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Greyhounds Get a Second Chance

By: Tracy Grinnell

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Going on vacation to visit my grandparents in Florida often included a trip to the dog track (or "the dogs" as my grandfather would call it). My grandfather's company and all the noise and excitement always made it a special day for me. Mostly, I loved watching the sleek canines run like bandits. To me it was a game and I thought of these animals as pets that would - at the end of the day - go home to their respective families to live like my dog did. Never did I think about life for these dogs after their days in the fast lane were over for good.

The Afterlife of a Canine Athlete

According to the Greyhound Rescue Adoption Team, Inc. located in Buffalo, N.Y., there are 49 operating greyhound tracks in 15 states, with Florida having the most. Most tracks keep their greyhounds in kennels where the dogs spend the majority of their off-track life living, eating, breathing, sleeping and being cared for within the kennel walls. Usually dogs are only let out once every 6 hours to relieve themselves and are raced only every third day. According to the New Jersey Greyhound Adoption Program, Inc. (NJ GAP, Inc.), by as early as ages 2 to 5 years, most greyhounds are retired from their athletic activities (usually because they can't run fast enough) and must be removed from the kennel to make room for a new generation that will follow in their forerunners' fast footsteps.

If greyhounds aren't rescued from kennels for adoption by the public, they're usually euthanized, but some suffer worse fates such as abandonment. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), 30,000 to 50,000 greyhounds are killed each year.


Hear Their Story, See their Plight

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