Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) has purchased a Hunter Valley property to use as a farm-stay site - essentially a "world first facility" to care for retired greyhounds.
GRNSW chairman Hugh Armenis said more than 80 properties had been extensively scoped and that the selected property had the potential to house up to 400 dogs with the aim to be fully operational by next year.
He described the move as "one of the most significant welfare announcements ever made in our industry".
"This is unprecedented," he said. "It's a a crucial step in GRNSW's welfare and lifetime care program for all greyhounds, and significant work has been done to ensure we have secured the ideal property for this facility.
"The farm-stay - part of GRNSW's 2018-2021 Strategic Plan - now gives GRNSW an additional avenue to rehome greyhounds which are assessed as not yet pet ready."
Plans are for the facility to be managed by full-time and part-time staff and include veterinarians and behavioural experts. The farm-stay provides a pathway through to the GAP rehoming program and long term, potentially lifetime, care.
It comes after the industry had been widely criticised by animal welfare advocates for the way it had failed to protect retired and unsuccessful racing dogs, prompting the industry to commit to reforms.
"A core pillar of GRNSW's 2018-2021 Strategic Plan is responsibility to the industry in the area of animal welfare, which includes the farm-stay," GRNSW Chief Executive Officer Mr Tony Mestrov said.
"As set out by the reforms, GRNSW is committed to establishing support mechanisms to ensure that welfare is a key consideration in every operational aspect and that a greyhound's welfare flourishes across its lifecycle.
"In order to do this, GRNSW aims to ensure greyhounds are bred, trained, trialled, raced and rehomed in the most responsible and sustainable manner.
"The farm-stay is an initiative that will help achieve this."