When Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) opened the doors of its Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) in 1996, it was confident there were good homes out there for retired racing greyhounds, but few could have guessed just how many.
At the end of its first full year of operation GAP had placed 35 greyhounds with new owners which was felt to be a good start.
Two decades on and GAP has now re-homed over 6,100 greyhounds, including a record 847 in 2015 alone, making it one of the largest and most successful programs of its kind in the world.
Along the way, GAP also introduced innovations such as:
– the Prison Pet Partnership where inmates at minimum security Victorian prisons foster
greyhounds to prepare them for life as a family pet,
– weekly testing days around Victoria to assess a dog’s suitability for adoption,
– set up a meet and greet yard to introduce greyhounds to their prospective new owner’s other pets, and
– established a dedicated veterinary clinic at its Seymour headquarters that handles all veterinary procedures, including de-sexing and dental work.
GAP’s growth is set to continue with predictions that over 1000 greyhounds will be adopted out in 2016.
To support this growth and find more good homes for retired greyhounds, GRV is now working on a major expansion of its Seymour headquarters, which currently has kennels for 60 dogs, and has applied for permits to substantially increase the number of greyhounds that will be housed there.
Also on the agenda is setting up a new facility in Melbourne to increase re-homing opportunities and GAP is now looking to buy and develop an easily accessible property in the city or inner suburbs.
This will be the largest expansion of GAP’s facilities in over a decade and will position the program for another 20 years as a leader in finding new homes for the retiring athletes of greyhound racing.