Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More

Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Greyhounds Headed To The United States For Homes To Clear New Zealand Backlog

Katie Fitzgerald

Retired racing greyhounds are headed overseas as the industry looks to find homes for its backlog of dogs.

They are being sent to the United States, rather than waiting to be adopted in New Zealand. As of early June, 44 greyhounds have made the trip to new homes in the US.

Darrin Williams from Greyhound Racing New Zealand said the adoption market there is wildly different from New Zealand.

"They're exactly the opposite to us. We've got plenty of dogs and not enough applications. They've got piles of applications and no dogs because there's hardly any racing over in America. So, before they go, many of the dogs have already begun to be matched with the right home."

Greyhound Racing New Zealand investigated the programme after seeing Australia do it and found it cheaper to send the dogs overseas than to keep them here in boarding kennels.

Williams said there was a backlog of dogs waiting to be adopted, and while in the first ten months of this year they found homes for 478, the US programme will allow the waitlist to be cleared faster.

"Because of the backlog, we needed to look at anywhere else that we could rehome dogs or anything else that we could do with them to make sure that they were in a home and in a home quicker instead of moving from racing life, racing kennel life, to boarding kennel life."

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

There are 350 dogs currently on the waitlist for adoption, Williams said.

Emelia Lake from the charity Greyhounds as Pets said interest in adoptions has dropped, especially in North Island centres like Auckland.

"We are facing lower adoption numbers this year, largely due to the economic crisis. It is slower and we are really putting in a lot of work with extra events and things like that to get greyhounds into homes."

She said the organisation was holding onto the dogs for longer as a result.

"We work with them for however long it takes to get them into a home, so whether it be two weeks or two years, they will stay in our care until they do find their forever home."

There have been calls for greyhound racing to be banned after deaths and injuries at the racetrack. The former government directed the industry to make recommended improvements to animal welfare or risk closure after a review into the future of the sport.

SPCA's Arnja Dale said her organisation backs a ban and the industry should account for it in its planning.

"Despite the industry being under review by the government for two years, they have continued to breed puppies, which is absolutely outrageous."

She said New Zealand is one of six countries in the world with a greyhound racing industry, and if the industry were to close, the SPCA would help rehome the dogs.

"We are the largest leading animal welfare organisation in New Zealand and will continue to speak for the greyhounds that can't speak for themselves and also help in any way that we can to rehome them, if indeed the decision is made to close the industry."

The issue of a ban is now with Racing Minister Winston Peters, who said he will not be rushed on the matter.

He said the dogs do get something out of racing.

"Dogs love racing. Watch them in the wild. Just like horses. Three o'clock in the morning, everybody's quiet and they're out there having a race in the paddock.

"So, before we rush off, there are certain instinctive things that animals like, and one of them they will do whether you're going to organise the race or not."

Greyhound Racing NZ rejects the idea of a ban and said the industry has quarterly meetings with the minister and Racing Integrity Board about progress on issues brought up in the review.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.