|HOME||Adoption||ADOPT a DOG||HISTORY||My Dogs||CONTACTS|
Started in the late Twenties after being invented in the US in about 1922. UK dog racing is now split into two separate factions. The tracks racing under the NGRC (National Greyhound Racing Club) rules and the unregulated or "Flapping Tracks". There are 29 NGRC tracks and 14 Flapping tracks. The NGRC rules prohibit registered dogs from running at flapping tracks, and unregistered dogs cannot race at a NGRC track. A registered dog is one that has ear tattoos and was registered with the NGRC at whelping or consequently if, say. imported from Ireland.
If you adopt a greyhound through a NGRC kennels or the RGT then it is possible to find out about its racing history. Click here for details.
The NGRC tracks must have a resident vet who examines each and every dog before and after a race to pronounce it fit and/or free from drug abuses. Even a severe flea allergy can prevent a dog racing. They also check that the dog is the dog it is supposed to be! They are also there so that any injury is seen to by a competent person immediately.
A dog can only race if it handled by a registered (certified) trainer. Most trainers train dogs for several owners as well as themselves. A few owners just run their own dogs, but all must carry a trainer's certificate - and only one trainer is allowed per kennel. Each trainer/owner's premises are regularly but randomly inspected by a Racing Steward who also examines the kennel books NGRC vets additionally inspect randomly twice more per year. The kennel books contain details of all dogs that have resided at the kennel even overnight. The details contain information about standard inoculations, injuries or medicines given. Slight errors can lead to quite massive fines ( about 250 UKP per line!)
Greyhounds race over several distances from 400 metres to over 1000 metres and can include hurdling. Each dog is graded according to ability in a time trail at the track and previous results - their preferred trap position is noted and the track management tries very hard to place the dog in it's favourite trap. This actually reduces accidents because the dogs do not need to move across the track to reach their preferred position. The excitement of the race depends on the track managment's ability to grade closely. There are several steps in the grading. To watch a race - especially at the end when the dogs have past the post - brings the point home that greyhounds run because they love to race, they are always so happy that they have tried their best. Some are even known to sulk if the race went badly!
Racing is subdivided by distance. There are effectively four types of
greyhound race trip:
Sprint or Dash (race type begins with a D)
The standard distance. Normally the home straight plus on circuit of the track (four bends in all) - race type begins with an A
The stayer's distance. Normally 6 bends would be covered. Race type begins with an S
The marathon distance. This covers races of 8 bends and further. Race type begins with an M.
There are also hurdles races mainly over the standard distance. Race type begins with an H.
Finally races restricted to puppies only. Race type begins with a P
Therefore, as an example, if a dog was running in an A2 race, it would be running in a graded race over the standard four bend distance and would represent the second grade of dogs for that distance at that track. NB dogs can be graded differently for different distances e.g. a dog who is a very good stayer but only average over the standard distance could well be graded to run in S1s and A5s . It should also be noted that the distance of a type of race (i.e. D, A, S or M) varies according to the size of the track, at which it is held. For example an A type race at Hove is over 515 metre while the same type at Crayford would be over 380 metres.
The reasons why greyhounds retire are generally - that they are past their best (at about 5 years old) - suffered an injury - or they just are simply not racers ( their first race is when they are about 15 months old).
REGISTRATION and RETIREMENT.
Earmarking has been used as a means of identifying British bred puppies and making the registration of greyhounds more secure since January 1, 1980, although Ireland, where considerably more breeding goes on, embraced the idea in 1966. Details of earmarks of all British bred greyhounds earmarks are forwarded to the Greyhound Stud Book, which compiles a stud card, that is necessary as part of the documentation required by the NGRC when the time comes for the puppy to be registered for racing. For more details of the earmarks used Click here
Puppy Stage Approximately 12 weeks after a litter is born, an NGRC-licensed earmarking steward will visit it. Each member of the litter will be assigned a unique code – usually consisting of three letters, the litter registration, and a number. The earmark is tattooed onto the ear with ink and is impossible to remove.
