Greyhound racing may seem like a harmless sport, but life in the fast lane is no picnic for these overworked dogs. Every year, thousands of young and healthy Greyhounds are killed merely because they lack winning potential, were injured while racing or are no longer competitive. Life is hard for those who make the grade—they spend long hours in cramped kennels and are deprived of normal social contact and adequate care. While Greyhound racing has declined sharply in recent years as people become more aware of the horrors associated with this sport, there are still more than 20 tracks operating in the U.S.
How are Greyhounds housed at the tracks?
Housed at commercial racetracks, the dogs spend the majority of their lives in confinement—stacked in warehouse-style kennels for 20 or more hours per day. The cages are just large enough for the dogs to stand in. Most of the enclosures are not heated or air-conditioned, causing the short-coated dogs to suffer during severe weather temperatures. Many dogs suffer from fleas, ticks and internal parasites.
Is racing itself dangerous for Greyhounds?
Yes. Each year, thousands of these dogs are seriously injured during races. Injuries include severed toes, broken legs, spinal cord paralysis, broken necks and cardiac arrest. And because so many dogs are kept in close quarters, contagious respiratory diseases can sweep through kennels, affecting both racing schedules and adoption efforts when a kennel is quarantined.
What happens to Greyhounds when they can no longer race?
While Greyhounds may live 13 or more years, they are usually 18 months to 5 years old when they are retired from racing. Many are deemed unfit to race after an injury, some have little desire to race, while others are no longer fast enough to be profitable. While some of these dogs are retired and sent to rescue groups, others are simply killed or returned to breeding facilities to serve as breeding stock.
Is Greyhound racing legal in all states?
No. Greyhound racing attendance is dwindling nationwide as states pass laws ending or phasing out Greyhound racing and the public chooses not to participate in this cruel enterprise. Part of the decline of Greyhound racing can be attributed to the dramatic loss in profits—gaming facilities are losing money on these races, and state governments often wind up having to spend more to regulate the sport than they get back in revenue. As of 2015 Greyhound racing is illegal in 39 states and tracks are operating in only seven states. Please visit the website of our friends Grey2K USA to see a map showing the legal status of dog racing in all 48 continental U.S. states.
What can I do to help?
There are many ways you can help end the Greyhound racing industry:
- Do not attend Greyhound races.
- Educate family and friends about the animal welfare problems and safety concerns related to Greyhound races.
- Consider adopting a retired Greyhound and encourage people you know to do the same. Greyhounds make wonderful family pets. The dogs can be found at rescues and shelters.
- Work with the ASPCA to pass legislation that prohibits Greyhound racing. Stay up-to-date about current legislation to end Greyhound racing by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.