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Is Greyhound Racing Legal? Is It Cruel?

Nicole Cosgrove

Greyhounds are one of the gentlest breeds around. They have sweet dispositions and are easy to train—they are also as fast as lightning. With their incredible speed, Greyhounds have been used for racing. But is Greyhound racing legal? Is it cruel?

 Yes, it is a cruel practice for many reasons. Whether it’s legal depends on where you live.

Greyhound racing is illegal in over 40 states, with only a handful of states still running Greyhound tracks. Greyhound racing is legal in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia. That’s a considerable feat compared to what it used to be. Four states, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Kansas, and Oregon, still have laws legalizing Greyhound racing but have no active tracks.

At one time, Florida was one of the most well-known states for Greyhound racing, with 13 tracks scattered around the state. In November of 2018, Amendment 13 was on the Florida ballot, which meant banning the sport if it passed. Floridians’ voices were heard—the amendment passed 69-31, well over the 60% needed. This meant a 26-month phase-out, and as of January 1, 2021, Greyhound racing is illegal in the state of Florida.

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Is Greyhound Racing Cruel?

Yes, it is. Here are the reasons why. Greyhounds are confined to their individual cages for 20 to 23 hours a day. They have no playtime, and their bedding is mere shredded newspapers or carpet.

They are also prone to injuries sustained on the tracks, such as broken legs, broken backs, electrocutions, and head trauma. It’s estimated that over 15,000 Greyhounds were injured on the tracks between 2010 and 2019.

They are fed a poor diet of high protein to make their muscles lean, but in return, high protein causes periodontal disease in Greyhounds.

Greyhounds are also given harmful drugs to make them faster on the track, such as cocaine and steroids.

Greyhounds are not raised with love but rather for profit. They receive no personalized care—they are “turned-out” for short periods to relieve themselves and then brought right back to the confinement of their kennel.

greyhound running
Image Credit: Herbert Aust, Pixabay

Are Greyhounds a Good Family Dog?

Greyhounds make wonderful pets. They are terrific with other pets, as well as children. They have a quiet, gentle, and sweet disposition and are easy to train. Greyhounds with a racing background are kennel trained, meaning they know not to relieve themselves inside their crate. It doesn’t take them long to become house-trained because they quickly learn that the house is now their kennel.

When you adopt a Greyhound, get ready to have a couch potato. Greyhounds put the “retired” in retirement. Greyhounds love to lie around and will have the desire to run maybe a few laps in the yard. After that, they will relax and sleep right beside you on the couch.

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Can You Still Adopt a Greyhound?

Yes! There are many adoption programs throughout the United States. You can search within your area, and odds are you’ll find one close to you. They all have their own protocols, but it usually involves filling out an application and having a home check. You’ll need to have a fenced yard so your Greyhound can run whenever the mood strikes.

greyhound standing on grass
Image Credit: nonmisvegliate, Pixabay

How Much Do Greyhounds Cost To Adopt?

Every Greyhound adoption has its own fees. You can search within your local Greyhound Pets of America chapter (GPA) to get an idea. Usually, the fees range anywhere from $250 to $500. The fees cover expenses for spaying-neutering, dental cleanings, vaccinations, and physical exams.

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Final Thoughts

Greyhounds adapt quickly to their new environments. They are easy to care for and are quiet, gentle, and affectionate. When you adopt a Greyhound, you instantly make a fast friend. With Greyhound racing now illegal in over 40 states, many need loving, forever homes. They are clean, low maintenance, well mannered, and will love you to the moon and back.


Featured Image Credit: herbert2512, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.