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Vet warns of Greyhound Adoption Risk

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karen15   

Two minds on reading that article. Dog bites, especially with children, are usually from lack of supervision and children grabbing and / or hurting the dog. You see so many "funny" videos on YouTube with children inappropriately interacting with dogs and their parents thinking it's hilarious. All fun and games until the saint of a dog gets fed up and nips or bites, then parents kill it.

 

On the other hand, raising any animal in a commercial manner with no regard to it's mental health (greyhounds, race horses), well you have to expect they'll have difficulties adjusting to normal life. Hence the increased need for owners to work with behavioural trainers, which I would think is something to be applauded not used as evidence of unsuitability. Owners are recognising there's a problem and doing their best to help the dogs. I've got two greyhounds next door and they're lovely. Rehomed via GAP and Nat had to get a behavioral trainer in the early days, but three years on, all is great.

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asal   

Love greyhounds, so many are natural born lounge lizards. 

The catch with TB'S is any with St Simon 's temprement are only fit for racing and dangerous even for their riders for that, as one writer of the time said, when he became a leading sire  his progeny were so hot, their riders had difficulty keeping their mount on the track, but when successful were so fast invariably won. Sovrango, sostunuto and Village square progeny were noted for this, I owned Darmack who was so hot the only race he deigned to finish broke the track record at Wyong, I bred Garthowen boy, so hot although rugged from birth was still hard to rug as a yearling, ran in terror from leaves on a windy day, won many races though after I scotched the plan to make a show hack of him as I had planned, thinking it was being trained for racing that fried their brain, he proved that theory wrong in spades 

Edited by asal

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Maddy   

In the 50+ greyhounds I've fostered, I'd say only a couple were temperamentally unsuited to the average home. One was a very large, hard tempered boy who was sociable and friendly but way too much dog for the average dog owner. The other came from a very shitty background and was unpredictably dog aggressive (which doesn't make for a good pet). The rest just slotted themselves in on sofas, as if they'd been born and bred to lounge. They are soft tempered dogs so they do need a gentle hand but even then, when they're upset, they tend to take themselves off for a sulk. Biting is one of the last things the average greyhound would do.

I think it's also worth pointing out that greyhounds being seen for behavioural issues is not the same as "greyhounds may bite your kid's face off". Issues like SA are not uncommon because greyhounds are born and raised into environments with a lot of canine company, whereas many families only want a single dog. And going from a life surrounded by other dogs and constant company, to a lonely, quiet house for 8 hours at a stretch, can't be easy to adjust to. I'm sure another portion of those dogs are being seen for issues like high prey drive (which isn't actually a behavioural fault in the dog at all) or for the myriad of other odd greyhound behaviours that are actually pretty normal- digging, trancing, sleep startles, nesting/hoarding, nitting, and a variety of creepy/alarming noises that can come out of them.

For the exposure Karen Dawnson has, maybe she could have picked a real issue to focus on- like prey drive. It's the one part of greyhound ownership that impacts so much of the rest, and whether or not a potential adopter is willing to learn about it and understand, easily sorts people into the "should own" and the "should never own".

Groups like Animals Australia post photos of greyhounds cuddling with fluffy duckings and baby bunnies and that's a far bigger lie than "greyhounds make good pets". 

Greyhounds aren't for everyone (no one breed is, ffs), but this article makes them sound like a legitimate risk to own, and that's garbage

Edited by Maddy
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m-j   

I agree that the dogs need to handled and exposed to life outside a kennel but to say that because they are bred to race and that makes them less able to be integrated into life as a domestic dog I feel is a bit of an exaggeration. Any breed of dog not exposed to life will react to a situation that is different and they perceive as threatening. They do have a very passive coping style and yes many people think that they arent stressed when they are, as with any dog with a similar coping style. I would love to have a dollar for everytime I been told "my dog's not stressed". When I was working at the kennels I did my best to expose the dogs to novel situations with a good outcome i.e I would put alitter the back of my car and take them to the shop to see the people cars, dogs cats etc coming and going while giving lots of treats, if the owners said I could.

