Track greyhounds finding new life in San Diego

Posted at 5:47 PM, Jan 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 21:32:35-05

EL CAJON, Calif. - Thousands of greyhounds who come to San Diego County every year after their careers on the dog track end are getting a second chance at life.

Two-year-old Asha is the most recent arrival at the VCA Animal Specialty Hospital in Kearny Mesa.

"Severe fracture and luxation, dislocation of both of her ankles," said Dr. Gregory Jackson, who added Asha injured her legs while racing at Caliente in Tijuana.

Jackson said most humans wouldn't be able to handle the injuries.

"Significant pain; we would be unable to walk," he added.

Jackson said the VCA Animal Specialty Hospital has treated hundreds of dogs like Asha, who injured themselves in dog races.

Most of the dogs come from Caliente. Dog racing is still legal in at least six U.S. states and Mexico.

Asha's trainer decided against putting her down, and in a few days, she will head to El Cajon and recover at the Greyhound Adoption Center.

"We rescue track greyhounds," said Greyhound Adoption Center President Darren Rigg, who has helped recover and find a home for almost 6,000 greyhounds since 1986.

"The injured dogs that are here will make a full recovery and most of them will have no problem," said Rigg.

He added he'd love to see an end to dog racing, but said his nonprofit is not an activist organization.

"We're not trying to give them bad press," he said. "We're just trying to get cooperation because all we want to do is help the dog."

Rigg said many owners choose to put an injured dog down instead of rehabilitating them. More and more owners are sending the injured dogs to San Diego County.

"Being able to help with this and get a happy ending is what we're in this for," said Jackson.

Learn more about the effort to help injured greyhounds recover by visiting