Oxfordshire greyhound enthusiast of 40 years reveals his love for finding retired racers the perfect home

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A greyhound enthusiast with a tattoo of his retired racer on his arm hopes Oxford Stadium’s return will inspire more people in the city to consider owning a dog after its racing career.

Kevin Perisi first visited the recently reopened Oxford Stadium in 1980 and has owned over 40 racing greyhounds since he became an owner in the early 1990s.

The 57-year-old has rehomed all his greyhounds in retirement and currently lives with retired racer Seanie – racing name Keeper Lit – plus his two cats, a Jack Russell and a Yorkshire Terrier.

Seanie was a 15-times winner and even bagged two open race wins – greyhound racing’s highest grade – during a sparkling 17-month career. But Kevin explained no on-track success can match the buzz he experiences when finding one of his greyhounds a loving home in retirement.

And now he hopes to see more retired greyhounds patrolling Oxfordshire’s streets and fields as people reconnect with greyhound racing following a 10-year absence in the city.

“Every greyhound I have ever owned has provided a special connection to me,” said Kevin. “I can tell you where every single one of them has gone and the quality of life they have lived in retirement – they mean the world to me.

“With instant picture and video messaging now widely available, I receive daily updates which I love. It gives me a better feeling seeing them happy and content in retirement than when they win a race.

“For me, it’s essential I know my dogs go to the right owners. It’s a common misunderstanding greyhounds require hours of exercise each day, like working breeds including huskies, German Shepherds and spaniels.

“The assumption could not be further from the truth. While it is a greyhound’s instinct to chase and they adore racing, they are lazy, loving, affectionate and sensitive animals. I’d recommend a retired greyhound to any person or family, providing they have the time to be a responsible owner.”

In 2020, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) introduced its Greyhound Retirement Scheme (GRS) initiative to support owners in meeting costs associated with homing a greyhound when its racing career ends.

In its first year, nearly 9,000 greyhounds were enrolled in the scheme, with the GBGB pledging £1 million in payments in addition to handing out several £25,000 grants to six independent homing centre to upgrade facilities.

Kevin said significant improvements to welfare standards in the past decade coupled with Oxford Stadium’s reopening can signal the beginning of a new era for greyhound racing in the UK.

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He added: “It is essential greyhound racing prioritises the welfare of all dogs associated to the sport both before their racing careers, during training and in retirement.

“I’ve been a greyhound and animal enthusiast all my life and can confidently say the sport in its new era is anything but a welfare issue. I’m pleased to see the money invested and measures being taken by Oxford Stadium to ensure outstanding welfare and care standards.

“To have Oxford Stadium reopen is fantastic news for not only greyhound racing, but for Oxfordshire people too. It’s a great social event, and the boost the stadium will provide to people living locally and the economy will be fantastic.

“I’ll be one of the first through the doors on opening night!”

If you’re interested in rehoming a retired greyhound, you can visit Greyhound Trust – Finding homes for retired racing greyhounds since 1975 in the first instance or contact the charity’s Oxford branch via 01865 374792 or oxford@greyhoundtrust.org.uk.

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