Eighteen greyhounds?

IrishPete 20 December 2009 45

I have great sympathy for people who lost pets, property and livestock in the fire in the Michelago area, but does ANYONE think it is responsible to have 18 greyhounds as pets? If you’re a breeder, maybe, but then there are regulations governing breeders (I think).

And the owner claimed to be a firefighter and to have her property well-prepared, but her dogs clearly weren’t beneficiaries of this preparedness. If they had been let out they could have outrun the fire.

I’m serious considering writing to the RSPCA about this – they have strong views on what they call “Animal Hoarders”.

UPDATED: In reply Madame Workalot has sent in the following:

My name is Jennifer, and Bruce and Lindsay Perrin are my parents. Mum, Dad and
myself lost 13 of our beloved greyhounds on Thursday.

I would just like to thank everyone for their well wishes and understanding.
What my parents have gone through was horrific, however we have all been
absolutely overwhelmed with the community response and the assistance provided
by everyone, including greyhound breeders, trainers and enthusiasts all over the

IrishPete, I really don’t have anything to say to you. However, I would like to
clear up some of your concerns.

Myself and my parents had 18 greyhounds. All of these were racedogs until about
2 years ago, when we all decided to retire them. When we originally got the dogs
we made a pact we would not put them down when they finished racing, and they
would remain our pets. We live on approx 100 acres at the foot of the Tinderry
Mountains, and our neighbours have never had a problem with our dogs.

Our dogs were not in wire enclosures or typical greyhound accommodation – they
had timber houses, with a large timber yard for each dog. In addition, they had
long fenced off paddocks behind the kennels where they would be exercised each
day. In hindsight, they may have been better off in greyhound enclosures but
they had a very happy life and were just beautiful dogs.

You may not be aware of this, but there were two or three firetrucks on the
property during the fire specifically to protect the dogs. The firies were not
able to save them all, the fire was just too intense. Both of my parents
suffered from smoke inhalation and burns to their faces trying to protect the
dogs and the aviary. There simply wasn’t time to consider letting the dogs or
the birds loose – it happened too quickly. From the time the fire was reported
to the time it reached the property, it was a mere 45 minutes. The firies
thought they had done all they could to protect the animals, and in a normal
fire their actions would have saved the dogs. However, it simply wasn’t a normal

Five dogs remain – all are suffering from smoke inhalation and one has been at
the vet since Friday being treated. I thought I was going to lose her, however
thankfully she seems to have turned the corner and I should be able to bring her
home tomorrow. Thank you all once again for your kind thoughts. I will update
you in a couple of weeks with progress – for now, we are trying to clean up and
just deal with what happened.

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45 Responses to Eighteen greyhounds?
wishuwell wishuwell 7:45 pm 23 Dec 09

I would like to suggest the RiotACT introduce a ‘Dog With a Bone’ award and I will nominate IrishPete as a worthy winner. The criteria for this must include:
Tasty looking bone, have a chew then bury.
Dig up and have another chew (regardless of how smelly, rebury).
And finally, when you can’t resist any longer dig it up again (even if its beginning to stink)and enjoy regardless of how many other people object to the smell. Refer to my previous comment #9.

I-filed I-filed 9:30 am 23 Dec 09

IrishPete, you could have apologised for your initial post there! I think you’ve actually dug yourself a little further in there …

Mordd Mordd 8:58 pm 22 Dec 09

IrishPete – i hope you aren’t somehow implying that if your brigade had been there you would have been able to save the dogs after all. If I was you id be apologising for making these massively unfounded accusations in the first place, not for the fact that “your brigade wasn’t there”.

-1 IrishPete – I think that takes you to about -5 so far.

IrishPete IrishPete 8:05 pm 22 Dec 09

Thank you Jennifer for your very measured response (though I get the hint that you are offended). I genuinely sympathise with your and your parents’ losses.

I am sorry my Brigade wasn’t asked to assist protect yours or anyone else’s property (and there may be another story there – we may never know) – I would have been honoured by the opportunity.


Icepoet Icepoet 4:59 pm 21 Dec 09

+1 for Woody Mann-Caruso’s comment.

