Greyhounds get muzzle green light
TWEED greyhounds can now be free of muzzles as Greenhounds.
Friends of the Hound volunteer Babette Angell said after three years of lobbying compulsory muzzling was a thing of the past.
"The muzzle issue has been a contentious one - a hangover since 1926 when greyhound racing began in Sydney.
"Because of their racing training they were seen as dangerous and trained to chase, thus the muzzle regardless of their temperament remained law for non-racing greyhounds.
"Although greyhounds were the pet of choice in the 1920s it is only recently in the last 10 years or so that they have become popular as family pets as racing is in every state."
She said changes to the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 requiring greyhounds to wear a muzzle in public was the first step.
"In February 2011 the act was amended to provide an exemption to pet and retired racing greyhounds that have successfully completed an approved greyhound re-training program and passed the required assessment."
This re-training and assessment is known as the Greenhound Collar Test.
The word "Greenhound" comes from the fact greyhounds are generally rescued after they have retired from racing and are thus "recycled."
Ms Angell said her dogs Sammy and Gypsy could now walk muzzle-free in public thanks to the collars.
"To qualify for the exemption, a greyhound must successfully complete an approved re-training program and pass a behavioural test conducted by an authorised assessor.
"To begin the program, owners must register with www.greenhounds.com.au and complete the initial details that includes the microchip number and lifetime council registration information."
She said Cabarita vet Dr Merridie Fury had qualified as an authorised Tweed-Northern Rivers area assessor.
"She will assess greyhounds once they have completed their re-training program, an in-house program of a minimum of six weeks.
"Pet greyhounds walking our streets on the leash without muzzles would encourage more people to adopt these wonderful, mild mannered super dogs.
"And walking muzzle-free would stop people asking 'do they bite' or 'are they vicious.'
"Owners of pet greyhounds are ambassadors of the breed and more Greenhounds with their approved green collars can only improve their image as a suitable family pet."