I would like to know what the behaviour issues these dogs are going to a behaviourist for. I just find it hard to believe that they are over represented in the stats of dogs being presented for behavioural issues. In the same ten years I worked at the kennels I was also a dog trainer/instructor and I experienced many many more dogs with issues in just the basic obedience classes than I did with the greys which way outnumbered the amount of dogs that went through the classes.

 

@asal when I was riding trackwork we had a horse for want of a better word was mad and like you say dangerous to ride. Anyway several years later we went to the stud where his sire had stood and the stud master remembered his dam Queens Gambit well because she was as "mad as cut cat" to quote him and then went on to tell us a few things about her. The apple hadn't fallen far from the tree.

 

 

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Big D   

The Greyhound Industry is an abomination that should have been shut down decades ago.  The vast majority of dogs, unsuccessful at racing, are simply killed.
GAP is a sham.  It's actually an Industry initiative designed to cover up the the true horror.  Obviously they have a vested interest in distorting the truth, and promoting this fairy-tale that surplus Greyhounds all go on to happy lives as pets.

The "domestication" problem isn't restricted to Greyhounds.  Trying to take any animal, bred and trained for a particular industry, and force it into a radically different environment, is a recipe for suffering and disaster. 

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Actually think that Dr Dawson has been very fair in her comments on this article. Not all dogs (greyhound or otherwise) are suitable for adoption. The nature of adoption and rescue programs are such that the people involved (although well meaning) tend to be led by their emotions rather than a steady logical approach. Hence money is often spent unwisely to 'save' dogs that are past the point of success or even for dogs not really suitable for adoption.

There are issues with greyhound adoption just the same as with any rescue adoptions.

Greyhounds have a reputation for being a lounge lizard and hence perhaps many people go in with the wrong expectation - IF the GAP system are preparing the dogs to go to pet homes and IF they have a good selection process for pet homes then likely they will have a great success rate.

However when they hold adoption weekends and have 50 odd dogs going out to homes what is the likelihood of all these homes being a great match.... All rescue/adoption programs should be providing a backup and committed support to ensure success for the dogs and families involved.

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m-j   
On 8/27/2018 at 10:02 PM, Big D said:

The Greyhound Industry is an abomination that should have been shut down decades ago.  The vast majority of dogs, unsuccessful at racing, are simply killed.
GAP is a sham.  It's actually an Industry initiative designed to cover up the the true horror.  Obviously they have a vested interest in distorting the truth, and promoting this fairy-tale that surplus Greyhounds all go on to happy lives as pets.

The "domestication" problem isn't restricted to Greyhounds.  Trying to take any animal, bred and trained for a particular industry, and force it into a radically different environment, is a recipe for suffering and disaster. 

If what you say is the case that dogs bred to do a job can't settle into a domestic situation we shouldn't own any dogs except toy breeds which were specifically bred to be lap dogs. Actually we shouldn't own any animals at all. Many animals for hundreds of years have managed to settle into domestic bliss without suffering or disastrous outcomes.

Yes GAP was an incentive of the industry but I'm fairly certain the people that invest a lot of time and effort into rehoming dogs, not of their making, would be very disappointed to hear that their efforts are a sham. I understand your concerns and also feel the "wastage" issues in the industry was disgraceful but since the reforms have been introduced, things are improving. While it isn't perfect they have some of the strictest regulations of any dog industry. Can you give me an example of a dog/animal industry that is perfect?

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Maddy   
On 29/08/2018 at 9:38 PM, alpha bet said:

Actually think that Dr Dawson has been very fair in her comments on this article. Not all dogs (greyhound or otherwise) are suitable for adoption. The nature of adoption and rescue programs are such that the people involved (although well meaning) tend to be led by their emotions rather than a steady logical approach. Hence money is often spent unwisely to 'save' dogs that are past the point of success or even for dogs not really suitable for adoption.

There are issues with greyhound adoption just the same as with any rescue adoptions.