If anything it sounds like they were being very responsible. They must be devastated to have lost so many animals in their care.

la mente torbida la mente torbida 12:08 pm 21 Dec 09

@Madam Workalot

Hang in there Jen, you know we are all here for you and your family.

Mordd Mordd 11:33 pm 20 Dec 09

Quote: Our dogs were not in wire enclosures or typical greyhound accommodation – they
had timber houses, with a large timber yard for each dog. In addition, they had
long fenced off paddocks behind the kennels where they would be exercised each
day. In hindsight, they may have been better off in greyhound enclosures but
they had a very happy life and were just beautiful dogs.

What more needs to be said? Irishpete you are a special type of person, one that I hope to never meet in real life, im refraining from calling you what I really think as I don’t want to be moderated.

A brave and powerful response from Jennifer, I wish your family and your remaining dogs well and hope you never have to endure a horror like this again, or have to go through a fire like that again either.

midlife midlife 9:50 pm 20 Dec 09

Irishpete please stop now while you are only this far behind. Lets face it you have dug yourself a hole and more posting is only digging the hole further.

toknowthem toknowthem 8:59 pm 20 Dec 09

It takes all kinds to make a world mostly two kinds, the ones that do and the ones that sit there and whinge. For many years now I have seen both Bruce and Lindsay in the local fire brigade including the Canberra fires saving other peoples properties, animals and houses, but unfortunately on Thursday due to the temperatures and the wind speed the fire was out of control. My sympathy goes out to Bruce and Lindsay for the lose of their pets as I know how much they cared about them. Alot of retired dogs don’t get to live at all. Bruce and Lindsay would not have that many dogs unless they able to give them the upmost care. I would like to thank both Bruce and Lindsay from the Michelago Community for the support they have given us and I think that its a shame to see something written like this from someone that has no idea what he is talking about.

bd84 bd84 8:48 pm 20 Dec 09

Who cares how many greyhounds they have? as long as the owners are looking after all of them appropriately, they could own 100 if they wish.

I hope the RSPCA have strong views about the idiots of the world making complaints without any evidence too.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 6:52 pm 20 Dec 09

My original question remains largely unanswered – is having 18 dogs sufficient suspicion to report to relevant authorities?

Are you thick? I’ll type it slowly. THE…NUMBER…OF…DOGS…IS….IRRELEVANT. One dog is too many if it’s not cared for or disturbs the neighbourhood. You have no evidence whatsoever that these dogs weren’t given proper or even excellent care or were a nuisance to others. Until you do, your ‘point’ is pretty mich ‘omg lots of DOGS tehy is TEH HOARDERS police RPCSA think of teh BURNIGN CHILDREN IN CAGES’. In other words, none.

CHW CHW 2:41 pm 20 Dec 09

Irish Pete, you may have experience of fires, but you definitely don’t have experience of how to humanely keep dogs.

Head on over to Dogz Online, visit their forums, and read what dog-savvy people have to say (about this issue in particular, and the RSPCA in general).

If you have not had the pleasure of seeing a well-run kennel in action, then I can assure you that eighteen greyhounds (and those peoples’ dogs in particular were not only loved, but lived the life of Riley) in a rural area can be housed with every attention to their physical and mental welfare.

*ngg* tried to resist, but it has forced its way out… am wondering what standards he is accustomed to dogs being kept in???

foodog foodog 2:28 pm 20 Dec 09

Pete, you say you live in a rural area? Do you run stock ? I live at Burra and run sheep and the idea that letting them go to run away is absurd considering the current problems we have with wild dogs (and domestic pets that are not locked up and roaming) killing livestock.
I couldn’t think of anything worse than 13 greyhounds on the loose in the hills, so that part of your post is total rubbish and was never an option for anyone living in a farming area.
Back to your main point of hoarding. Both my uncles have raced greyhounds for 40 years and I have seen over 100 dogs kenneled at one property with zero smell and bugger all noise, this was his full time job and if you could see the level of care that they all had you see that 18 is not a lot at all especially for the size of their property.
They saved 5 dogs that are their current racing dogs, do some research and you will find that they race them and he is a registered trainer. The other 13 were retired.
My mate from Michelago actually picked their kids up from the bust stop that afternoon as they were trapped by the fire, so I know a hell of a lot amore about this whole incident than I care to post here.
Pete, you need to get a life and stop being a troublemaker as you status says and stop wasting the RSPCA’s precious time.

troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 12:07 pm 20 Dec 09

In all the years of reading RiotAct this OP has to be the most uncaring misguided holier-than-thou (but I wasn’t there) disgusting pieces of gutter commentary about other people’s incredible misfortune that I have yet had the abject misfortune to read.

