Greyhounds are often thought of only as a racing dog. However, by the time many of these dogs reach the age of five, they are "retired" which often means they get sent to shelters. When they are no longer fast enough, they are left behind and the owners move on to the next dog. It was reveled by Victoria's Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, that up to 4,000 dogs are killed before their fifth birthday. To help lower the number of dogs being euthanized, the Greyhound Racing Victoria's Official Adoption Program (GAP) has found a unique way to socialize the dogs in order to give them a better chance to being adopted: Sending them to prison.
To give these dogs a fighting chance, they are sent to Dhurrungile Prison, a minimum security facility near Shepparton, Australia. Dogs like "Snazzy" -who raced for two years - are being cared for by inmates to get better at human interaction and be properly socialized so they will be able to be adopted.
"Most of them have come straight from kennels. They haven't had human interaction and that. So when they come they're timid, scared, some of them," Daniel, one of the inmates responsible for the rehabilitation of the dogs says of the Greyhounds.
The transformation is remarkable. They spend time with the inmates and learn what it is like to have healthy social interactions.
"By the end of the four weeks, you see a complete turnaround where they want to come out and interact and be around people. It's rewarding to see that." - Daniel
This project isn't only helping the dogs, it is helping the inmates feel differently about their experiences.
"It's made me really look at life, while I've been in jail and seen them come a long way. And it's changed me a lot. Teaching the dogs really taught me other things that I didn't know; how to be a good friend, just be a good person in life." - John
Despite their racing history, Greyhound dogs are actually quite lazy. They like quick little bursts of energy and then resume their very important naps, earning themselves the nickname of "70-kilometer-per-hour couch potatoes".
The group hopes to increase support for their cause while simultaneously lowering the rate at which these dogs are born. They don't want any of them to be put down, so the excessive breeding need to stop. They are working hard to re-home all these dogs and give these wonderful dogs a life after racing. Read more about it here and see just how bad this issue has gotten.