Previously by law, greyhounds needed to be muzzled when in public unless they went through a special assessment program. Also, there was a restriction on the number of greyhounds that could be walked at the same time. The ACT Government in June 2017 repealed the enforcement of the Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) of greyhounds in the ACT.
The ACT Government is once again leading the country for animal welfare standards. Now, these gentle giants can walk in public just like every other dog in Canberra, and that is without a muzzle by default. On behalf of the greyhounds and their owners say thank you!
The old legislation that required greyhounds to be muzzled in public was a carryover from the out-dated Dog Control Act 1975. The muzzling laws gave a negative misconception that Greyhounds are aggressive dogs. In reality, greyhounds usually have friendly and gentle dispositions and make fantastic pets.
But is this good news for greyhounds?
Greyhound owners need to make a considered decision when removing muzzles off their pet greyhounds! Many greys have prey drive and pack mentality. Normally gentle, quiet dogs they can act unpredictably when aroused, and most with an ex-racing history have often been trained to chase and grab!
Wearing of muzzles has protected these greyhounds on many occasions from misdemeanours. This in turn has also protected the reputation of these gentle giants.
Many people are working tirelessly in a voluntary capacity to promote greyhound pet ownership, and to facilitate and support rehoming of greyhounds in Canberra. The responsibility of the decision to muzzle or not must stay with the owner, so as nor to undo all this great work!
Before taking the muzzle off, greyhound owners need to ask the following questions honestly;
- How long have I known this dog?
- Do I know this dog’s history?
- Have I seen this dog in the situation I am about to put it in?
- Can I predict my dog’s behaviour?
- Even though my dog doesn’t have to wear a muzzle, should they wear one? (for their own safety, and the safety of the reputation of the breed)
The change in legislation does not compel greyhound owners not to muzzle their dogs; it just gives them the choice to decide.
This is a brave new world, and greyhound owners have to remember with freedom comes responsibility.