Does the OP have even the merest hint of a grain of a microcosm of sympathy for what the property owners have gone through? Obviously not, or they would have kept their personal opinions back where they belonged, which is not in this public forum.

There are few things in life that a person can encounter that are truly sadder than an individual who believes they are so righteous and perfect in every fibre of their being that they could manage every last detail of a frightening situation such as an out of control bushfire on a rural property at the base of the Tinderry Range. However, I give you Irishpete, who has risen above mere mortality, who in his perfection would have had the foresight to not only prevent a bushfire from entering his property but in the impossible situation where the fire did breach his unbreachable defences, would have had the time to calmly collect the various pets and working animals from the four corners of the property and calmly load them into the back of the Prius and gently drive them out of the front gate to safety.


... ... 11:54 am 20 Dec 09

You really have nothing better to do than come on here and go on about this! You are absolutely pathetic. How can you go on about things like this when you don’t know the full details. The birds were kept in an aviary and the dogs were very well cared for. If you live on a property and the dogs have enough room to run around and are care for well enough should there be a limit to how many you own! Just hearing the owner talk about her dogs you can tell how upset she was. You have no argument.

Maybe if you knew the actual facts like how/where the dogs and birds were kept, how long the owners had to save there place and the reason that they had that many dogs, maybe then people might listen to you but you have NO IDEA at all.

You are an idiot. Good on you for being a volunteer, but being a volunteer I thought that maybe you might think twice about something like this. If you were out saving someone else’s place and then were told that your property was on fire and rushed home and your dogs were basically gone because the fire was that close, do you really think that you would go and save them, BULLSHIT.

I think that maybe someone really should put you in the same situation that these owners were put in and see how you react to coming home and realising that you could potentially lose everything that you have ever worked for.

I hope you also remember that on this property was a sawmill which of course fuelled the fire.

Grow up & Get a life.

astrojax astrojax 10:44 am 20 Dec 09

simply, pete, no, not necessarily sufficient.

deezagood deezagood 10:26 am 20 Dec 09

By the way; anybody interested in adopting a greyhound can contact the NSW GAP program; they are always looking for loving homes for retired racers. Despite their image as an aggressive breed, greyhounds were originally bred as companion dogs for British nobility; and despite being used as fodder for gamblers these days, they retain their wonderful natures. They are very much like cats in many ways; sleek, feline and graceful, and they very rarely display some of the ‘bad habits’ that deter people from dog ownership, such as berking, digging, destroying property etc… They are lovely with kids, very quiet and don’t need much exercise. In fact, they are the breed of choice in apartment cities like New York, due to their low-maintenance requirements. They are known as the ‘coach potatoes’ of the dog world. I should also mention that not ALL people who race dogs treat their dogs badly; many owner/racers absolutely love their dogs, and either keep them or rehome them at the end of their careers. I have seen the worst side of the industry though – and fail to understand why, in this age of technology, we still need to bet on ‘sports’ that may cause animal suffering.

IrishPete IrishPete 10:24 am 20 Dec 09

Some good responses, asking sensible questions, some emotive rubbish. Lots of jumping to conclusions while accusing me of doing the same – e.g. I do in fact live in a rural area. Someone described the birds as being in an aviary – where is your evidence, or are you making assumptions while accusing me of making assumptions? I agree it is likely they were in an aviary, just as it is likely the dogs were in wire enclosures.

Living through one big fire does not make you an expert, whereas attending dozens of them may make me more experienced than you if that’s all the experience you have (but I did not and do not claim to be an expert – I am, by definition, an amateur firefighter because I have a day job).

