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Most greyhound racers retire to the farms for breeding purposes. There are currently over 1,500 breeding farms across the country in over 43 states. The concentration of most breeding farms can be found in Florida, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma. With over 26,464 pups registered in 2000, over 18,000 of these racers were adopted and over 6,000 retired to the farm. This figure also figures in the natural attrition rate where a greyhound might die as a pup or by natural causes later in life.
Since greyhounds are so valuable, the breeders give tremendous care to their breeding females.
The American Greyhound Council makes a direct contribution to the number of Greyhounds placed, annually allocating up to $40,000 for grants to qualifying pet adoption groups. A sizeable portion of the fund has been provided by the American Greyhound Track Owners Association (AGTOA) through its Night Of Stars racing program. Also, racetracks, in addition to their financial support of the Council, contribute more than $1 million annually to local Greyhound adoption efforts. More than $10 million has been spent by the tracks in the last seven years to support local adoption programs. Since 1990, it's estimated that more than 152,000 Greyhounds have been adopted as pets into homes. The current Greyhound pet population in the United States and Canada likely exceeds 80,000, according to Gary Guccione, making the Greyhound pet an increasingly popular and recognizable phenomenon on the American social scene.
There are several ways to adopt a retired racing greyhound. If you know a racing owner you might be able to adopt directly from them, sometimes "pre-adopting" a dog that hasn't begun racing yet or one that is currently racing, then taking the dog when its' career has ended. Or get a dog the owner wants to place after its' racing days are over. Sometimes, the owner will trust a trainer to privately place a dog, also. These are ideal situations---for the experienced greyhound owner--but not very common.
Most greyhounds are turned over to independent adoption groups by their owners or trainers for placement and for the average prospective owner this is probably the best option. These groups are located all over the country so you don't have to live anywhere near a track or farm to be able to get a dog. Unfortunately, the politics of these groups is also all over the map. A few are openly pro-racing and have good connections within the racing community, working hand-in-hand with owners, trainers and farms to find homes for their dogs. They don't try to convince anyone that racing is evil or that the dogs are ill-treated during their careers. Many other groups are what could be called neutral: their policy is to not have a policy regarding racing. While they may have individual volunteers with strong opinions, as an entity they also don't push any anti-racing propaganda.
Then we find the openly anti-racing groups. They usually use the pity angle to find homes for the dogs (and donations) and some of them may refuse to place a dog with anyone who doesn't buy into their beliefs. They have no volunteers with differing opinions. (Many of the neutral groups are off-shoots of these, the new groups started by volunteers who no longer believe the propaganda.) These anti-racing groups should be avoided if a person wants to simply have and enjoy a wonderful pet without being bombarded by myths and misinformation. The Greyhound Lovers League cannot endorse any anti-racing groups, no matter how many dogs they have found homes for or how much good they appear to do; they seek to destroy the racing industry and, in the process, do away with the breed as most of us know it.
There is one other good way to adopt a racing greyhound and this is highly recommended if you live in or near a state with live racing: right from the track.
Many greyhound tracks have in-house adoption programs and/or adoption kennels funded at least in part by the tracks, kennels and owners and some "contract" with independent nonprofit adoption groups such as Greyhound Pets of America to handle this function. Since these are subsidized the cost to the adopter is often less than going through an adoption group elsewhere. And you know you're dealing with people who won't try to indoctrinate you against racing.
The GRA/A Adoption Directory has listed several hundred greyhound adoption groups across the country which have websites. As adoption groups seldom advertise their positions on racing, GRA/A felt this should be public knowledge. As time goes on we hope to see the list grow as friendly groups come forward and identify themselves to us and the industry.