Greyhounds have a reputation for being a lounge lizard and hence perhaps many people go in with the wrong expectation - IF the GAP system are preparing the dogs to go to pet homes and IF they have a good selection process for pet homes then likely they will have a great success rate.

However when they hold adoption weekends and have 50 odd dogs going out to homes what is the likelihood of all these homes being a great match.... All rescue/adoption programs should be providing a backup and committed support to ensure success for the dogs and families involved.

Of course not all greyhounds are suitable for adoption but the issues she describes are (in my experience) the least likely reasons a greyhound would be unsuitable. I could count on one hand the number of greyhounds I've fostered who have struggled with suburban life or issues relating to socialisation. Compared to the amount who are unsafe because of very high prey drive, issues with socialisation are insignificant. 

Statements like.. "I see the bites on the child's face," and  "I see the nose that's almost been bitten off by the person silly enough to rub their face into the dog." create an impression that greyhounds are dangerous dogs and that the public has been lied to about their temperament. And neither of those things are true.

For someone who claims to be an advocate for the breed, she has a reputation of.. pretty much the exact opposite, amongst a lot of greyhound people.

 

As for @Big D's comment, total garbage. Suffering and disaster? How long have you been involved in greyhound rescue to have formed the opinion that they don't transition well into pet homes?

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asal   

Unbelievable, I've found lost greyhounds n the most cool calm collected breed on the doggy spectrum.

Want see HIGH prey drive go watch a jack Russell n foxiin action, the Greyhound is asleep majority of the day n not looking for a hunt, as for a significant number I've met, don't even chase cats, in honey's case actually afraid of them. Her breeder trains his to chase their  toys. She wasn't even chasing the lure in her race's she was flying to her reward, her toy her owner was waiting in the catch pen in his hand. One race the lure broke down and the owners of the two dogs that stopped with it wanted it declared a no race, but it wasn't because all the rest of the field ignored it and flew to the finish and catch pen for their reward. Honey won all five of her race's before retiring.

I bred cavaliers at the time and every one who came to buy or view a cavaliers left so impressed by honey had decided their next pet would be a Greyhound

She was bred and trained by my daughter in law's Brother

Edited by asal

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Maddy   
41 minutes ago, asal said:

Unbelievable, I've found lost greyhounds n the most cool calm collected breed on the doggy spectrum.

Want see HIGH prey drive go watch a jack Russell n foxiin action, the Greyhound is asleep majority of the day n not looking for a hunt, as for a significant number I've met, don't even chase cats, in honey's case actually afraid of them. Her breeder trains his to chase their  toys. She wasn't even chasing the lure in her race's she was flying to her reward, her toy her owner was waiting in the catch pen in his hand. One race the lure broke down and the owners of the two dogs that stopped with it wanted it declared a no race, but it wasn't because all the rest of the field ignored it and flew to the finish and catch pen for their reward. Honey won all five of her race's before retiring.

I bred cavaliers at the time and every one who came to buy or view a cavaliers left so impressed by honey had decided their next pet would be a Greyhound

She was bred and trained by my daughter in law's Brother

Thanks asal, but I've seen high prey drive and the average JRT doesn't even come close. A JRT may have more energy, but energy to chase and drive to chase are too very different things. I have tested greyhounds that turned into screaming frenzied, completely uncontrollable animals when they saw the small dog and the reality is, those dogs don't make good pets for the average home.

Downplaying prey drive is exactly the wrong thing to be doing anyway. Greyhounds are a coursing breed and the public needs to understand that, and to understand what that entails. Advocating for a breed is not just encouraging people to adopt, it's providing honest, accurate information, based on the expected behaviour/traits of the average. 

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asal   

Honey's expected behaviour was snooze 90 percent of the day, wake up n go outside to toilet, then hoon around the yard at speeds that defied belief, didn't even slow doing turns, scared the daylights out of me first time I saw it, the ease she could have snapped a leg was obvious if a leg hit an object, clothesline post, trampoline leg etc, she never did, but the danger was there.

