Retired greyhounds need homes

Staff reports

Supporters of the ballot question that bans dog racing, effective Jan. 1, are working with the Raynham track to find adoptive homes for the retired greyhounds, Carey Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA, said this week.

“We will do everything in our power so that every dog put up for adoption finds a home. I am very optimistic that every dog in Raynham is going to have a happy end,” Theil said.

Of the estimated 1,500 greyhounds housed in the kennels at Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park two years ago, only about 600-800 dogs remain.

When the last race is run on Dec. 26, some will be moved to out-of-state tracks.

Some will be put up for adoption.

It appears that both sides of the contentious issue have set aside their differences to help the dogs.

Theil said Christine Dorchak, vice-president of GREY2KUSA, and Kara Holmquist, of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,met recently with Chris Carney, son of Raynham park owner George Carney, to discuss the fate of the greyhounds. 

He said he hopes 200-300 dogs will be adopted, although the ultimate decision is up to the owners.

“The greyhounds are still their property. What they decide to do with them is beyond the control of us, the Carneys or the kennels,” he said.

Chris Carney told GREY2K that they may keep the kennels open through February “whatever the costs” to allow for an ample adoption period, Theil said.

It’s illegal in Massachusetts to euthanize a healthy dog, he added.

In a statement released to the media, GREY2K said it was proud of its 5,000-plus volunteers that worked to pass the ballot that enacted the Greyhound Protection Law.

“We won by running a true grassroots campaign, and proved that ordinary citizens really can make big changes in their local community,” the statement said.

Sponsors argued that greyhound racing is cruel because dogs are confined in small cages and are seriously injured while racing. They point to state records showing nearly 900 greyhounds had been injured while racing in Massachusetts since 2002. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of longtime employees of Raynham Park are hoping to collect a paycheck until July under a six-month extension of a simulcasting law that allows the track to air and take bets on outside races.

Legalizing slot machines at the racetracks could keep them working beyond that time.