What would a farm be without a dog or two? Farming women value the affection and usefulness of a kelpie, a heeler or even a mixed breed mutt. When WOF went to learn about the greyhound racing scene at Logan Park, Warragul, another dimension to the world of dogs became apparent.
Different aspects of greyhounds were presented. Firstly, Adrian Scott, General Manager of the Warragul Greyhound Club, outlined the club structure, weekly calendar of events and importance of the racing dogs scene. He made it clear that this is more than a sport now but an important, viable industry with economic benefits for the community. Several statistics were presented to support this: close to 80% of participants in the sport live in regional Victoria, that in 2015/16 nearly $300m. was generated in direct spending through training, racing and wagering, and that the Warragul Club alone has four FT employees plus a pool of paid casuals.
‘It is a grass roots sport,’ said Adrian, with Logan Park races on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Training trials are held on Wednesdays and Fridays.
‘Brandeen Bailey’ an attractive calm, lean, competitive greyhound bitch owned by local, Trevor Allen, was introduced. Trevor talked about her successful racing career, his feeding and training regimes and costs. Distances raced are between 300 and 720 metres, with speeds up to 70 kph achieved. ‘Bailey’ was to race that night and showed us her winning physique.
Finally, we heard from a GAP representative, the Greyhound Adoption Programme, funded by wagering proceeds. GAP assures that dogs no longer in competition or which are unsuitable for racing can be adopted out to the public. Dogs are assessed, de-sexed and prepared for a future, loved family existence as ‘couch potatoes’. The adoption fee is well subsidised and adoption rates are high.
Victorian state regulatory controls and codes of practice are in place to maximize the animal welfare and ethical practices of the industry. Drug swabbing is routine. With there being an annual ‘Melbourne Cup’ for greyhounds, prize money earnings can be up in the millions for owners of very competitive dogs.