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Greyhound rescue helps place hundreds of dogs

May 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Last year, we brought you the story of hundreds of greyhound dogs abandoned on the island of Guam after a race track there shut down. A Southern California greyhound rescue group stepped up to the plate, helping to save the lives of those dogs. Some of those dogs were found tied up, dehydrated and even starving to death. One year later, all 200 dogs are off the island of Guam. Most have been adopted, but not all.

"We did have a few little stragglers left," said Barbara Davenport, owner of the Homestretch Greyhound Rescue and Adoption. "Annie here is one of the last girls to come in. We just had a load of three dogs who are the last ones left on the island."

Annie, Aztec and Lexus were the last three greyhounds to leave Guam and a racing system widely believed to abuse the dogs.

"The dogs are essentially a byproduct of the racing industry," said Davenport. "When the dogs are no longer useful, they start costing money because they still have to be fed and housed."

That's when some track owners look for ways to get rid of the dogs cheaply.

"There are dogs sold to research. There are dogs who are dumped," said Davenport.

Twenty-thousand greyhounds "retire" each year from racing. Many are adopted, but even industry officials admit that 2,000 to 3,000 dogs are legally killed each year. Rescue groups say the number is closer to 15,000 dogs killed every year.

That's why these greyhounds are so lucky.

"There were about 200 dogs that they were able to help out," said Davenport.

Homestretch Greyhound Rescue and Adoption in Fillmore acted as a sort of way station, a first stop for the greyhounds on their way to rescue groups across the country.

"They went to over 30 greyhound rescues," said Davenport.

It cost about $700 apiece to save each of those 200 greyhounds. Continental Airlines gave the rescue groups a big break on the flights from Guam to L.A.

Opinionated, curious, smart and less active than you'd think. Davenport says retired racing greyhounds can be the perfect family dogs.

"They're so loving and so appreciative after what they've been through, still trusting," said Davenport. "They're very easy, they don't make a big fuss, they're quiet, they're clean, they're lazy."

Those three are still available for adoption at the Homestretch Greyhound Rescue.

Homestretch is also raising money for medical treatment for Annie.

There will be a big greyhound picnic Saturday in Sierra Madre, where there will be even more rescued greyhounds looking for loving homes.


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