A common theme is “where is my evidence?”. I am not an investigating authority. I do not have the right to enter someone’s property and seek evidence. The RSPCA does because Australian governments fund them to do so instead of (or as well as) the police and local Councils. (By the way, as the fire was wholly in NSW, RSPCA-ACT may not have any jurisdiction). If I suspect my neigbour’s house is being burgled, or a neighbour’s child is being abused, it is not my role as a member of the public to investigate – I report my suspicion and let the appropriate authorities investigate.

My point about a child in a cage was simply to demonstrate that there are limits to the behaviour that we will forgive out of sympathy. Mentioning a child in a cage was over the top (though, sadly, this stuff happens) and seems to have distracted people from the point. So more realistically, what if the child was locked in a bedroom? Or if it was a regular house fire (not bushfire) and your house had no smoke alarms (as required by law in NSW)? If someone crashed into your car, completely not your fault, but your child wasn’t wearing a seatbelt? Rhetorical questions, as I’ve given up on receiving rational responses. As I stated, a dog is not a child, but nor is it nothing, and owners have a responsibility to provide a certain level of care to them.

For an article on animal hoarders see here: http://www.smh.com.au/national/animal-hoarders-out-of-control-20090516-b6p4.html – an average of 30, with outliers as high as 270, says to me that 18 may make the cut.

My original question remains largely unanswered – is having 18 dogs sufficient suspicion to report to relevant authorities? I don’t think anyone has given a straight answer, because they have tied it up with the emotion of sympathy for people who have lost.


deezagood deezagood 10:17 am 20 Dec 09

We worked with the Victorian Greyhound Adoption program in the early days, before retired greyhounds were known to be what they are; gorgeous, sooky, lazy, gentle, beautiful pets. The owner in question has made specific reference to her dogs being in ‘runs’; runs are quite different to ‘cages’ – they usually have ample room for the dogs to wander about. The lady has also made specific reference to her dogs being ‘retired racers’. The vast majority of retired racers end up dead; shot in the head with their ears cut off (so they can’t be traced – each racer has an ear tattoo I.D.) and buried in the bush. The ‘slightly luckier’ ones are euthanised by a vet. A lot will end up as ‘surgery experiment dogs’ at universities that teach students to become vets. Others will be kept in cages and used as blood donation dogs (where they spend their lives having needles). The fast ones may end up as breeding stock; okay for the dogs, but the bitches spend their lives having litter after litter of puppies – a fairly miserable existance. Greyhounds are still seen as disposable dogs, and it breaks my heart. Only a very, very lucky few end up in the various adoption programs or are kept as pets on their retirement. These people, who have given a home to 18 ex-racers and obviously have a passion for their animals (they did risk their lives to save five of their dogs) sound like lovely people who couldn’t bear to see these dogs killed at the end of their careers. Thus, they had 18 retired racers. I think they should be congratulated for their kindess, not criticised. The lady was genuinely heartbroken when describing her lost dogs – I very much doubt this degree of emotion would have been felt for mere ‘breeding stock’. My heart goes out to these poor people and I hope they manage to recover, rebuild, and continue to give ex racers a home.

astrojax astrojax 9:12 am 20 Dec 09

pete’s right – the owner herself made the claim that she had eighteen retired greyhounds, listening to thirteen of them burn to death. and i gather she is a current firey as she noted her gear was in her broken down car back in canberra so she was only wearing civvy clothes and realised how much protection the fire gear provides: but pete and other naysayers might be interested in the work of the organisations at: http://www.forevergreys.com/links.html

retired greyhounds usually wind up euthanized yet make wonderful, loving pets. i suspect this woman was a bit of a halfway house for these animals (i know of other good people who take a dog on for a while before it gets a final home), but even if she had all eighteen for herself, if they were well looked after then there are (were) eighteen dogs not summarily dispatched before their time, and good upon the couple. on a property away from near neighbours i’d suspect they weren’t a problem for anyone else, unlike too many dogs in a suburban setting might be…

as for being a ‘hoarder’, if this is the definition – Animal hoarding involves keeping higher than usual numbers of animals as pets without having the ability to properly house or care for them – then where is there any evidence, pete, for the lack of ability to care for these dogs?? and don’t point out that their kennels burnt in a bushfire without having a good think about the houses that burnt in the canberra fires or the many people who died in last year’s victorian fires. that is not going to be a defensible argument.

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