“Shocking start” for greyhounds

Healesville racetrack. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Jed Lanyon

A greyhound welfare group is calling on Greyhound Racing Victoria to make significant changes to the sport following the death of a greyhound at Healesville’s race track.

Greyhound, Notorious Jiggs, finished second in Race 10 on Friday 8 January but was euthanised after an incident in the catching pen, the area that stops the dogs at the end of the race.

According to the steward’s report, the greyhound was found to have a fractured right humerus and right elbow and a suspected right scapula fracture.

The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (CPG) said the greyhound’s death undermines the racing industry’s claims that the track is safe.

The Healesville greyhound racing track is the only straight track in Victoria. The greyhound welfare group says the racing industry bills straight tracks as a safe and exciting form of racing, compared to standard curved tracks, where deaths and injuries are frequent at the track turns.

According to CPG, the Healesville track recorded 318 injuries last year, the sixth-worst track in Victoria.

Greyhound Racing Victoria did not respond to Star Mail’s request for comment.

CPG said that greyhound racing was inherently dangerous and there were no such things as safe tracks.

“Straight tracks are safer than curved tracks, but there is no safe form of greyhound racing,” said Dennis Anderson, national president of CPG.

“The death of Notorious Jiggs shows that a greyhound can be killed at any part of a racing track. The catching pens have killed many greyhounds as the racing industry hasn’t created a safe way to stop the dogs, which are often running at speeds of more than 60km/h,” he said.

The CPG said their analysis of stewards reports showed that 20 greyhounds were killed in the catching pens last year, among the total of 204 greyhounds that were killed racing last year.

“It’s been a shocking start to the year for greyhounds. Seven greyhounds have died in the first eight days of 2021, including five in Victoria, with more than 240 injured,” Mr Anderson said.

He said Victoria was Australia’s most lethal state with 72 greyhounds killed racing on the tracks.

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