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Eighteen greyhounds?

By IrishPete - 19 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.

What’s Your opinion?

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45 Responses to
Eighteen greyhounds?
gun street girl 10:02 pm 19 Dec 09

IrishPete said :

Fires only run very quickly over short stretches (e.g. up a hill).

I am familiar with the area that burnt. It’s incredibly mountainous terrain, with dense bush on all sides.

IMO, not cool to lay the boot into people who have already had their teeth kicked in.

IrishPete 9:31 pm 19 Dec 09

I don’t need to post a reference because the female half of the couple was widely interviewed throughout the media, local and national. Try the front page of Saturday’s Canberra Times. Or Friday’s AM on Radio National. Other posters should check their facts before jumping down my throat. The woman claims to be a firefighter (or an ex-firefighter, reports aren’t entirely clear which) and to have had her and her partner’s property well-prepared for fire.

They were retired greyhounds (her description). I don’t know if retired greyhounds have any monetary value, unless they are being bred from, in which case you would describe them differently (greyhound stud farm?). 13 died, 5 were saved. A number (actual number not reported) of exotic birds also died.

I’m just wondering what other people think is an acceptable number of dogs to keep caged up – 18, 50, 100, 1000? My opinion is somewhat less than 18, but it seems I’m in the minority so far. No doubt if they lived next door to you, you would also think 18 was a few too many. And even if next door was 1km away, 18 dogs can make a lot of noise and smell.

The Canberra bushfires impacting unexpectedly on the suburban fringe is a very different situation to a rural property in the Tinderries, an area with a high fuel load that hasn’t been burnt in around 50 years (from the owners’ own account).

If it was a child kept in a cage and left to burn to death, DoCS and the police would be involved, and there’d be little sympathy for the parents/guardians regardless of how much property and how many pets were lost. So why not involve the RSPCA when it’s animals? Dogs aren’t humans, but nor are they nothing. (Perspective, anyone?)

Incidentally, the fire ran maybe 20km over a period of several hours – work out the average speed. Unless the greyhounds were terminally arthritic, they could have walked faster than the fire. Fires only run very quickly over short stretches (e.g. up a hill). Heat exhasution and smoke inhalation are only problems when you are in the midst of the fire, not if you are running ahead of it. A human might not outrun a fire, because we don’t run well over rough ground. Dogs let run free would have had a chance, a chance they didn’t have in an enclosure (and I am assuming they were in an enclosure, because there is no report of any of them running over the hills and far away).

My dogs will be looked after if a fire impacts my property, unless I happen to be away protecting someone’s else’s property, which is extremely likely, as I am an active volunteer firefighter. Are any of you? Everyone I have spoken to about this has responded “they had HOW MANY dogs?”.

I suggest the people who are cynical about the concept of “animal hoarders” type it into Google, and check out what the RSPCA thinks of them, then come back and comment again on Riot Act.


caf 8:30 pm 19 Dec 09

It’s a bloody rural property – if you ever ventured outside the city limits you might notice that the keeping of large numbers of animals is a traditional rural pastime of sorts!

Felix the Cat 8:22 pm 19 Dec 09

I think you have over reacted, IrishPete and according to the anberra Times there were only 13 dogs –

... 7:54 pm 19 Dec 09

This is absolutely pathetic. It doesn’t matter how well prepared you have your property for things like this, one gust of wind and anything is possible.

How can you truly judge anyone unless you have been put in the same situation. Its fair for people to have their say but to go to the extremes of going to the RSPCA, don’t you have anything better to do than pick on someone that has just lost years of hard work because of someone’s stupidity! I think you need to have a long hard think about what you would have done if you were put in the same situation and maybe take into mind that the people who owned these dogs lived on a property, not in a small suburban house. I assure you that these dogs were well looked after as I know the owners.

sunshine 7:50 pm 19 Dec 09

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Yes. Is there anything else I can help you with, like a sense of perspective? (Incidentally, did you dob on the Weston Animal Hospital to the RSPCA when it burned in the 2003 fires? HOARDERS! What about the animals in enclosures at Tidbinbilla who perished as well? ANYONE?)

well said!

irishpete u can’t be serious??

wishuwell 7:49 pm 19 Dec 09

Ever been through a major fire situation? Choices and decisions to make.
Ever had dogs in a rural situation? You can’t just have them running loose. Something about dogs and stock.
Whats your alternative for retired or unsuccessful racers? Perhaps cut their ears off. I think that in time you may regret having brought this one up.

G.R.R 6:38 pm 19 Dec 09

As far as I know, they were retired greyhounds.

Of course, they could have put them all down and that way, you’d sleep easier at night knowing ‘animal hoarders’ weren’t out to ruin your life. Seriously though, they lost a fair bit in the fires, but they didn’t lose it all, so maybe you should complain because it’d serve them right!

As to the fire, the reports claim the fires came from three directions onto the property. 1 man with a well-prepared property won’t stop three fronts. Of course, you being from the intarweb, you feel you somehow could have.

Finally, I’d hate to see you with no sympathy for people who lost pets, cause your great sympathy amounts to “I am going to spit in their faces!”


Devil_n_Disquiz 6:30 pm 19 Dec 09

You can’t be serious?


Mordd 6:29 pm 19 Dec 09

Was this reported on a news site somewhere, if so link?? or is it just idle gossip?

grunge_hippy 5:45 pm 19 Dec 09

where’s your source that they had 18 greyhounds?

lotus 5:23 pm 19 Dec 09

OK, first of all the 18 greyhounds were not ‘pets’-they were racers, and worth a considerable amount of money.

Letting the dogs out to go where? Sure they would have been able to outrun the fire for what 500m or so (think about how fast the fire was approaching)..then collapse from smoke/heat exhaustion and die anyway.

Woody Mann-Caruso 5:22 pm 19 Dec 09

Yes. Is there anything else I can help you with, like a sense of perspective? (Incidentally, did you dob on the Weston Animal Hospital to the RSPCA when it burned in the 2003 fires? HOARDERS! What about the animals in enclosures at Tidbinbilla who perished as well? ANYONE?)

fgzk 3:46 pm 19 Dec 09

Maybe if you could find some live dogs, owned by nasty “animal hoarders” and expose their plight, I personally might have a strong interest in your questions or opinion.

Do you have personal knowledge of these dogs and their owner?

BenMac 3:33 pm 19 Dec 09

I don’t have the paper itself, but the CT online says they only had 13 dogs. For someone to have that many they were probably in competition. If these dogs were properly cared for, before they died in a fire, I don’t see any problem with it.

The owner chose their life and property over their dogs lives. I think a lot of people would have done the same.

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