Racing Stage It is the responsibility of the racing office to compile a greyhound's NGRC identity book when it reaches 15 months and is eligible to trial. Initial trials at an NGRC-licensed racecourse can take place by using the identity book issued by the Greyhound Stud Book or in the case of an Irish bred runner by the Irish Coursing Club.
However, in order to race at an NGRC-licensed racecourse a greyhound must have an NGRC Identity Book. The local marking steward usually the assistant racing manager will mark the dog up. In addition, up to date vaccination records for each greyhound must be entered in the book.
responsibility of the racing office at the NGRC racecourse at which the
greyhound runs to keep the greyhounds form up to date and to make sure
the greyhound receives inoculation at the recommended times.
Retirement The NGRC places much emphasis on the welfare of the greyhound after its racing days are over and the Retired Greyhound Trust was set up by the Club in 1974 to address the problem of finding suitable homes for ex-racers. This is achieved through the hard work and dedication of a network of volunteers and a handful of full-time employees. The RGT depends on an annual grant from the British Greyhound Racing Fund which amounted to £1.7 million ($3.4 million US) in 2007 and other kind benefactors to carry out its work.
in 2000, a de-registering scheme which requires owners to inform them
when the greyhound has stopped racing and giving notification of its
new owners name and address when it is found a permanent home. To
further emphasize the dedication to welfare The NGRC and each NGRC
track now has an officer whose job it is to track each and every racing
greyhound to it's final destination at retirement. The NGRC also has a
central database for this purpose. I hope these moves will finally stop
the allegations of widespread destruction as figures will be at last
available. My personal experience is that NGRC trainers and owners do
look after their retired dogs either at kennels or into adoption.
The RGT (Retired Greyhound Trust) is a part of - though independent from - the NGRC and tries to financially support any registered dog that has retired either through injury or age and is in difficulties. NGRC Rule 18 states "that the owner is responsible for the welfare of the greyhound at the end of it's racing career". Below is the rule governing the treatment of retired dogs. Please note that contrary to popular belief an owner is required to take care of their retired dog - the list showing the order of preference for the retirement of the dog. Failure to comply can result in a lifetime ban from owning a dog running under NGRC rules
NGRC NOTICE - RULE 18 Responsibility Of Owner
((i)) The NGRC Stewards will hold the last
to be responsible for the welfare of a Greyhound and also for making
acceptable arrangements for his/her retired greyhound as follows:-
a)) the Greyhound be retained as a pet, or
b)) the Greyhound be boarded at a Licensed Kennel or
c)) the Greyhound be boarded at a Kennel licensed by the local authority, or
d)) the Greyhound be found a home through the Retired Greyhound Trust, or
e)) the Greyhound be sold or found a home, responsibly, or
f )) if it is necessary for the Greyhound to be euthanased either on humane grounds or because none of the above options are available, the Owner ensuring, subject to Rule 58. that such euthanasia is carried out by a registered Veterinary Surgeon.
((ii)) A Registered Owner must inform the NGRC if there is any change in ownership of a registered Greyhound and/or if it is intended to enter a Greyhound in any Trial or Race again
((iii)) Failure to give notification under Rule 18 (a) within 28 days of the change of ownership
shall result in a fixed penalty of £50 being levied and may result in the NGRC Stewards prohibiting an Owner from registering Greyhounds for racing under NGRC Rules.
A registered Owner aggrieved at such levy may appeal to the NGRC Stewards who shall have
power to set aside such penalty where it would be fair and appropriate to do so.
THE BGRB NEW DEAL CHARTER
A recent change in our tax laws has meant a large mandatory increase in funding for horse-racing from the betting companies' profits - but the same betting companies have refused to voluntarily pay a similar proportion of funding to dog racing. The BGRB is determined that they should do so - then the income for all areas within the racing industry could increase allowing for better conditions all round - including the area I'm passionate about - The welfare of retired greyhounds!! Below are the points of the charter-
To ensure that only the highest standards of integrity exists throughout greyhound racing.
