racing will become history in this state.”

To read the full article click here: LINK

On Nov 11th we posted news of campaign group Grey 2K USA possible new bid to end greyhound racing in New Hampshire, neighbouring state to Massachusetts where they won a referndum to end racing there by 2010.

Today Seacoast Online have published an update and more information on the proposed campaign in New Hampshire.

Top Photo

Greyhounds compete at Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere, Mass., one of two in the state where racing will be banned by 2010.

The report explains: “”We’re obviously pretty excited with what voters decided in Massachusetts,” said Paul LaFlamme, who serves on the board of directors of Grey 2K USA. “By the same token, what’s right in Massachusetts isn’t necessarily right in New Hampshire.”

Grey 2K USA of Somerville, Mass., initiated the ballot question to ban greyhound racing in Massachusetts by 2010. Massachusetts passed the law by voter referendum. In New Hampshire, legislators would have to get onboard with a bill.

Seabrook, Hinsdale and Belmont in New Hampshire have live greyhound racing.

“The Grey 2K group has filed a bill in the past in the Legislature in New Hampshire,” said James Carney, general manager of Yankee Greyhound Inc. in Seabrook. “We defeated the bill last time. We will anticipate we will be facing another challenge in the state.”

Carney defended greyhound racing in New Hampshire by stating:

“The Seabrook track offers greyhound adoption through Retired Greyhounds as Pets on site.”

“Yankee Greyhound Racing is a no-kill racetrack, and we would never put down an animal unless it was inhumane (not to do so),” Carney said. “We have one of the finest greyhound compounds in the United States; we have wonderful facilities.”

LaFlamme said in 2004 he successfully introduced a bill on record-keeping for greyhound injuries at racetracks.

“I don’t think it’s about ending greyhound racing,” said LaFlamme. “It’s about protecting the dogs. We found a significant amount of injury and different things going on at the track to the point I said, this just isn’t right.”

One bill to consider, he said, could be to make sure dog cages are of a minimum standard size large enough for the animals to get exercise.

The dogs are kept in cages for up to 20 hours at a time, said Diane Sullivan, a professor of law with the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, Mass., who specializes in animal cruelty.

“I have always felt the whole practice is cruelty to dogs, even though it’s not prosecuted as cruelty,” Sullivan said. “I’m thankful this passed. Many people have asked, will New Hampshire be next? I hope so. Otherwise, people will just go over the border.”

To read the ful article click here: LINK

We wish Grey 2K USA all the best of luck in getting the bill passed, or at least in securing better welfare conditions at the existing tracks.

At 4am last night we picked up our two new fosters, Torri, a whippet girl, and Sunny, a whippet/collie cross.

They both came from Cork Dog Action Welfare Group in Co.Cork Ireland, who do a fantastic job at rescueing and rehoming greyhounds and lurchers from Ireland to the UK and as far as the USA 🙂

They will soon be off to Sighthound Rescue Jersey for adoption and wonderful new lives.

Many thanks to DAWG for bringing them to the UK and to the Jersey rescue for rehoming them.

Torri

Torri

Sunny

Sunny

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