Petition lodged to end greyhound muzzling in WA

Free the Hounds treasurer Andrea Pollard, Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia, North Metro MLC Alison Xamon, Free the Hounds president Alanna Christiansen, Maylands MLA Lisa Baker with muzzled greyhounds Max, Misty and Hope.
Free the Hounds treasurer Andrea Pollard, Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia, North Metro MLC Alison Xamon, Free the Hounds president Alanna Christiansen, Maylands MLA Lisa Baker with muzzled greyhounds Max, Misty and Hope.

A PETITION seeking an end to compulsory greyhound muzzling laws has been submitted to State Parliament.

Free the Hounds president Alanna Christiansen and treasurer Andrea Pollard, of Hocking, as well as dogs Max, Misty and Hope recently presented a 2700-signature petition to State MPs at Parliament House.

They want the Dog Act changed to remove the requirement for all greyhounds to be muzzled in public without the requirement to complete a training program.

Ms Pollard adopted Hope after volunteering in Macau earlier this year to help greyhounds left at the Canidrome after greyhound racing ended there last year.

She said Hope’s “beautiful greyhound nature” demonstrated why not every greyhound should be made to wear a muzzle just because of their breed.

“Greyhounds generally have friendly and gentle dispositions, despite their upbringing in the racing industry – they are more likely to run in an altercation than attack,” she said.

“Muzzles make companion greyhounds vulnerable to being victims of attack by other off leash dogs and completely defenceless to protect themselves if attacked.”

Ms Pollard said the only group of people who benefited from having greyhounds seen as different to other dog breeds were pro-racers.

“To the pro-racers, muzzling laws need to remain to perpetuate the notion that greyhounds are different to other dog breeds,” she said.

“While greyhounds are seen as different, racing and unnecessary deaths of healthy innocent dogs will be justified and continue.”

According to the RSPCA, there was no evidence that greyhounds pose any greater risk than other dog breeds and the organisation does not support breed-specific legislation.

It said behaviour was based on particular dog’s attributes and a blanket law on an entire breed was discriminatory and contributed to negative public perceptions about greyhounds.

Maylands MLA Lisa Baker, who tabled the petition on June 26, said the time was right for the government to revisit laws that forced one breed of dog to wear a muzzle.

“There is no evidence that greyhounds are more of a threat to public safety than any other dog,” she said.

“The muzzles makes people worried about adopting these beautiful dogs into their family.”

The State Government is reviewing the Dog Act, which includes the requirement for a greyhound to be muzzled.

The deadline for public submissions is August 4 – visit www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au.

Other Australian states and territories that have removed, or indicated their intention to remove, the compulsory muzzling laws include ACT, Victoria, NSW, Northern Territory and local council in Queensland.