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Should pet greyhounds have to wear muzzles?

In some Australian jurisdictions, there is a compulsory requirement for pet greyhounds to wear a muzzle in public.

Greyhound muzzling laws are based on ‘breed’ not on individual dog behaviour and are an example of breed-specific legislation (BSL). There is no evidence to show that greyhounds as a breed pose any greater risk to the public compared to other dog breeds or mix of breeds. The RSPCA does not support breed specific legislation. Compulsory greyhound muzzling is contrary to RSPCA policy which states that the use of muzzles should be based on the behaviour of each individual dog.

Compulsory muzzling contributes to negative public perceptions about greyhounds and their suitability as pets. Most people are not aware that compulsory muzzling requirements are in place and, therefore, mistakenly conclude that greyhounds are muzzled due to an aggressive and dangerous temperament. In reality, greyhounds generally have friendly and gentle dispositions making them great companion animals.

Unfortunately, the misconceptions about why greyhounds need to be muzzled has major ramifications for greyhound rehoming, preventing many greyhounds who are leaving the racing industry from finding a new home. Removing muzzling laws would significantly help improve the image of greyhounds and thus help increase rehoming rates.

Mandatory muzzling of pet greyhounds in public occurs only in Australia and Northern Ireland. RSPCA Australia has not identified any evidence of increased safety risks or incidents/issues arising from the absence of mandatory muzzling of pet greyhounds in public places in other countries or in those jurisdictions in Australia where greyhounds do not have to be muzzled.

The RSPCA supports the complete removal of mandatory muzzling requirements for pet greyhounds while in a public place. Some jurisdictions have already removed or modified mandatory muzzling requirements for pet greyhounds. Please check with your relevant local jurisdiction for information specific to your area.

The information presented here is not intended to be relied on for legal advice and you should seek advice from the relevant authority and/or a lawyer about your individual circumstances.

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Updated on April 29, 2022
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