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Life after racing for greyhounds

TASMANIA’S Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) has been inundated with enquiries and applications to adopt or foster greyhounds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April, GAP received 47 applications to adopt greyhounds and 23 applications to foster while during that month 18 greyhounds found new forever homes which almost doubled the monthly average.

Racing Minister Jane Howlett said these results were a testament to the work being done by the dedicated GAP team.

“Tasacing is well on its way to achieving its goal of re-homing more than 150 greyhounds annually,” she said.

Ms Howlett said she was delighted to recently visit and see first-hand the important work Tasmania’s GAP was doing at its new GAP facility at Mangalore.

“Tasracing’s first owned and operated greyhound rehoming facility allows the public direct access to better demonstrate to the community the suitability of greyhounds as pets and has allowed Tasracing to increase capacity for GAP greyhounds while providing an emergency shelter option,” she said.

“New welfare rules introduced by Tasracing in March around the retirement of greyhounds provide stronger control around euthanasia and ensure that the responsibility for the health and welfare of the dogs sits firmly with the industry.

“As Minister for Racing, I will continue to advocate for animal welfare across all three codes of racing and I congratulate all those who worked together to make the GAP facility at Mangalore possible.”

In January, GAP relocated its operation to Mangalore which offered the perfect environment for greyhounds that are undergoing transition to pet life.

“Moving into the new adoption centre at Mangalore has been amazing with the dogs enjoying the new sights and sounds as they continue their transition to pet life,” GAP Tasmania manager Susan Gittus said.

“COVID-19 has meant we haven’t been able to open to the public in the way we had hoped to, but we are managing visitors by bookings.

“With strict hygiene and social distancing practices in place the process still works, but we are eagerly awaiting the time when we are able to be open properly to visitors.

“The influx of interest in both adoption and fostering during this pandemic has been amazing with at one point almost all our available dogs finding a foster placement or forever home.”

Included at the new facility is a dog lounge room where the greyhounds learn house rules, training stairs to help the dogs deal with closed-in and open-back stairs, and an on-site station wagon for teaching the dogs how to get in and out of both the back seat and rear exit of a car safely and confidently.

The dogs also spend time socialising with the various breeds of dogs and interact with the resident sheep and chickens.

Tasracing’s Animal Welfare manager Belinda Lewis said Tasracing’s acquisition of its first ever dedicated re-homing facility for greyhounds was an important milestone in greyhound welfare in Tasmania.

“The facility will allow members of the public direct access as well as providing an emergency shelter option,” Ms Lewis said.

Caption: Minister for Racing Jane Howlett, pictured, says Tasracing is well on the way to achieving its goal of rehoming more than 150 greyhounds annually.