For the first time ever, the public is seeing the inside of Florida’s greyhound racing industry. According to new state records, a racing greyhound dies every three days in the Sunshine State. In total, at least 92 greyhounds have died in Florida since May 31, 2013. Documented deaths include dogs who suffered broken legs, greyhounds that collapsed and died, and a dog who died after suffering apparent heat stroke after completing a race. This new information was compiled into a report titled ”The Final Lap,” and recently released to every member of the Florida legislature.
In addition to state death records, GREY2K USA was able to obtain photographs and video footage from the final races for several greyhounds who died in Florida. This video, named ”No Sunshine,” gives viewers the first real look into this cruel animal industry.
The tracks with the largest number of deaths were Derby Lane and Daytona Beach Kennel Club, each with twelve deaths. Sanford Orlando followed with eight reported deaths. Most of the dogs who died were less than three years old, and the two youngest dogs to perish were just 17-months-old. Tmc’s Cates Cure died at the Florida Kennel Compound when she fell and broke her leg in several places during a training race. The other of the youngest dogs to die careened into a rail at the Flagler dog track. The little pup’s body could not sustain the impact of collision. Sadly, the trainer had not even bothered to give this dog a name.
The Florida death records also document apparent cases of animal neglect. For example, Tempo Man Eater was a red greyhound who raced for the last time at Pensacola Greyhound Track on August 30. The following morning she refused to eat. Her trainer started to force feed her and contacted the kennel owner about the dog’s condition. The owner, who was out of town, told the trainer that he would take Tempo Man Eater to the veterinarian when he returned three days later. The dog received no veterinary care, and was force fed until September 4, when she was found dead inside her cage. When Tempo Man Eater died, she was two months shy of her second birthday and had only raced eight times.
Another greyhound, named Penrose Jake, died after racing at Orange Park Kennel Club on August 22. According to his death notification, the 3-year-old fawn dog died after colliding with another greyhound during a race. One month before his death, a track tipsheet stated that Penrose Jake was “running hot” and a good dog to gamble on. Penrose Jake died needlessly, for a form of gambling that is dying and is no longer economically viable.
Other greyhounds were electrocuted, broke their legs, suffered heat strokes or simply died of exhaustion, all so that someone could place a $2 bet.
It is time to finally end this cruelty. On February 19, we released The Final Lap and No Sunshine at a statehouse press conference in Tallahassee. Leaders of GREY2K USA and the ASPCA were joined at this event by two rescued greyhounds, and five compassionate lawmakers. Senator Eleanor Sobel, Representative Jared Moskowitz, Representative Matt Gaetz, Representative John Wood and Representative Ray Pilon stood together to announce new decoupling and injury reporting legislation. Humane groups are urging lawmakers to eliminate a state mandate that requires dog racing, and also require that dog tracks begin reporting on all injuries for the first time. Florida is now one of only two states, with Alabama, that does not publicly report greyhound injuries. Read our joint press release with the ASPCA to learn more.
A new day is coming in our fight to end dog racing in Florida. Check out today’s video and then stay tuned for ways you can help pass humane legislation for greyhounds this year. The greyhounds can’t speak for themselves and are counting on us to help give them a voice.
Photo Credit: Grey2K USA