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    Guidelines for maintaining racing dogs in British kennels
Guidelines for maintaining racing dogs in British kennels

Guidelines for maintaining racing dogs in British kennels

The realm of greyhound racing constitutes an intricate mechanism, the prosperity of which hinges on the harmonious functioning of its components. Greyhound racing in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) and is a licensed pursuit, predominantly existing within the country. The GBGB Rules of Racing serve as a comprehensive set of regulations governing all facets of the racing domain, spanning from the establishment of racecourses and dog kennels to the retirement of dogs.

Greyhound racing officials rigorously enforce the stipulations and standards outlined in the Rules of Racing, with disciplinary measures taken against those who breach the rules. This approach sustains the prevailing greyhound racing system's success and ensures its continued prosperity.

Nurseries are integral links in the coordinated operation of the system. Dogs are housed and trained here before participating in competitions. Typically, the kennel owner assumes the role of trainer, bearing full responsibility for the dog's life, health, and sporting achievements.

Every trainer holds a license issued by the GBGB. Kennel staff working with dogs are categorised into three types of GBGB licenses:

  • Kennelhand – no prior work experience
  • Chief dog handler – at least 1 year of Kennelhand experience
  • Assistant trainer – at least 2 years of experience as a head dog handler

Individuals under 15 years old are prohibited from working with greyhounds. Competence in the care and keeping of greyhounds is essential for kennel staff. Proficiency in understanding canine behaviour, knowledge of hygiene, nutrition, feeding schedules, and the ability to identify signs of illness and administer first aid are prerequisites. Additionally, skills in dog care, grooming, familiarity with exercises, and training regimens are expected. Staff are also required to respond calmly and appropriately in unforeseen situations.

Nursery buildings and premises must adhere to the building standards and specifications outlined in the GBGB Rules of Racing. Separate rules govern the operation of greyhound kennels, known as the "Greyhound Residential Kennels 2019 CODE OF PRACTICE." This document, compiled by greyhound breeding experts, veterinarians, and animal welfare specialists, includes best practices in kennel construction and operation, along with all necessary documentation.

Key points include:

  • Each trainer must be registered with a veterinary clinic offering 24-hour emergency care.
  • Newly arriving animals must undergo a mandatory seven-day quarantine.
  • Dogs in the kennel must undergo mandatory vaccination and parasite control.
  • Detailed recommendations cover nutrition, drinking regime, food storage and preparation, and disease prevention.
  • Optimal dimensions for dog enclosures and a limit of two greyhounds per enclosure are specified.
  • Daily cleaning of the territory, along with premises and building disinfection, is mandated.
  • All greyhounds in the kennel must have a documented exercise regimen following GBGB templates.

GBGB employees have the authority to inspect any nursery twice a year without prior notification to the owner. Violations of the rules may result in penalties, including the revocation of the trainer's license. In 2022, Rebecca Perkins, a trainer with 17 years of experience from Burton Fleming village, received a prison sentence and a 10-year ban on keeping animals due to the deplorable condition of her kennel, lack of veterinary care, and the death of some dogs from disease and exhaustion.

Fortunately, such cases are infrequent in the United Kingdom, where greyhounds are typically treated with great affection and care. Dog owners typically select trainers with care, fostering trusting relationships. Owners have unrestricted access to visit their pets, and open training sessions, often held on weekends, facilitate communication and community-building among dog owners. Joint decisions regarding the dog, including retirement, are made collaboratively by the owner and trainer.


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