To raise prize-money to levels where any greyhound that races once-a-week, and wins one race in four, is able to cover its owner's training costs.
To properly reward greyhound trainers for their expertise, dedication and commitment.
To provide the necessary funding for the Retired Greyhound Trust to enable it to strive to find a good home for every former racing greyhound.
To pay kennelhands a fair living wage that represents their importance to the greyhound industry and offers a viable long-term career path.
To provide a platform for head kennelhands and assistant trainers to become professional trainers.
To take all necessary measures to ensure the well-being and welfare of every NGRC registered greyhound
To ensure the racing managers are free to provide fair and safe racing without undue pressure or influence from third parties or outside sources.
To ensure any conflict of interest in bookmaker track ownership does not prevent racecourses and betting-shop punters from betting on greyhound racing with total confidence.
To end bookmaking control forever, so that greyhound racing has the freedom to move forward independently and un- influenced for the sole benefit of those who were within or support it.
Please note the stress on the welfare of every retired racer - I sincerely hope that the BGRB succeeds in its intentions to get the betting industry - that profits so much from the efforts of these wonderful dogs - to pay more towards the well-being of all parts of the racing industry that has served it so well. At the moment some betting companies still refuse to pay their due to greyhound racing.
The Animal Welfare Bills
welfare bill and the DEFRA Greyhound Bill should hopefully cause the
flapping tracks to close as the new regulations on having a Vet on the
premises and similar improvements will be too costly to implement -
This will be in the best interests of Greyhounds generally.
The Animal Welfare Act is a new law that will provide much greater protection for animals.
The law came into force on 28 March in Wales and on 6 April in England.
The Animal Welfare Act includes a new 'welfare offence' - which put simply means that the owner of a pet including greyhounds is legally obliged to care for their pet properly, by providing:
proper diet, including fresh water
2/ Somewhere suitable to live
3/ For any need to be housed with or apart from, other animals
4/ The ability to express normal behaviour
5/ Protection from and treatment of, illness and injury.
Only time will tell if the up-dated Animal Welfare Bill will make any difference to treatment as it depends entirely on attitude and enforcement
The Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare Report
heavily slated the NGRC for it's lack of tracking of Retired Greyhounds
and lack of tracking of Unregistered greyhounds - dogs that were
whelped but never raced on an NGRC track - yet neither was really ever
meant to be a part of the NGRC's brief. It was solely meant to ensure
that the integrity of actual dog racing was maintained - However it is
true that many interested bodies from single adoption groups upwards
wanted better tracking - and so have I. However I do have to point out
that most independent adoption groups - RSPCA - The Dogs Home Battersea
etc. - EXCEPT The Dog's Trust - euthanise greyhounds - I know my group
has rescued them from both the major organisations mentioned.
Hopefully this inquiry will wake the NGRC up to the fact that ongoing tracking with severe penalties for failing to comply with the regulations ALREADY in place is a matter of extreme importance - a matter of life or death to the future of NGRC racing. They do NOW have two 'tracking stations' to do this essential job.
However I was really disappointed that the Flapping tracks were not taken to task for FAR WORSE treatment of their 'retired' dogs - they were dismissed as of no consequence - yet have consistently obstructed a unified approach to UK dog racing. Worse - nothing was mentioned about the disgraceful fate of racehorses most of which get sold for horsemeat - presumably because everyone KNOWS that is where they end up - hardly fair to me - yet they are dog racing's equine equivalent. Finally to include Ireland into the inquiry was to me out of order - because Ireland being another country that has an EU subsidy to BREED greyhounds is beyond the control of the NGRC.
hypocrisy of the RSPCA about horse-racing has driven me at long last to
withdraw my financial support from them and increase my contribution to
finding homes for retired greyhounds - a worthier cause.
