Dairyland Greyhounds Available for Adoption

By Kevin Robinson in News on Nov 24, 2009 7:00PM

If you're connected to the internet, you may have heard about the Dairyland greyhounds that are up for adoption. (Chicagoist got an email about it last week.) Rumors abound that, if not for the generous hearts of local greyhound aficionados, the dogs will be euthanized. And while it's no secret that we've got a few dogs and cats hanging around the Chicagoist offices, it turns out there's a little more to the story than "teh internetz" would have us believe. Sam Adams, over at the Reader's sports blog, dug a little deeper, getting the facts from Ellen Paulus of the Wisconsin chapter of Greyhound Pets of America. "Wisconsin law mandates that no dogs can be put to sleep in our state just because their racing careers are completed," she told Adams in an e-mail. "Dogs have 3 options: transfer to another track to continue racing, go into adoption programs, or be signed back [to] their owners."

And while Dairyland has said in a statement on their website that "our kennel compound will remain open until all greyhounds are properly placed," the saga is far from over for the racing hounds. "We do not know at this current time how many greyhounds in total will become available for adoption until we finish racing on December 31st, 2009," Dairyland says. That's because the park will close at the end of this year, after nearly a decade of millions of dollars in losses, due in large part to increased local casino gambling operations. “We’re just at the point where there’s no upside to remaining viable,” Dairyland Executive Vice President Roy Berger told the Kenosha News. “If there was, we’d find it.”

And while Dairyland will help facilitate the socialization and placement of some of the soon to unemployed dogs, their future remains unclear if they're returned to their owners. As Adams notes at the Reader:

...no one but the owner can sell the dogs for scientific research - meaning the owner is free to do just that. Wisconsin's gaming laws were overhauled in 2003 to provide greater protections for the dogs, in part due to the case of a kennel operator who between 1996 and 2000 sold as many as 935 dogs to a cardiac research lab without their owners' knowledge. But it doesn't prevent owners from selling their own dogs for research because animals are considered private property.

To see if a greyhound is right for you, check out Dairyland's adoption page here, or get in touch with the Wisconsin chapter of Greyhound Pets of America. And if a greyhound isn't your style, Chicago Animal Care and Control has lots of cool dogs and cats just waiting to warm your home this winter!