Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) CEO Tony Mestrov today announced that the organisation is preparing to submit a development application to Muswellbrook Shire Council to build a pet transition farm-stay facility in the Upper Hunter region of NSW.

This follows a two-year search for the right property and the purchase of Bylong Park, on 135-hectares 20 kilometres south of Denman. The GRNSW farm-stay will become a world-first facility to house and care for up to 400 retired racing greyhounds.

Mr Mestrov said: “The Bylong Park greyhound farm-stay will be a world-class animal welfare and rehabilitation facility and GRNSW is the first racing jurisdiction of any code, anywhere in the world, to develop and operate such a facility.

“The new facility will provide a home for greyhounds that are not suitable for rehoming at the time of retirement and to rehabilitate and provide ongoing veterinary assistance and general care for greyhounds injured during racing, which is intended to assist meeting targets for zero unnecessary euthanasia.

“I am pleased to announce that the new farm-stay facility will contribute economically to the Upper Hunter, firstly in the construction phase and then with the creation of around 20 new full-time local jobs.”

“We are committed to recruiting all our new employees for the facility from Denman, Muswellbrook, Singleton and the broader Upper Hunter community wherever possible.”

“Bylong Park will also rely heavily on the provision of local goods and services for its day-to-day operations,” Mr Mestrov said.

GRNSW has engaged a team of experts in animal welfare and architecture to design a centre of excellence at Bylong where animal wellbeing is the priority. The extensive plans for the development also consider any potential impacts on neighbours and the community, and the facility is designed specifically to integrate into the local environment,

Bylong Park will feature a veterinary clinic, 20 kennel complexes each housing 20 dogs, an outdoor day-run for socialisation, an indoor park with heated flooring, sensory gardens, and landscaped grounds with moving water features. The kennel complexes will be built into an L-shaped curved wall, designed to reduce, if not eliminate, the sound of barking.

“The greyhound farm-stay facility will be managed by veterinary professionals and animal behaviour experts, providing a way to transform racing dogs into family pets in one centralised location,” Mr Mestrov said.

“We expect that retired greyhounds will spend around six to eight weeks at the facility undergoing training, receiving veterinary care and behaviour coaching before they are ready for the unstructured and busy life of being a family pet, but there will be no time limit on their stay. For any greyhounds unable to transition to life as a pet, Bylong Park will offer them lifelong home.”

The Bylong Park farm-stay proposal is part of the Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) initiative which has the sole mandate of ensuring all greyhounds always have access to high quality care and a welcoming home. The program is a key platform in GRNSW’s goal of zero unnecessary euthanasia in the industry.

“GRNSW is committed to consulting with the local community about this exciting new development and would welcome the opportunity to meet virtually with key people, including direct neighbours and the business community,” Mr Mestrov said.

To find out more about the Bylong Park proposal or to organise a meeting with representatives from GRNSW, the community is encouraged to email before 24 September 2021.