Community costs of greyhound racing industry 'often ignored'
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Community costs of greyhound racing industry 'often ignored'

The costs to the community of greyhound racing in Canberra are "often ignored", a local greyhound support group member says.

Last week The Canberra Times reported that community groups would lose thousands of dollars in fundraising money if the ACT government banned greyhound racing.

The ACT Greyhound Support Group works mostly with dogs from NSW since not many are surrendered in the ACT, but member Dave Shelling says the costs of re-homing greyhounds, including vet treatment and desexing, are often ignored.

"A lot of vets, particularly Weston Woden vet hospital, who are absolutely fantastic ... will work for cost price [for us], essentially," he said.

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Greyhound racing is to be banned in the ACT.

Greyhound racing is to be banned in the ACT.Credit:Melissa Adams

"All the vets in the ACT are booked out constantly ... if they're taking money out of their own pockets to pay for greyhound rescues, that's money they don't have to spend in the ACT economy."

He said the support network also did much of its own fundraising.

"We've got a couple hundred of very, very committed people who put a lot of money, out of their own pockets, again, straight out of the ACT economy, paying to clean up the greyhound industry's mess, that they won't pay for," Mr Shelling said.

But Kel Watt, hired by the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club to speak on its behalf, disputes Mr Shelling's claims, and says many organisations have people who contribute time or money and the greyhound industry's contributions are as valuable as any other organisation's.

The RSPCA is looking for foster carers for greyhounds.

The RSPCA is looking for foster carers for greyhounds.Credit:Christopher Pearce

Mr Shelling also questions the club's claim – reported on its website – that for "every $1 invested into the sport in the ACT, there is a $1.80 return to the ACT economy".

A 2011 investigation into the ACT racing industry by the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission determined every $1 spent on the racing industry – as a whole – benefits the economy by $1.42.

The industry includes greyhound, harness, and thoroughbred racing, with thoroughbred racing much bigger than the other two.

The commission does note that a separate submission from the Allen Consulting Group estimates that, for every $1 reduction in the racing industry, the ACT economy's output will fall by $1.86.

The club could not point to where its figures came from.

The support network and the RSPCA are preparing for an influx of dogs following greyhound racing bans in NSW and the ACT.

The RSPCA has called for foster carers to help dogs in transition.

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The organisation is hosting three information sessions at the RSPCA ACT Shelter, at 12 Kirkpatrick Street, Weston, on Saturday, July 23, at 3.30pm or 4.45pm, or Thursday July 28, 6.30pm.

The sessions will go for about an hour and cover the same content.

Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times

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