Greyhounds race year-round at some racetracks, including the hottest days of summer and coldest days of winter. This was acknowledged in February of 2010 by a legislative agent representing Bluff’s Run in Iowa:
“We race 301 days a year. If you look outside and think about the weather right now, we’ll have dogs running tonight with no one there. We have dogs running all week, rain, snow, ice, you name it.”
For every race, the track’s surface is officially marked as having one of four conditions: fast, normal, slow, and wet. A “Fast track” designation refers to races in hot temperatures, while “Slow track” refers to races in cold temperatures. “Wet track” refers to races after a rain has soaked the track, and a “Normal track” refers to races in normal track conditions. The gambling website Greyhound Predictor claims that while tracks attempt to provide a “fair and safe circuit for racing… this can be a difficult task to achieve as ‘track surfaces’ are constantly affected by adverse weather conditions.”
There is some evidence that racing in extreme weather conditions can cause greyhounds to suffer injuries. In May 2014 after racing at Florida’s Pensacola Greyhound Track, a dog named KB’s Greer was examined by the track veterinarian who determined “the greyhound was suffering from heat exhaustion and the greyhound’s organs had begun to shut down.” The 20-month-old greyhound was subsequently euthanized. In May 2008 after racing at Iowa’s Dubuque Greyhound Park, greyhound Pat C Make It suffered a broken leg due to a “sloppy track” caused by heavy rains. Weather can even affect a greyhound’s welfare outside of racing. In 2015 at the Florida Kennel Compound in Hialeah, trainer Jorge Esquivel reported his greyhound Rockdown Ben had died due to “over heating.”
In Australia, greyhounds have been known to race in extreme heat. In December 2016, the temperature reached 38 degrees Celsius, or over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, during the race meetings at the Casino track in New South Wales.
In the United Kingdom, greyhounds have been known to race in thick fog, despite the obvious dangers inherent with low visibility. In January 2017, the Towcester Race Course held races in fog so thick it obscured camera footage.
Read our full report “High Stakes” on dog racing in the United States (PDF)
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