Done its dash

WARNING: The following story contains information some readers might find distressing

UPPER house Greens MP Alison Xamon has welcomed the muzzle change but wants dog racing banned, saying fatal injuries are too common.

“Fantastic news… they are beautiful, gentle, gorgeous dogs that just want to have a cuddle,” Ms Xamon responded to the announcement.

“But this is just the beginning of many reforms which still need to happen; ultimately we need to ban greyhound racing. We abhor dog fighting, and dog racing is also very dangerous for dogs with fatal injuries far too common.”

The latest Racing and Wagering WA annual report says last year 31 greyhounds were reported to have suffered “catastrophic” injuries and were either “deceased or euthanised immediately”. It covers 26,560 ‘starters’ (dogs starting a race) in the period August 1 2018 to til July 31 2019.

The report breaks down injuries into five categories:

• Minor class 1 injuries like mild skin abrasions, which don’t result in an incapacitation period (suffered by 36 dogs in 2018-19);

• Minor class 1 injuries like mild skin laceration or a small amount of muscle tissue being damaged, requiring up to 10 days off (suffered by 366 dogs);

• Medium injuries requiring up to three weeks off, such as worse skin laceration, joint/ligament strain, more severe muscle tissue damage (221 dogs);

• Major injuries which either end a racing career or require more than three weeks off, including broken legs or a muscle tearing completely in two, or the tendon separating from the muscle entirely (113 dogs);

• Catastrophic injuries, including severe skull or spinal trauma, or complex bone breaks, or bones sticking through the skin, which either kill the dog or require immediate euthanasia (31 dogs).

Thirty four racing greyhounds were also euthanised as “not suitable for rehoming”.

Total deaths from all causes were 145, down from 225 in 2017 when the McGowan government introduced a “Track Injury Rebate Scheme” where the state would pay for surgery to encourage owners and trainers not to kill injured dogs.

By David Bell

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