Davenport police were out in the bitter wind this morning still trying to catch a racing greyhound that escaped from a trailer carrying thirty of the dogs, when the truck towing it crashed Thursday morning on Interstate-80 near the Quad Cities. Some of the people who came to help round up the animals were volunteers with a group that helps find homes for racing dogs.
One of the volunteers is Jennifer Franklin, who spends time helping at Quad Cities Greyhound Adoption. The first call to someone affiliated with the rescue group came from Davenport police about 5 A.M. Thursday, and she came out to open the kennel to take in the 23 dogs being brought from the crash site that were uninjured and could walk.
A medical expert on the staff helped check out all the dogs. The closest track is the Dubuque Greyhound Racing track, where dogs are no longer kept if they run poorly, break a leg or aren’t good racers for any reason. The group takes in the unwanted greyhounds, and finds adoptive homes. She says with local TV features, the group’s website and visits to service and community groups, they try to get out the word about adopting a greyhound.
Franklin says she has four of her own, and they make wonderful pets. "They’re basically giant cats," she says. "Once they’re done racing they’re ready to retire to a couch, and they do a lot of sleeping — sometimes up to 20 hours a day." Despite what you might think, she says they don’t need a lot of exercise.
A couple ten-minute walks a day will be more than sufficient, Franklin says. She says the greyhounds are gentle and loving, and most are "cat-safe and child-safe."
The driver of the truck, who died in Thursday’s crash, was identified as 62-year-old Francis Evans of Ohio, was towing the trailer of racing dogs from Oklahoma to a racetrack in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Authorities haven’t yet said if an autopsy revealed a reason why the truck veered off Interstate-80 just before the crash, but friends said Evans had had a heart attack just a few months earlier. His 19-year-old grandson and a teenage friend were in the truck but escaped injury in the truck.