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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

Greyhounds are also man’s best friend

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Russell and his friend Stella. Photo supplied.

Hands up who got a rescue pooch in the last 18 months? Dogs have been changing, supporting and comforting us during our COVID lives, but what does it take to change the life of a dog?

Many humans actually suck when it comes to taking care of our ‘best friend’.

Some dogs are often confined in tiny barren pens or kennels, deprived of human companionship and stimulation for up to 23 hours a day. These dogs are often lucky to make it to five years of age, rather than their full life expectancy of 14 years. No, this isn’t another country, this is Australia. A country that prides itself on high standards when it comes to animal welfare.

These animals are greyhounds – the dog that seems to fall outside our community duty of care. Dogs bred for bets, not pets. They’re not in the best ‘friend zone’.

Beautiful and intelligent

17, 000 greyhounds are killed every year Australia wide – that includes 8,000 puppies.

One local couple decided that they were going to try to change the life of one dog – Russell and his partner Brenda adopted Stella, a beautiful and intelligent four-year-old ex-racing greyhound.

Russell says they have always owned dogs. ‘When 4 Corners broadcast a show around the greyhound industry my partner and I decided that our next dog needed to be a greyhound.’

Russell and Brenda did their research on the industry and were both appalled. ‘The first reports came out that said 17, 000 greyhounds are killed every year Australia wide – not just the track, but through breeding as well,’ said Russell. ‘That includes 8,000 puppies.’

Hypocrisy in our society

‘One of the things that gets to me is that it exemplifies the hypocrisy in our society’, says Russell.  ‘We don’t look after greyhounds because they are a commodity that brings revenue and votes.’

Sadly, most greyhounds breeders see dollars not waggy tails and licky tongues.

After four months with Stella, Brenda and Russell are sold. ‘Greyhounds are sweet – they’re such a Byron dog! They are chilled and they don’t take “shit” laughs Russell.

Stella looks to Russell constantly. She’s gentle and keen for a pat. ‘She has enormous separation anxiety,’ says Russell. ‘A lot of Greyhounds don’t know basic things like walking towards a glass door, they walk into it. Some of them can’t walk up steps. Stella doesn’t know how to get in a car, she has to be picked up and placed in.’

‘When we got Stella she had a dislocated toe. When you read about them, they all have injuries. She is lucky her internals are good because so many have liver damage, kidney damage from the supplements and the dirty tricks of the trade like tying their leg up before a race which numbs the leg.

‘It’s an appalling industry.’

The 3 3 3 rules for rescues

See me, not money. ‘Death Tracks’ is where many greyhounds end their lives. Photo Animal Liberation.

Russell and Brenda have had great success getting Stella used to her new environment. ‘It’s a 3 3 3 thing with them,’ says Russell on bringing a rescue Greyhound into your home.

‘First three days do nothing, then in three weeks take them for short gentle walks, and at three months they start feeling like they are at home – although she has no recall – she will not come back. They don’t know their names. They aren’t given a name that is them.’

Russell and Brenda got Stella through Friends of the Hound, based in Murwillumbah. ‘There is a constant stream who need rehoming. Every day on Friends of the Hound website is info about more that need rehoming.’

Tweed Mega Track for Greyhounds at Chinderah

There are plans for a Tweed Mega Track for Greyhounds at Chinderah and this Sunday on Zoom, Greens candidate Mandy Nolan is hosting a chat with Greens upper house MP and animal activist Abigail Boyd, Tweed councillor Katie Milne, Minjungbal woman and Traditional Owner Rachel Cavanagh and Denis Anderson from the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds.

The hopes are that one day all greyhounds can revert to being best friends, and not loved or sentenced to death depending on the vagaries of gambling.

To join Mandy and the panel at 5pm on Sunday, to register at: Mandy4richmond.com.au.

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  1. Australia is one of the few countries that still allows greyhound racing – how can we call ourselves a civilised nation? And my question also includes such inhumanities as locking up refugees and asylum seekers. Change, change, change!

  2. No, sadly Australia is a backward country when it comes to animal protection. One of the worst. The Live Export trade, horse racing where horses are whipped to run faster causing internal bleeding, and the use of painful tongue ties; greyhound racing ill-treating and sending dogs to China for the dog and cat restaurant meat trade; the slaughter of kangaroos and joeys; heartbreaking images seen on the news of puppy farms, where dogs and cats are neglected and left suffering in filthy conditions, often amongst the dead bodies of their brothers, mothers and sisters. Baby calves tortured to death in abattoirs; sheep, pigs, and cows meeting the same fate at the hands of depraved slaughter men, all caught on film. The rape of cows and the stealing of their babies to be sent to the abattoirs in the dairy industry. I have spent eight years reading and looking at the internet re animal cruelty as research for my book. Australians love animals, but the rich individuals and politicians who profit from the trade in animal suffering make us all ashamed and distressed.

  3. How depressing to even entertain the thought of a greyhound racing track in our beautiful Tweed valley. We are overwhelmingly a nation of dog lovers and to treat these dogs like the greyhound racing industry does is appalling and a stain on our national character. I don’t understand how killing greyhound puppies needlessly is even legal! It is a cruel redneck sport which should be assigned to the dustbin of history.


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