Greyhounds have been valued historically for their hunting prowess and selected for their ability to independently sight, chase, outmanoeuvre, and catch fast moving prey such as deer, foxes, rabbits, and hares. They are genetically predisposed to be good at and enjoy chasing and catching small, fast moving objects.
We tend to expect different behaviour from pet dogs than in the role we historically bred them for. While predatory behaviour is normal dog behaviour, it is typically unacceptable in pet dogs and it is important to take steps to manage and minimise risks to keep other animals safe.
To keep any neighbourhood cats safe until they learn that you have a dog on the property, GAP strongly recommends you do the following over the first three weeks:
- Scout out the garden yourself before letting the dog outdoors
- Walk around the perimeter with your dog on lead before letting them off lead
- If you live in a high-density cat neighbourhood and cats frequently pass through your garden have your dog muzzled if off lead outdoors
If your current dog chases the neighbour’s cats, your new greyhound will likely join in the game and will be much more likely to catch it.
If you have a greyhound that has been assessed as cat trainable, it is important to remember that while they can learn to live safely with your own cat, this will likely not extend to all other cats, especially those outside. Any opportunity that the dog has to engage in the behaviour of chasing cats will make it much more challenging for you to develop a safe relationship between your cat and greyhound and could have fatal consequences.
If your front door leads directly on to the road, you could consider a baby gate to reduce the risk of your dog slipping past as people enter and exit. This can keep your dog safe from traffic, as well as keeping any roaming cats safe.
It is important to recognise that it is an offence under the Dog Control Act for a dog to attack an animal and it is your responsibility as an owner to keep your dog under control.
Dogs can be classified as either ‘Dangerous’ or ‘Menacing’ under the Dog Control Act if there is a reason to believe that they pose a threat to the safety of any person, animal, or protected wildlife based on evidence of aggressive behaviour. These classifications outline specific conditions the dog owner must adhere to, regional councils can provide more information on these.
Below is an excerpt of section 57 of the of the Dog Control Act:
Dogs attacking persons or animals
(1) A person may, for the purpose of stopping an attack, seize or destroy a dog if—
(a) the person is attacked by the dog; or
(b) the person witnesses the dog attacking any other person, or any stock, poultry, domestic animal, or protected wildlife.
(2) The owner of a dog that makes an attack described in subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 in addition to any liability that he or she may incur for any damage caused by the attack.
(3) If, in any proceedings under subsection (2), the court is satisfied that the dog has committed an attack described in subsection (1) and that the dog has not been destroyed, the court must make an order for the destruction of the dog unless it is satisfied that the circumstances of the offence were exceptional and do not warrant destruction of the dog
The entire document can be viewed here