How do the dogs get involved in racing?
Racing greyhounds are born on breeding farms which produce thousands of puppies each year. Of these, only a select few will grow to meet racing standards and actually become racing dogs. The rest are destroyed, or are sold to laboratories to be used in experiments.
What is life like for a racing dog?
Racing dogs are not kept as family pets. They’re housed at racetracks in warehouses, and spend the majority of their lives confined in crates - typically for 20 or more hours per day. These crates are only big enough for the dog to stand up and turn around. Most are not heated or air-conditioned during extreme weather, despite their minimal coats. They race 1-2 times per week.
As a breed, Greyhounds love to run. But the nature of racing on a track in a variety of extreme weather conditions with many other dogs puts them at high risk for injury. Thousands of dogs are seriously injured every year, suffering from broken bones, paralysis and death by cardiac arrest. Some test positive for serious drugs, like steroids and cocaine.
What happens when their career is over?
Greyhounds have a natural lifespan of 12-14 years. But their racing careers typically end between 2 - 5 years of age. Some are injured, have little desire to race, or are too slow to be profitable. Up until 1980 all retirees were destroyed. Now some are lucky enough to be placed with a rescue group and finally get to experience life in a home. A few dogs that had highly successful careers are returned back to breeding farms.
What can I do to help Greyhounds?
Every dollar you spend on entertainment is a vote on whether animals are exploited in the process. If you believe greyhounds used in racing are being treated unjustly, don’t attend greyhound races. Choose a form of gambling that doesn’t involve animals. Greyhound racing currently actively takes place in 6 states (AL, AR, IA, FL, TX & WV), and is actually banned in 40 states. (It is legal in CT, KS, OR &WI but there are no tracks.)
There are many rescue groups dedicated to re-homing retired racing dogs. If you’re thinking about adopting, consider a greyhound! Ex-racing dogs can make great family pets and tend to have very gentle and quiet dispositions. Since greyhounds are sprinters instead of endurance racers, they actually require less exercise than most other breeds and tend to be couch potatoes.