Effective 1 January 2019, all greyhound pet owners in Victoria can choose to have their greyhounds muzzle free in public. Prior to this, only greyhounds who had been adopted through GAP and wore a special GAP Green Collar were allowed to go without a muzzle in public. GAP greyhounds will continue to have temperament assessments to ensure they are safe around small dogs and are safe to go un-muzzled in public. For more information about the removal of the muzzling requirement, click here. Further information about legal requirements for owners of pet greyhounds in Victoria can be found here: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/dogs/greyhounds
While there is no longer a legal requirement, there may be times when a muzzle is appropriate and necessary. For example, GAP recommends that greyhounds are fitted with a muzzle when being introduced to other pets and to small children for the first time. The greyhound should also be leashed during these introductions. In addition, some greyhounds may display a level of predatory behaviour (also known as prey-drive) towards small animals. If you have adopted your greyhound from GAP, your greyhound will have been assessed for predatory behaviour. As this assessment is conducted at a point in time however, it is possible that predatory behaviour may present at a later date. As such, it is important that greyhound owners understand the signs of predatory behaviour and contact GAP for assistance if any of these signs are observed. Further information about recognising and managing predatory behaviour can be found here: http://gap.grv.org.au/understanding-managing-prey-drive/.
It is a legal requirement that all greyhounds (including greyhounds with a GAP Green Collar) are kept on leash and under effective control at all times when away from their home property. This applies to any public area, including off-leash dog parks. GAP does not recommend taking greyhounds to off-leash dog parks (even if kept on leash as required by law), as dog-on-dog related incidents are more likely to occur due to lack of control by other owners. This is a risk in relation to all breeds of dogs, not just greyhounds.
Greyhounds are sighthounds and run at speeds in excess of 60km/h. Many have poor recall skills and often won’t come when called if they see something that takes their attention. Even a greyhound with great recall could see something in the distance and run off to try and reach it. A sighthound in this mode can easily run into a busy road or fence without realising the danger. Therefore, for their safety, all greyhounds must be leashed in public at all times.
Should your greyhound be off-leash and become involved in an incident with another dog, not only could you be fined by your council, but you may also be liable for any injuries or veterinary bills incurred by the other party. In addition, Victorian laws regarding dangerous dogs, may result in you being taken to court and your greyhound being declared dangerous. For more information on dangerous and menacing dogs please visit http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/dogs/dog-attacks-dangerous-and-menacing-dogs