Lots of Greyhounds could be crossing the finish line sooner than some would like in Florida. Last week residents voted to ban the sport by the end of 2020 sending many of the canine athletes into early retirement.
“Anywhere between 2,000 and 8,000,” said Penny Zwart who runs Pups Without Partners one of five Greyhound adoption groups in Connecticut.
She is hoping to find good homes for all the race dogs who will soon be leaving their fast paced life in the Sunshine State.
“It’s what they’re born to do and now that they’re being fired from their job. My job is to find them a couch to sleep on,” said Zwart.
Three year old J.C. and ten year old Scout are retired racers.
“They’re very good dogs. I love them to death,” said owner Debbie Tierney of West Haven.
She says people are surprised to learn how friendly and calm they are. When they’re not running around of course.
“We lost our backyard because they race around in circles all the time but they come in and they sleep all day,” said Tierney.
Their fur is very soft but they have a thin coat so in Connecticut they do have to wear a winter coat when they go outside. They also need a special compression collar which is thicker than most.
“Their neck is as wide as their head and a regular collar would just come right off of them,” explains Tierney. “So this stops it from coming off.
In Connecticut, dog racing ended more than a decade ago because it wasn’t making money.
“I was the kennel operator of the Bridgeport track,” said Zwart. “We had 400 dogs that were looking for homes.”
She helped all of them find one.
“And we continue to do that and we will until the last dog finds a home,” said Zwart who is now looking at another race against time.