Brashinger: Giving hope to abused Greyhounds
By Ginger Brashinger Citizen Journalistemail@example.com September 13, 2012 3:52PM
Diane Hubka, a Mokena resident who has adopted retired NGA greyhounds since 1997, is pictured with her dogs, Mystic and Diamond. | Supplied Photo
REGAP “Meet and Greet” events:
Noon to 3 p.m. the first Sunday of the month at PetSmart, 7340 W. 191st St., Tinley Park
Noon to 3 p.m. the last Sunday of the month at PetSmart, 21430 Wolf Road, Mokena
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the third Saturday of the month at Petco, 15790 S. LaGrange, Orland Park
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Children’s Farm, 12700 Southwest Highway, Palos Heights
Updated: October 17, 2012 6:14AM
Many people might not realize that dog racing still exists in our country, because it has been banned in all but seven states, according to GREY2KUSA, a racing greyhound protection group.
Where racing for sport does exist, however, the beautiful, docile National Greyhound Association greyhounds either compete or are used as breeding dogs. Their lives are not the lives of your family pet.
Diane Hubka, of Mokena, has adopted retired NGA greyhounds since 1997. She said these dogs are considered livestock rather than domestic animals. That designation allows breeders and owners to treat the dogs in a way that might result in the average dog owner receiving a fine or worse.
NGA greyhound owners and breeders can cage the dogs up to 20 hours a day, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website, in cages that might have just enough room for them to stand up.
And racing can be deadly. According to GREY2KUSA, the Mardi Gras track in West Virginia reported 42 injuries and one injury-related death in June alone.
Hubka said a racing dog’s life can be three days in a cage, a day of racing, then back in the cage for three more days. She said there is no human contact or animal socialization that often makes a dog’s life worth living.
In addition, Hubka said, the dogs are not fed high-quality food, but are expected to perform on the track — or else.
When the dogs’ racing careers end and they no longer are money-makers, many are shot or sent to breeding farms, where their lives often continue to be devoid of love and attention.
There is another alternative, one in which any of us can become involved. Hubka belongs to an anti-racing group that gives the dogs a second chance at life. Retired Greyhounds as Pets is a rescue group run by Mona and George Moore at their Wil-Moore Farm and Kennel in Mendota, Ill.
At Wil-Moore, retired greyhounds discover the good life many pets enjoy — large kennels, areas to run just for fun, life in the Moore family home, and socialization with other animals. This takes place in the hopes that each dog will become a family pet in a loving home.
Hubka said greyhounds are wonderful pets with few inherent diseases or medical problems other large dogs have, such as hip dysplasia. She said many people who are allergic to animal fur and dander find they are not allergic to greyhounds.
Best of all, they love living with people and adapt quickly, despite living in cages for as long as six years.
“They’re intelligent,” Hubka said. “You can train them to do just about anything you want. They’ve never lived in a home environment. They don’t know about doors and mirrors and stairs, but they learn in a few days.”
She said they are ideal dogs for elderly people who don’t want an animal that is super active.
“They’re known as 40-mph couch potatoes,” Hubka said.
Because of their loving dispositions, they can make great pets for families with children and other pets.
Hubka’s 6-year-old male, Mystic, and 5-year-old female, Diamond, regularly accompany Hubka and other REGAP members and their dogs to suburban locations to help educate the public and find good homes.
“I feel so passionate about taking my dogs out so people can see them who never have seen (racing greyhounds),” Hubka said. “For dogs that have lived the lives they’ve lived, you wouldn’t think they would have love in their hearts, but they are so sweet, it’s amazing.”
For more information, visit www.regapgreyhounds.rescuegroups.org.
A REGAP fundraiser picnic is planned at Wil-Moore Farm and Kennel on Saturday. For more information, call (815) 538-3647.