The welfare and care of greyhounds has long been a priority of Greyhound Racing Ireland, especially so after the media pressures on a number of incidents in 2018.
Yesterday signalled another major step in a positive direction with the launch of Ireland’s first dedicated Greyhound Care Centre.
The care centre has been set up, in partnership with the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust to promote and help ex-racing greyhounds find homes as pets with families across Ireland.
The centre, which is independently run, is funded by Greyhound Racing Ireland through the Greyhound Care Fund. This was established in 2019 and is solely dedicated to supporting a range of care and welfare projects for racing greyhounds.
It is funded from 10 per cent of admission and restaurant revenue at greyhound stadia, five per cent of tote betting and 50 per cent of the sponsorship money that comes into the sport. The Greyhound Care Centre will be overseen by the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust, the industry charity that facilitates the rehoming of ex-racing greyhounds as pets.
Following an open formal tendering process, the contract was awarded to Greyhounds Pets of Ireland, Tipperary, based near Horse and Jockey.
“The launch of the Greyhound Care Centre is a further element of our ambitious care and welfare programme for the industry,” said Greyhound Racing Ireland Chair Frank Nyhan.
“The high standard of the facility will ensure that greyhounds are well prepared for their ‘forever home’ and prospective new owners can see first-hand the suitability of a greyhound in a home setting and the benefits that rehoming a greyhound can bring in its new home.”
“We are delighted with the work of all those involved in the rehoming of racing greyhounds, particularly the IRGT, and must acknowledge the tremendous efforts that are made in seeking a home for retired greyhounds.”
“Through the IRGT, 1,245 re-homings have been assisted in 2020 to date compared with 812 for the same period in 2019.”. It is our intention to continue to financially support an extensive rehoming programme and we have made provision for same in our 2021 Budget which was recently adopted by the Board of RCÉ’.
At the care centre greyhounds are helped make the transition from racing on the track, to being welcomed in a new family on their retirement.
Along with meeting all regulatory and welfare requirements, the facility was chosen as it provides for all the needs of its guests. This includes the development of a socialisation strategy for each greyhound involving hands-on training and spending time in a realistic home setting, getting used to what their new home will be like.
The facility also for the first time offers a place where families hoping to adopt a greyhound can visit the centre, sit on the couch in the unique visitor room and meet the greyhound that they have been matched with. During COVID-19 restrictions potential adopters can meet the greyhounds virtually, with a follow-up visit once restrictions have been lifted.
While potential adopters may not be able to visit in person at the moment, they can still get a flavour of what to expect in this short video:
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