The other improvements suggested such as better surfaces - more veteran races - can only be applauded - Though reduction of breeding may be really difficult to implement - purely because to breed a dog that WANTS to win - AND having the capability to win - as well as being able to intelligently read the race to win - is far more difficult than a dog for looks - or a horse (they only need the capability the rest is taken care of by the jockey) That's why dog racing is more exciting!!
The Retired Greyhound Trust (RGT) was set up by Fred Underhill, the then President of the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC), in 1974 to better coordinate the efforts of various individuals and Stadiums to home dogs. This was at a time when the vast majority of national rescue centres as well as dog pounds had a "Kill after 7 days" policy. The individuals were concerned trainers and owners from within the industry. The RGT policy is "no healthy dog is put down".
Awards - Fred Underwood was awarded an OBE for services to greyhounds in 1985 - and recently Miss Johanna Beumer - the founder of our kennels and my boss - was only the second person in the history of UK greyhound racing to be so honoured - was awarded an MBE on 6th October 2007 for her services to greyhounds - a richly deserved recognition.
If you want to find out about your adopted dog's racing history. Click here for details.
The RGT now receives voluntary donations from most of the betting companies, NGRC regulated racing stadiums and legacies (the amount is, of course, never enough). (The NGRB granted £1.7 MILLION -$3.4 MILLION in 2007) It has 3 full time employees. It's work is to advertise nationally about the benefits of having a retired greyhound as a home companion - keep a register of all adopted retired greyhounds - and to help finance the welfare of NGRC registered retired greyhounds that need it - kenneling expenses, some operations etc. It does not do this for ALL dogs - just those that have fallen onto hard times. An example - we have 1 rescued greyhound that had been abandoned by his adopter (not his original owners) that required financial support during his stay with us. The rest of our dogs, up to all 48 of them, are financed, in some way, by our kennels - but the number of RGT dogs can be as high as 20.
OUR RETIRED GREYHOUND FUNDING
When an NGRC greyhound retires there are really two options open to the owner, adoption, or keep the dog as a pet. Adoption is either organised entirely by the owner, or by somebody like us.
Dogs come to us in one of four funding categories Walthamstow Owner's Association, RGT, Private Owner, Strays and returns.
If the dog raced at Walthamstow Stadium, it can join the Walthamstow Owner's Association (O.A.). The owner pays £100 ($180) and from then on, the dog's kennel keep - £3 ($5.50) a day - and unexpected medical expenses are met by the O.A. until it is homed - and if for some reason it is returned to us, the O.A. will resume payment. However the dog needs to go on a waiting list - the bitches list is always shorter than the dogs one - until room is found at the kennel. Until it arrives at our kennels - normally less than two months - the owner has to pay to support it elsewhere - normally at the trainer's kennels or a Resting kennels.
If a dog was registered by the NGRC it can be eligible to be funded by the RGT and then the dog's kennel keep - £2.50 ($3.75) a day - and unexpected medical expenses are met by the RGT until it is homed - and if for some reason it is returned to us at any time the RGT will resume payment.
Private owners who raced a dog may not have facilities to care for their much loved dog at home - then they pay for the dog to be kenneled by us. They visit the dog whenever possible - often every week - to walk it. We have 3 such dogs now although we had more until they sadly died - all at about 12 to 14 years old.
Strays and returns - These can be older dogs that are returned many years after adoption through changing circumstances and are no longer supported by the O.A., or tattooed dogs found at pounds abandoned by adopters - not ours, or injured untattooed - possible Lurcher - puppies found abandoned. All of these are paid for by our own fund raising efforts - hence our need for donations or sponsors!!
Although the 14 Flapping tracks now must now have a vet in attendance and are similar to a NGRC track - they are not really regulated or inspected. The flapping track trainers are mostly owners who have a dog or two in the backyard. The majority of flapping tracks are in the north of the UK and the vast majority of abandoned greyhounds are also found in the north or in Wales where until recently there were NO NGRC tracks, I firmly believe that it would be better if all tracks ran under NGRC rules. There are of course bad owners and trainers in the NGRC system but they are in the minority.
Top of Page