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Greyhound groups racing to find homes

Between the shaky economy and track closings, greyhound rescue organizations are hard-pressed to find enough homes for the growing number of dogs exiting the racing industry.

The weakened economy has led some prospective owners to back out of their adoption plans, and led some who have adopted greyhounds to return them.

“There have been a lot of stress-related returns with people losing their houses or their jobs and more adoption groups are reporting new adoptions are down,” said Michael McCann, president of The Greyhound Project Inc., a Boston-based nonprofit that provides support and information to greyhound adoption organizations and the public.

McCann blamed the economy primarily, but the Massachusetts ban on greyhound racing — voters approved a referendum that will lead to the closing of two tracks there by Jan. 1, 2010 — is a big factor, too.

“With some tracks having several hundred dogs, they have to go somewhere,” McCann said. “Some of them can go to other tracks, but many of them are ending up needing to be adopted.”

Many of the estimated 300 adoption groups nationwide are seeing increases in returns of adopted greyhounds and declines in new adoptions, according to an Associated Press report.

The problem is compounded by more racetracks closing — at least seasonally — in the face of increased competition from casino gambling and the general economic slowdown, McCann said.

McCann said the problem is not confined to the continental United States. The recent closure of a racetrack in Guam left about 150 dogs needing homes, and animal rescue officials have been contacting U.S. groups for help.

“They may have to be destroyed if there is no place else to go,” McCann said.

Greyhound Rescue, Inc. places greyhounds in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington D.C.

Other greyhound rescue groups include the Greyhound Project Inc,Triangle Greyhound Society, Queen City Greyhounds, or Greyhound Friends Inc.

(Photo: Courtesy of Greyhound Rescue, Inc.)


Comment from bluhawkk
Time November 19, 2008 at 9:25 am

This is criminal. Race tracks should be required to find approved homes for retiring dogs before being allowed to race any dog.

Ideally, all animals sports should be prohibited.

It sickens me to think about these beautiful animals being breed for human pleasure and extinguished once their use is past.

Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time November 19, 2008 at 10:57 am

My first exposure to the whole context of dog rescue came years ago from interacting with rescued Greyhounds. These groups do a wonderful job with rehabilitating the dogs (who often have no social skills) and placing them with good homes. This is disheartening news.