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What Is A Rescued Greyhound?

No matter where you go with a greyhound in the United States, there will always be someone that will ask if your dog is a rescued greyhound. Why the term rescued? Because, quite simply, if greyhounds are not adopted, they are euthanized by the kennel operators or breeders, sometimes humanely and sometimes not. So any adopted greyhound has truly been 'rescued' in the purest sense of the word.

Greyhounds are rescued by adoption programs throughout the United States. Almost all greyhound rescues are non-profit entities and the great majority of these programs are run by volunteers that have little money in the bank, continuously owe money to their vet and continuously must fundraise to stay afloat. The kennel operators, breeders and even the tracks accept little responsibility for the humane treatment of these dogs once they have retired from racing. 'Retired' is another colloquial term of the racing industry. I should be retired because I'm a senior citizens. Greyhounds, on the other hand, would never live to be senior citizens in the racing industry unless they were so good they were kept for breeding. And most of them are not. Subsequently, when a 3 1/2 year old greyhound is no longer winning, the racing industry uses the word 'retired'. We prefer to use the term 'former racing' greyhound because they are not old.

Over twenty years ago, the state of Florida passed statute 550.2415(6)(a) which states:

It is the intent of the Legislature that animals that participate in races in this state on which pari-mutuel wagering is conducted and animals that are bred and trained in this state for racing be treated humanely, both on and off racetracks, throughout the lives of the animals.

It is obvious to those of us that have regularly received former racing greyhounds from the tracks that kennel operators and breeders have never taken this statute seriously. They have not accepted their responsibility nor will they ever. All of these greyhounds would have been euthanized if not for the amazing efforts of literally thousands of people across the United States that give both their time and money to house, feed, spay/neuter, address the medical needs of these dogs and prepare them for adoption.


Those of you that are not familiar with the breed probably don't know that their #1 impactible health issue is their mouth. Greyhounds are fed 4D meat - the 'D' standing for cattle and horses that were 'Dead, Dying, Disabled or Diseased' at the time of inspection. These cattle and horses would not qualify to be used for anything but animal feed. Their flesh is then stripped, ground up, mixed with charcoal and fed to racing greyhounds because the industry believes it makes them run faster. Greyhounds sometimes develop a disease called 'Alabama Rot'. It has long been established that the disease comes from the introduction of bacteria into the bloodstream from the mishandling of 4D meat. It is debilitating and most often fatal. A high percentage of greyhounds will also develop periodontal disease at very young ages because of the food they have been given. Once, when I was testifying before the Florida State Legislature, I mentioned the horrible condition of the dogs' teeth. A breeder popped up and said it was completely 'normal'. It's only normal because no one takes care of their mouths and they are fed heavily bacteria-laden food. We are still trying to fully understand the relationship between 4D meat and many greyhound health issues.


The more you learn about greyhounds and greyhound racing, the more you learn that these dogs ARE truly rescued. That is not what Florida obligated itself to do. After more than 20 years of failing to fulfill this obligation, Florida now has the opportunity to pass legislation that will drastically reduce the number of racing greyhounds. Then maybe the few remaining tracks could afford to fulfill their obligation of not only caring for these gentle creatures but also invest more in greyhounds post-racing, so that they can ALL be adopted into loving homes. Only then can the word 'rescued' be removed from the greyhound vocabulary.

Please pass decoupling. Let the greyhounds run free!!!

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