One year since the Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS) was launched, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain is reflecting on the success of its ground-breaking scheme.

Under the GRS, owners are required to make a £200 contribution towards their greyhound’s eventual retirement at the same time as registering them for racing with GBGB.  This £200 is kept and then matched by GBGB once a greyhound enters an approved homing centre and is used to cover the costs associated with its homing.

In the past 12 months, nearly 9,000 greyhounds have been enrolled in the scheme – including just over 2,500 registered before 1 September 2020 whose owners voluntarily decided to pay their contribution and sign them up.  Importantly, 126 homing centres have been approved which means they are eligible to receive the funding when an ex-racer enters their home.

Over 3,000 greyhounds have benefited from the GRS funding and are enjoying their retirement in either an approved homing centre or their forever home.  GBGB has contributed over £1 million in GRS payments in addition to the £25,000 worth of grants it has awarded to six independent homing centres to upgrade their facilities.

For the first year, owners were only required to pay £100 at the point of registration with GBGB with the remaining £100 due any time up to and including on their greyhound’s retirement.  GBGB has extended this dispensation for four months until the end of 2021.  A similar dispensation for owners of British bred greyhounds (i.e. those which are born, microchipped and earmarked in Britain) continues for another year.

Describing the benefits of the GRS to them, Scott Kennedy from Homes4Hounds said:

“The GRS has proven to be an invaluable scheme that helps so many retired racing greyhounds find their forever homes.  The extra funding per registered dog helps cover the costs of any unexpected vets’ bills which could otherwise be costly – particularly in recent Covid times. The GRS has allowed us to home more retired greyhounds than perhaps would have been possible without this contribution.” 

Tracey Parbery, Chair of Greyhound Trust Hall Green, which has homed nearly 400 greyhounds through the GRS, added:

“The GRS has been a lifeline to many Greyhound Trust branches.  The knowledge that you have a guaranteed payment coming into the Branch against every greyhound you are finding a home for helps budget for costs and supports the welfare of each hound.” 

Paula Beniston, GBGB Greyhound Retirement Scheme Co-ordinator, said:

“Every day I receive heart-warming stories from homing centres across the country telling me about the homes they have found for retired greyhounds.  The GRS is clearly making it easier for these homes to welcome our ex-racers and to find loving homes for them.  Whilst this financial support is vital, the success of this scheme would not be possible without the fantastic volunteers who work tirelessly to find suitable homes for greyhounds.  It’s been a pleasure to meet so many volunteers and see for myself how much care and attention they give the greyhounds and how determined they are to find the right home for each one.  Homing centres have found the approval process simple and straightforward and I look forward to welcoming more into the scheme.

“I also want to thank all trainers, owners and stadia for their support.  They are excellent ambassadors for the GRS as well as our retired canine athletes and have been key to the scheme’s success to date.”

Mark Bird, Managing Director of GBGB, said:

“The GRS really has been a step-change in the way our retired athletes are rehomed.  Not only has it removed the financial barriers to a greyhound’s successful rehoming but it has reinforced the idea of responsible ownership.  An owner’s responsibility does not end when their greyhound leaves the track; it extends into their retirement until a suitable home is found and the GRS is pivotal in ensuring owners fulfil this responsibility.

“With over 3,000 greyhounds found homes through the GRS, it is clear that this scheme is working and with Paula Beniston at the helm, I look forward to seeing it go from strength to strength.”