Never lasted long, minutes only, they sure are sprinters only.

Then back onto her lounge n resume her regal pose n snooze time again

I have only seen ones like her, not the ones you describe, although could easily see how the ones trained in the videos realeased would be that way

Edited by asal

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On 31/08/2018 at 6:38 PM, Maddy said:

Of course not all greyhounds are suitable for adoption but the issues she describes are (in my experience) the least likely reasons a greyhound would be unsuitable. I could count on one hand the number of greyhounds I've fostered who have struggled with suburban life or issues relating to socialisation. Compared to the amount who are unsafe because of very high prey drive, issues with socialisation are insignificant. 

Statements like.. "I see the bites on the child's face," and  "I see the nose that's almost been bitten off by the person silly enough to rub their face into the dog." create an impression that greyhounds are dangerous dogs and that the public has been lied to about their temperament. And neither of those things are true.

For someone who claims to be an advocate for the breed, she has a reputation of.. pretty much the exact opposite, amongst a lot of greyhound people.

 

As for @Big D's comment, total garbage. Suffering and disaster? How long have you been involved in greyhound rescue to have formed the opinion that they don't transition well into pet homes?

Maddy, I really don't see why you felt the need to respond negatively towards my comments.... One of the things I hate about social media is how it seems that people can be so ready to take offence and suddenly have all these online experts.... just accept that there are other points of view and often these are from people who have more experience.

 

You are obviously a greyhound owner hence feel you know best....You may well have fostered greys but you have done this with dogs who are already been assessed as potential for domestic living. Hence you are probably dealing with the dogs who have that lovely soft relaxed nature.
One big issue I have is the change to regulations meaning that Greys will be able to be out and about without muzzles.... regardless of whether they have passed the assessment testing - (personally think the GAP assessment program is terrific and should be compulsory)


Queensland already has no muzzle for greys in place... and already getting issues with Greys grabbing small dogs in public - This is a big concern, we already have people in VIC who are letting greys off at the beach and dog parks - (greys do not have great recall)... with the rules changing we will have unmuzzled greys coming into the public that may not have any assessment or retraining - these could be a high risk off lead.
I have had 40 greys thru here for retraining that were ones who had failed assessment... even with intensive work there were about half of these that were unreliable with small dogs..., under the new regulations the trainers can even hand these failures over to anyone in the public who wants them.... If a Greyhound's  that have that prey drive.... can and will do a great deal of damage to another dog.... It is not about whether the greys are suited to live in a family home... it is about whether the public are able to understand how to handle this breed UNMUZZLED. So like ALL rehoming of dogs....  I believe families need to have assessment and support. 

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m-j   

I think that Greys being dangerous to small dogs cats etc does depend on what they are trained on to a great extent. I only ever used a toy and saw many dogs pass over rabbits that were closer to get the toy, one dog literally ran over the rabbits. When she saw the two rabbits her gait faulted for a couple of strides and then she continued on to get the toy which would have been easily a couple of hundred metres away and she certainly had high prey drive. Im not saying that all dogs would be like that but early learning certainly has a huge impact on how they think even with intrinsic behaviour.

The crackdown on live baiting should be a good start to alleviating this problem. I know it had been illegal for a long time and was still practised but the 4 Corners report, the public outcry and the near closure of the industry has had a huge impact. 

I have only rehomed 20 or so dogs after they left our kennels and had gone to a trainer to race. All came straight from the track and all were easily rehomed in urban situations. I did keep in touch with the owners and not one had any animal or any other type of aggression issues.

The dogs at the kennels were handled a lot though, my son who was quite young at the time was frequently with me at the kennels obviously he was always supervised when interacting with them but not once did I have any concerns when he was with them. I would NOT have allowed him to come to the kennels if I thought he may have got hurt in any way.

