An independent Councillor’s push for Victoria’s first dedicated off-leash dog park for retired greyhounds continues to gain pace, with Moonee Valley City Council carrying a motion to explore potential sites and designs in the city.
The motion, which was raised by independent Councillor Cam Nation, also resolved to write to the Minister for Racing to “highlight some serious issues regarding the welfare of racing greyhounds, while also highlighting that the State Government’s duty of care to these animals should extend through to their post-racing career, particularly when a State Government body is facilitating their adoption”.
Councillor Cam Nation told the meeting that while the State Government continues to invest in increased prizemoney and breeding initiatives, there had been a failure to invest similar amounts into greyhound welfare initiatives once a dog leaves the care of Greyhound Racing Victoria.
“Over the next few weeks at Sandown Park and The Meadows there will be $4.1 million of prizemoney on offer, with a lot of that money bankrolled by the State Government,” said Cr Cam Nation.
“That’s a lot of money for owners and trainers, and what do the dogs get, euthanasia or a retirement where they are stuck on a lead whenever they leave the house, a retirement where they can never run free.”
“So this motion is asking the State Government to consider urgent investment in welfare initiatives for rehomed greyhounds, namely investment in funding dedicated, public, off-leash exercise areas for the tens of thousands of rehomed greyhounds in Victoria, that under Victorian law, must remain on a leash at all times (even in an off-leash dog park), unless it is a designated greyhound off-leash dog park,” said Cr Cam Nation.
Councillor Cam Nation also called on the State Government to halt financial breeding incentives until adoption numbers matched breeding numbers.
“In 2018-19, the most recent non-covid year, 4533 greyhound puppies were bred & registered, a significant increase from the 2655 that were bred & registered in 2016-17,” said Cr Cam Nation.
“Prior to these breeding incentives, the breeding numbers already significantly outweighed adoption levels, and as these dogs age and retire (noting that over 40% of dogs bred, fail to race and exit the industry at less than two years of age), there will be an even starker gap between the number of dogs that are bred, and the number of dogs that are eventually adopted.”
“The Greyhound Victoria Annual Report shows as much. Through Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Greyhound Adoption Program, 937 dogs avoided post-career euthanasia and were rehomed into the community in 2018-19. This pales into insignificance to the number of dogs that manage to survive a deadly and dangerous racing career, only to be euthanised at the end of their careers, with Greyhound Victoria’s own Annual Reports outlining that over the past five ‘non-covid’ years, 9,851 Victorian dogs that have completed their racing careers were destroyed,” Cr Cam Nation told the meeting.
In moving the motion, Councillor Cam Nation also highlighted that since 2018 the State Government had opened 28 new state-funded dog parks, but none of the 28 were off-leash parks for greyhounds.
“I think our new dog park in Essendon West cost the state just under $300,000, which is nothing compared to the prizemoney on offer at Sandown Park and The Meadows over the next few weekends,” said Cr Cam Nation.
“We will do the preliminary work on the planning & design, and we will provide the land, so it would be great if the State Government, through an increased investment in the welfare of post-racing greyhounds, could come to the party with some funding.”
“This is something that could well and truly put Moonee Valley on the map, while also showing our love and affection to our canine friends,” said Cr Cam Nation.
The motion to write to the Racing Minister regarding the welfare of racing greyhounds received support from all City of Moonee Valley councillors except Cr Rose Iser and Cr Pierce Tyson who opposed the motion.
The motion to explore the design and construction of a dedicated greyhound dog park received support from all councillors except Cr Pierce Tyson who voted against the motion. Cr Pierce Tyson is one of two City of Moonee Valley councillors aligned with the Australian Labor Party. The other councillor, Cr Katrina Hodgson, excluded herself from both votes.
Photo 1 (Black Dog): Councillor Cam Nation with greyhound Jewel Fantasy at Queen’s Park in Moonee Ponds.
Photo 2 (Fawn Dog): Councillor Cam Nation with greyhound Mo at the Cliff Whitworth Off-Leash Dog Park in Essendon West where greyhounds are still required to stay on leash at all times.
Moonee Valley City Council (https://mvcc.vic.gov.au/)
Councillor Cam Nation (https://www.instagram.com/councillorcam/)
Greyhound Adoption Program (https://gap.grv.org.au/)
Greyhound Racing Victoria (https://www.grv.org.au/)