The top racing speed of a greyhound: 45 mph.
This fast, graceful and agile breed has been cherished for centuries. Greyhounds have been man’s companions for such a long period of time that they are even mentioned in the earliest of ancient texts, including the Bible. Experts suggest that the breed dates back about 4,000 years to the heydays kingdoms of Egypt, Greece and Persia. Greyhounds became so revered by royalty, that they were often found in depictions of royal courts, and in some cases they were even found mummified in ancient Egyptian tombs, where they were preserved as companions for their former owners in the afterlife (there’s a great article on greyhound history here).
The modern world, however, has not exactly been the highlight of the breed’s long and significant history. The dogs have been used for centuries in hunting and coursing events, but the advent of modern dog racing at the turn of the 20th century prompted greyhound bree
ders and racetrack proprietors to begin to think of this breed as a mere commodity. Greyhound racing continues to be a big business, generating millions of dollars in gambling revenue in the states that still allow it. Today, the cruelty of the industry is finally being exposed, and thanks to the resulting public outcry, the number of spectators attending greyhound races has declined. Unfortunately, the financial losses may be contributing to poor track conditions, which have caused a marked rise in animal injuries at some tracks.
According to an article from Peta, the injuries incurred by the racing of these dogs are heavy: “In a horrific example of the industry’s cruelty, in 2002 the remains of approximately 3,000 greyhounds from Florida racetracks were discovered on the Alabama property of a former racetrack security guard who had been ‘retiring’ unwanted greyhounds with a .22-caliber rifle for more than 40 years. The attorney for the accused said, ‘If there’s anybody to be indicted here, it’s the industry because this is what they’re doing to these animals. The misery begins the day they’re born. The misery ends when my client gets ahold of them and puts a bullet in the head.’” (Peta’s article can be found at this link).
However, the Arizona Daily Star has reported a huge victory for anti-racing advocates in its article, “Legislation to close greyhound track would create need to place dogs.” The last dog racing track located in Tucson, Arizona has numbered days. While the last day of racing at Tucson Greyhound Park has not yet been made official, legislation passed unanimously by the Arizona Senate on Saturday means Arizona could soon sound its last call to the starting gate and join 39 other states in banning the sport. The Senate followed the Arizona House in unanimously approving the measure, which will now go to Gov. Doug Ducey for his signature. Local rescue groups say they are already seeing more dogs coming out of the park for adoption, apparently as kennel owners anticipate the change.
While this is excellent news for what could hopefully become a nation-wide shift to banning the dangerous sport, there will also be many displaced dogs that will be in need of homes. The fate of more than 420 dogs will have yet to be determined.