20 dogs is only a small sample but I handled over 700 dogs during my time at the kennels and can say there was only 1 dog who came to us with anything near what you would call an aggression issue and I would have not rehomed him even though he was great with us after a couple of weeks, my son was not allowed near him except when the dog was in his kennel, there were no issues the dog actually enjoyed my son talking to him as he would eagerly greet him when got to know him. The others I would have had no issues with rehoming as they presented while at the kennels. This why I really find it so hard to believe that people have been bitten badly enough to  loose body parts or even just bitten which the vet in the article leads us to believe is a fairly common occurrence with Greys. 

 

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Maddy   
6 hours ago, alpha bet said:

Maddy, I really don't see why you felt the need to respond negatively towards my comments.... One of the things I hate about social media is how it seems that people can be so ready to take offence and suddenly have all these online experts.... just accept that there are other points of view and often these are from people who have more experience.

 

You are obviously a greyhound owner hence feel you know best....You may well have fostered greys but you have done this with dogs who are already been assessed as potential for domestic living. Hence you are probably dealing with the dogs who have that lovely soft relaxed nature.
One big issue I have is the change to regulations meaning that Greys will be able to be out and about without muzzles.... regardless of whether they have passed the assessment testing - (personally think the GAP assessment program is terrific and should be compulsory)


Queensland already has no muzzle for greys in place... and already getting issues with Greys grabbing small dogs in public - This is a big concern, we already have people in VIC who are letting greys off at the beach and dog parks - (greys do not have great recall)... with the rules changing we will have unmuzzled greys coming into the public that may not have any assessment or retraining - these could be a high risk off lead.
I have had 40 greys thru here for retraining that were ones who had failed assessment... even with intensive work there were about half of these that were unreliable with small dogs..., under the new regulations the trainers can even hand these failures over to anyone in the public who wants them.... If a Greyhound's  that have that prey drive.... can and will do a great deal of damage to another dog.... It is not about whether the greys are suited to live in a family home... it is about whether the public are able to understand how to handle this breed UNMUZZLED. So like ALL rehoming of dogs....  I believe families need to have assessment and support. 

I didn't respond negatively, I disagreed with your assessment of Karen Dawson's comments as "fair".

And to clear up another thing- you assume incorrectly: For the previous 10 years, I have run my own greyhound rescue (prior to that, I was coordinator for another). I have assessed each and every dog that I have cared for. I have collected dogs from training properties and taken them straight back to my home, to my family, none of whom are missing their noses or any other body parts. Each dog is given time to settle and then assessed based on daily observation, rather than assessed by "tests" like the RSPCA use (which have been proven to be pretty useless). The exception to that is prey drive testing, which is done formally initially but followed up with ongoing observation of interaction with smaller animals/small dogs.

With regards to prey drive.. I'm not sure if your comments there were aimed at me but if they were, you're preaching to the wrong person. I'm a firm believer that some greyhounds need to be muzzled as a matter of safety. I have to assume you misinterpreted my complaint about Karen Dawson's statement: she focused on less usual issues such as human aggression. I opined that I believed issues such as prey drive deserved MORE attention because they tended to be less understood by the public and much more of a safety concern (besides obviously being more common).

 

Anyways..

@m-j I suppose it's not unlike other traits in that you have some genetic basis and then environmental input from there. I rehomed the litter sister of a Launceston Cup winner. He was a hard chaser, whereas his sister (the dog I rehomed) was safe with anything, and went on to live with a chi and a cat, very happily. Same environment, same training, slightly different roll of the genetic dice. I think greater socialisation with other animals couldn't be a bad thing, but it's not always going to be enough. And for dogs like that, we need assessment and legislation to prevent harm. 

