GREYHOUNDS, whippets and lurchers will join their owners to put their best paws forward for the Great British Greyhound Walk in York.

The event is intended to raise awareness of the urgent need to rehome the former racing dogs and to show what “wonderful companions” they make.

Now in its third year, the walk – which coincides with dozens taking place across the country – is being held on Sunday, June 24 and will also raise vital funds for independent charity Greyhound Gap.

About 2,000 greyhounds and similar breeds will take part throughout Britain. Last year, some 70 greyhounds walked along the River Ouse for the event, the second-highest turnout in the country, despite it being the first year the city was involved, and more than £1,500 was raised for greyhound charities.

This year’s aim is to break previous records for the number of greyhounds and lurchers walking together across the UK. The dogs are often abandoned, with 18 of the 50 dog kennels at the RSPCA’s York base housing this type of breed.

Tina Abbott and Jane Lund, the York walk’s joint organisers, said: “We plan to make it a real event for the greyhounds of Yorkshire.

“In order to raise much-needed funds for Greyhound Gap, we will afterwards be holding a fun dog show with a difference, Spice Dogs, sponsored by Pets at Home in Foss Islands Road, plus a raffle, and will be selling handmade collars and treats.”

One of Tina’s own dogs, Buddy, was a Greyhound Gap dog, giving her “first-hand experience” of the charity’s “fantastic work”. Greyhounds, lurchers, salukis, whippets and deerhounds are all invited on the walk, which starts at 10.30am, and owners should meet at the Fulford Arms, in Fulford Road, from 10am. More information is available by phoning Tina on 07974 757927 or Jane on 07876 681385.

An RSPCA spokeswoman said the York centre’s greyhounds were the lucky ones and many had a “sadder fate”, with more needing to be done to raise their plight.

She said ex-racing greyhounds were often seen as “disposable money-makers” and dumped after suffering injury, reaching old age or not being fast enough, adding: “Thousands of greyhounds ‘disappear’ each year – the figures are shocking and it is so sad, as they are loving, beautiful creatures.”

One of the greyhounds being cared for in York is Wilbur, who has only one eye and was “terrified” when he was found and brought to the RSPCA’s Landing Lane centre, where more information is available for those interested in caring for the dogs.