By Scott Hunt
The Dog Grumbler
WHEN you love dogs as I do and you think about the thousands put down weekly in Australia, it’s hard not to despair.
On the one hand, dogs are being bred and inbred in their thousands for profit.
They are often bought by people who have no understanding of the animal’s needs or indeed the benefits or responsibilities of dog ownership.
On the other hand, there are people and organisations dedicated to reducing the terrible suffering inflicted on our best friends.
Breed-wise, surely it’s the noble greyhound who has drawn the shortest straw; who bears the brunt of human indifference.
Greyhounds are bred to race and those that aren’t fast enough don’t have much to look forward to.
They are large dogs and take up lots of space, which reduces their chances of being re-homed.
Added to this, we choose to apply archaic laws to those that try to rescue them.
I was surprised to read that the only breed scientifically found to have a potential violent streak is the daschshund, but they are not required by law to be muzzled.
They are not required by law to be on leash at all times in public, even in off-lead areas.
The greyhound is said to be the oldest pure dog breed.
They are gentle-natured animals and usually receive no early learning so that when they are finally discarded for having no profit potential on the track, the ones lucky enough to find homes are confused and nervous.
I know several greyhound owners. They have gentle, noble dogs who benefit from interaction with other dogs, but who rarely know the pleasure of play and never run free.
I heard a story about greyhound owners who get together in secret on a farm and let two or even three greyhounds run and play in a large paddock in secret.
To see these beautiful animals interact without restraint is a wonderful thing, but no photographs are taken.
The people who do this are criminals: no greyhound may be off leash on property not belonging to its owner.
I guess it’s easier to make laws that protect humans than to make laws that protect dogs.
It figures. Who is there to present the dogs’ case? Breeders? Racers? Legislators?
Spare a thought for those who take on the job of rescuing a greyhound.
Stop and say hello if you get the chance — like most dogs they’re good for you, even in small doses.
Spare a thought for those who face the alternative — in their thousands.
As I said in the Black & White Dog Book 25 years ago, I have never met a dog who was born bad but I am often ashamed of my humanity.
Greyhound re-homers make me feel better.
Love is a re-homed greyhound — and the law is an ass.