IN THE NEWS: Greyhounds could no longer need muzzles in public under draft changes

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IN THE NEWS: On APR 17, 2017

When you see Cindy Daley's greyhounds Sid and Maxi dressed in their matching monkey pyjamas, it's hard to believe people sometimes cross the road to get away from them.

That's because when they are out walking in public, an archaic ACT law forces Ms Daley to muzzle them in a way unbefitting of their sweet nature.

However under draft legislation introduced into the ACT Legislative Assembly last month, greyhounds would no longer need to be muzzled in public.

Owners could also walk more than four greyhounds by leash under changes in a red tape slashing omnibus.

Regulatory services minister Gordon Ramsay said the bill would remove breed-specific provisions for greyhounds carried over from repealed legislation, based on the Dog Control Act 1975.

"Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate advises that there is no evidence to suggest that greyhounds are any more dangerous than any other breed of dog and as such it makes no sense to specifically regulate for them in this way," Mr Ramsay told the assembly.

RSPCA ACT chief executive Tammy Ven Dange said they were the only pieces of legislation in the ACT based on "what the animal looks like, not what the animal has done".

"We have other states in Australia that  have restrictions on various other breeds but greyhounds are the only ones left here and it is such joy to the whole greyhound racing community to know that this silly provision that's been stuck there for a long time is about to go away if our Legislative Assembly goes ahead  and passes it," Ms Ven��Dange said.

Ms Daley, who co-founded the ACT Greyhound Support Network, said the muzzles were a barrier to rehoming the dogs.

"It sends the wrong message about the temperament of the greyhounds out in public," she said.

"We think muzzles confirm a misconception that greyhounds are aggressive animals and nothing could be further from the truth."

Indeed Ms Daley used to have to muzzle her old greyhound Ruby in public, despite Ruby having no teeth.

They just don't understand that the muzzle is for the law, it's not for my dog.

Cindy Daley, greyhound owner

"It actually demonstrated how out-of-date and how useless the law is that my toothless dog required a muzzle yet quite often in dog parks there'd be dogs nipping at each other that don't require muzzles," Ms Daley said.

"With [Sid and Maxi's] muzzles, we've had people cross the road to avoid them, we've had people actively get between them and the children or them and their little dogs because they just don't understand that the muzzle is for the law, it's not for my dog."

The bill will be debated when the ACT parliament sits next month.

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