GREYHOUND lovers are lobbying the state government to axe laws requiring the dogs to wear muzzles in public.
Maylands Labor MP Lisa Baker is backing the push and says the law hinders greyhound adoption because it creates the perception that they are more likely to bite than other dogs.
“This flies in the face of clear academic and scientific evidence,” Ms Baker said, adding it was outdated breed-specific legislation.
The RSPCA agrees.
The vestigial law stems from the days when greyhounds were viewed as racing machines and had an unfair reputation for aggression.
Greyhound advocates Alanna Christiansen and Andrea Pollard from Free the Hounds presented a 4000-signature anti-muzzle petition to state racing and gaming minister Paul Papalia at parliament on Wednesday (June 26).
The group also has the support of Greens MP Alison Xamon, who wants greyhound racing abolished.
Greyhounds currently have to pass Racing and Wagering WA’s National Temperament Testing Assessment to go sans-muzzle, which means staying with “Greyhounds as Pets” for four days. Their owners have to cough up $175.
Some greyhound adopters don’t feel comfortable sending their pets to stay with an organisation connected to the industry that “discarded” them.
The state government is currently reviewing the Cat Act and the Dog Act, which contain the muzzle laws.
Mr Papalia welcomed the petition and said “it’s timely we look at it”.
He’d just survived a photo shoot with three greyhounds before talking to us, and far from them being fierce hounds, he said “we had to wake one of them up to get a photo”.
While Ms Baker says she’d prefer to see the end of the racing industry altogether, Mr Papalia does not support those calls.
“That’s not on the table,” Mr Papalia told the Voice. “As the state government, we recognise all codes in the racing industry are important contributors to the state. They employ a lot of people, they generate an opportunity for people to make their living, and they also contribute to the calendar of events.”
He said when Labor took government, he told the industry they’d have to have the best welfare standards if they were to continue operating. Two years on he says “as a result of working with the advocacy groups, I believe we have the highest standards in the country, if not the world.
“I’m satisfied that there is no behaviour [in WA] of the like that people were so deeply aggrieved over on the east coast.”
by DAVID BELL