As for the 4 Corners expose making a difference.. I honestly can't say I've seen it here. Of the last three dogs I've had recently (all youngsters, post 4 Corners), one was so keen that I'd say he wasn't even medium sized dog safe. Another was keen on fluffies and would definitely have chased. The third was not cat safe but definitely small dog safe, and his reactions to cats certainly weren't strong. That dog came from a trainer who couldn't even be bothered to keep the dog in reasonable health, so I doubt he was putting too much effort into socialisation. Yet that dog.. easily one of the nicest dogs I've had in a while. Perhaps if he'd been socialised thoroughly as a pup, he might have been even better. Who knows. At the end of the day though, I don't think it's possible to create and enforce rules around socialisation of pups so we have to be realistic about what that means for management, for pet owners.
I think a lot of pet greyhound owners are oblivious to the risks, because they've been told- over and over by groups like Animals Australia- that greyhounds aren't aggressive, and so they believe that means no muzzle is needed. It's such a shamefully fixable issue, and it shits me endlessly that we're still stuck on it, all because of some misinformation and lack of education.

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Rebanne   
17 hours ago, alpha bet said:


Queensland already has no muzzle for greys in place... and already getting issues with Greys grabbing small dogs in public - This is a big concern, we already have people in VIC who are letting greys off at the beach and dog parks - (greys do not have great recall)... with the rules changing we will have unmuzzled greys coming into the public that may not have any assessment or retraining - these could be a high risk off lead.
 

In Victoria it is illegal to have any greyhound off leash in a public place, including dog parks. I also thought Queensland has had no muzzle rules in place for quite a few years as does several councils in NSW (going on comments off a greyhound yahoo group from several years ago). Lot's of dogs are unmuzzled and off leash who shouldn't be. Deed not breed springs to mind. I have showbred greyhounds. Have to go back nearly 100 years to find the last racing dog in their pedigree. Raised in the home with cats. Neighbours cats (and their free ranging bunny) were/are fair game to my dogs. As they were to my GSD's. And to my smallish pound pup. And birds! The GSD's didn't care about the birds but the greys and the pound pup have/did all dine on them. I'm totally in support of the muzzle off law. Deed not breed!

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Maddy   
8 hours ago, Rebanne said:

In Victoria it is illegal to have any greyhound off leash in a public place, including dog parks. I also thought Queensland has had no muzzle rules in place for quite a few years as does several councils in NSW (going on comments off a greyhound yahoo group from several years ago). Lot's of dogs are unmuzzled and off leash who shouldn't be. Deed not breed springs to mind. I have showbred greyhounds. Have to go back nearly 100 years to find the last racing dog in their pedigree. Raised in the home with cats. Neighbours cats (and their free ranging bunny) were/are fair game to my dogs. As they were to my GSD's. And to my smallish pound pup. And birds! The GSD's didn't care about the birds but the greys and the pound pup have/did all dine on them. I'm totally in support of the muzzle off law. Deed not breed!

Well, ideally "assessment", rather than "deed". No SWFs should have to die for a greyhound to be judged unsuitable for muzzling exemption. 

Maybe some people with high drive greyhounds are sensible and manage them safely, but I've heard of plenty who haven't been, and for people who refuse to be sensible, we have laws. 

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Rebanne   

I just don't think one breed should be singled out. Plenty of other breeds with very high prey drive and many of them are owned by idiots. Maybe if the leash laws and other laws were enforced everyone could walk their dog without fear regardless of breed.

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Maddy   
On 04/09/2018 at 12:50 AM, Rebanne said:

I just don't think one breed should be singled out. Plenty of other breeds with very high prey drive and many of them are owned by idiots. Maybe if the leash laws and other laws were enforced everyone could walk their dog without fear regardless of breed.

Oh, I agree. I could think of several breeds/crossbred types that I'd prefer to see muzzled, but honestly, there's not enough Savlon in the world to soothe the flaming I'd get for daring to suggest that some breeds are more prone to certain undesirable behaviours than others. :|

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corvus   

It's not "singling a breed out" to acknowledge or indeed warn that potentially dangerous decisions are being made about their management. I don't think many people appreciate what these dogs can be like. They may never have seen a small dog, but they have been trained to chase and grab things about the size of a small dog that are fluffy and make noises. They have been trained to do little else, and they have been so heavily conditioned to do it that often they are not able to think beyond doing it. I worry that many more people will appreciate this in the near future the way the industry is attempting to "address" their problems. It won't do greyhounds any favours, that is for sure. 

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