GREYHOUND owners have welcomed news that laws requiring their dogs to be muzzled in public could be removed next year.
In response to a 2700-signature petition calling for the end of compulsory muzzling rules, the State Government has announced it intends to change the law in 2020.
During community consultation it received 1192 submissions advocating for the removal of the requirement in the Dog Act 1976 for retired racing greyhounds to wear muzzles in public places.
Free the Hounds campaigner Andrea Pollard said the group was ecstatic about the announcement after a three-year campaign.
“This is such an exciting announcement and another small step forward towards a world without greyhound racing – a world were dogs can just be dogs,” she said.
“Greyhounds are gentle, loving dogs and muzzles give completely the wrong impression of them, people assume they’re aggressive when most greyhounds are the exact opposite.
“With so many greyhounds needing homes this change will really help more greyhounds become the loving family members they were always meant to be.
“I’ve had my greyhound Misty for seven years now and this change means so much to me.
“Misty is the most gentle natured chilled out dog I’ve ever met and to see people at the dog park pull their dogs away from her when they see her muzzle has been really disheartening.
“This change gives her the same standing as other dog, just like all her other friends at the park.”
The Hocking resident said the number of submissions received during the Dog Act review showed there was strong community support for the law change.
“There is no evidence to suggest that greyhounds are any more dangerous than other breeds and with the successful removal of these laws in Victoria and NSW this year, it’s a really exciting move for greyhound welfare in WA,” she said.
“Many happy tears were shed by rescue greyhound owners all over WA and party plans made for when the legislation passes.”
Local Government Minister David Templeman and Lisa Baker announced their intention to change the law outside Parliament House on November 26.
“Removing the requirement for pet greyhounds to be muzzled in public places will improve the welfare of these animals and increase retired racing greyhound adoption,” Mr Templeman said.
Mr Templeman encouraged people to consider adopting greyhounds from re-homing agencies or dogs from an animal refuge rather than buying pets.
Registered racing greyhounds will continue to have to wear muzzles in all public places by application of the Greyhound Rules of Racing.
For more information on adoption and the proposed laws, visit www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/greyhounds.