If you are the owner of a greyhound you have particular responsibilities, with which you must comply. Please key information below.
Enquiries relating to racing greyhounds should be directed to Greyhound Racing NSW.
All greyhounds whelped in Australia after 1 January 2011 to be microchipped.
Greyhounds registered in accordance with the rules under the Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (“registered racing greyhounds”) are exempt from the identification and lifetime registration requirements, and therefore microchipping of registered racing greyhounds is considered to be “voluntary”.
When a greyhound ceases to be a registered racing greyhound, for example after being rehomed through an adoption program, it automatically loses its exemption from the identification and lifetime registration requirements of the Companion Animals Act 1998. Trainers must notify their local council when they transfer a former racing greyhound to a new owner.
A muzzling exemption only applies to greyhounds that have successfully completed a greyhound re-training program which has been approved by the Chief Executive by order published in the NSW Government Gazette. To successfully complete an approved program, a greyhound must be deemed suitable to be unmuzzled in a public place by an authorised greyhound assessor.
The muzzle exemption process is administered by Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) as part of its Greenhounds program, in accordance with Guidelines for approval as a greyhound re-training program under clause 33B(1)(a) of the Companion Animals Regulation 2008 -PDF.
The key objectives of approved greyhound re-training programs are to counter the greyhounds’ strong instinct to chase prey and to ensure that the greyhounds are properly socialised.
An authorised greyhound behavioural assessor must assess a greyhound that has completed an approved re-training program to determine whether or not it is suitable to be unmuzzled when in a public place.
Only non-racing greyhounds (ie, retired-racing greyhounds, those kept solely for the purpose of being a pet and show greyhounds) are eligible to complete an approved program and therefore be eligible for an exemption.
The muzzling exemption does not apply to a greyhound that is a dangerous dog or a restricted dog.
To be eligible to take part in an approved program, a greyhound must be microchipped and desexed (unless it is registered with Dogs NSW for the purposes of showing, in which case it is not required to be desexed).
A greyhound must also be lifetime registered before undertaking an approved program. However, if the approved program holds an exemption from lifetime registration under clause 16(d) of the Companion Animals Regulation 2008, the greyhound is only required to be lifetime registered by the approved program by the time it is rehomed to a new owner.
Greyhound obligations and penalties
The owner of an exempt greyhound must ensure that the greyhound wears the prescribed ‘Greenhound’ collar at all times when it is in a public place. The collar is issued by GRNSW when the greyhound has successfully completed an approved program.
Affixed to the collar is a ‘Greenhound’ tag containing the greyhound’s microchip number. This allows council enforcement officers to confirm that the collar is attached to the correct dog.
Failure of the greyhound to wear the collar when in a public place may mean the owner is guilty of an offence under section 15 of the Act (not having the greyhound muzzled while in public). This may result in a penalty notice of $180 or, if the matter goes to court, a maximum penalty of $880.
Any exempt greyhound that is subsequently proven to have attacked is subject to all existing responsibilities and penalties under the Companion Animals Act 1998 as is applicable to any other dog that attacks. Where an offence is proven the greyhound owner cannot rely on the exemption as an absolute defence.