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Greyhound Racing/Gambling ‘decoupling’ Will Help Animals

Greyhound Racing/Gambling ‘decoupling’ Will Help Animals

After decades of being used as numbers to gamble on, Florida greyhounds might finally get their day. Two bills now pending in the state Legislature (House Bill 1145 and Senate Bill 1594) would decouple greyhound racing from other forms of wagering and leave the fate of dog racing to the open market. If approved, these bills will help thousands of dogs and strengthen local businesses.

Under the current law, tracks must hold live greyhound races in order to offer other forms of wagering. This dog racing mandate makes no sense. Across the state, people are going to these facilities to play poker, or place a bet on a simulcast horse race, while the grandstands sit empty and greyhounds run in circles with virtually no one watching. The pending greyhound decoupling bills do not expand gambling in any way, but simply allow the free market to determine whether dog racing continues.

Greyhound racing is a dying industry. Nationally, the dog racing industry has been cut in half in five years and now only exists in seven states. In Florida, the amount gambled on live dog racing declined by 57 percent between 2002 and 2010. Similarly, state revenue from live greyhound racing has declined by nearly 97 percent since 1990, and now represents less than $3 million statewide. This does not include regulatory costs; and when those costs are taken into account, it is possible the state is actually losing money on dog racing. Many racetracks are also losing money on this part of their business.

Most importantly, the passage of greyhound decoupling legislation would be a victory for everyone in the state who cares about dogs. At 13 race tracks across the state, thousands of greyhounds endure lives of confinement and many suffer serious injuries. Allowing dog racing to be subject to the open market will undoubtedly lead to significant decreases in greyhound injuries and confinement.

Across the country, there is increasing public opposition to greyhound racing due to humane concerns. Massachusetts citizens overwhelmingly voted to prohibit dog racing in 2008, and state Legislatures in New Hampshire and Rhode Island prohibited live greyhound racing in 2010. Just last month, the Pennsylvania Legislature voted to prohibit greyhound simulcasting.

Dog racing is cruel and inhumane and should be allowed to end. Greyhound breeders have made all sorts of false claims in an attempt to defeat these humane proposals, using faulty logic and trumped-up economic claims. It should surprise no one that they would fight to protect the dog racing mandate, as it is essentially a state subsidy of their activities.

Dog racing supporters have even claimed that these bills would somehow harm greyhounds, making it difficult for them to be adopted as pets. This is completely false. The fact is, since 2005, tracks have ended live greyhound racing in eight states. Each time, adoption groups were able to mobilize and find homes for any dogs that were displaced. Also, animal protection groups like GREY2K USA, the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stand ready to offer assistance. To us, this is an opportunity to help even more greyhounds find loving homes.

As Americans, we have a proud tradition when it comes to the humane treatment of animals. It also goes against our values to force a business to conduct one activity so that it may offer another. These are values that are shared by both liberals and conservatives, and by people from all ideologies and walks of life. Please contact your state representative and state senator today and ask them to support greyhound decoupling. Florida’s greyhounds can’t speak for themselves, and need us to be their voice.

Formed in March of 2001, GREY2K USA is a national non-profit organization dedicated to passing stronger greyhound protection laws and ending the cruelty of dog racing. To this end, we work nationwide to fight for greyhounds in state legislatures, at the ballot box, and in the courts. For more information, go to www.GREY2KUSA.org.

Author Carey Theil: Since co-founding GREY2K USA with Christine Dorchak in 2001, Carey has been sourced in hundreds of news articles about greyhound racing, and has published guest columns about the industry. He has extensive legislative experience, and has testified in favor of stronger greyhound protection laws before legislative committees in Alabama, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Oregon.

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Photo courtesy of Cyndi Rennick
NOTE: This is a guest post from Carey Theil, Executive Director of GREY2K USA.

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10:10PM PDT on May 28, 2013

This is my very first time that I am visiting here and I’m truly pleasurable to see everything at one place.
book of ra

2:20AM PST on Feb 11, 2013

How can this be a means to help?

11:57PM PST on Jan 21, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted as saying, “Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

9:36AM PDT on Apr 12, 2011

Meant to say: It's way to bad that you have NOT taken your time and effort to make sure that provisions we written into the bill to protect greyhounds should this pass.

This whole thing has me so upset--stomach in knots. Up to 12,000 greyhounds are at risk in Florida. That means that 300 adoption group would need to agree to take about 40 dogs. I don't even know that they are 300 greyhound adoption groups out there--let alone ones that can take 40 dogs.

9:32AM PDT on Apr 12, 2011

It's way to bad that you have taken your time and effort to make sure that provisions we written into the bill to protect greyhounds should this pass. As of right now--THERE ARE NO PROVISIONS TO PROTECT THE DOGS. THE TRACKS CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT WITH THE DOGS SHOULD THIS PASS. We're already hearing rumors that some tracks will cease racing and tell adoption groups they have a few weeks to get the dogs out--and they will not continue paying for food and electricity--and the groups will have to pay for space/housing.

How many greyhounds is Grey2k prepared to transport and or help get adopted? How much money is Grey2k doing to give to adoption groups so they can transport greyhounds from Florida to adoption groups outside the Southeast US where all of us adoption groups will be flooded with dogs--hearts breaking because we cannot save them all?

PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS AND HELP WITH THE PLANNING TO HELP THE DISPLACED DOGS.

I'm sick of all the propaganda with no thought to the consequences.

YOUR ACTIONS WILL HAVE DIRE CONSEQUENCES UNLESS YOU STEP UP TO HELP--MEANING MONEY, HOUSING, FOOD, ELECTRICTY, VETTING.

2:54AM PDT on Apr 12, 2011

Julie, please don't be so quick to assume that your rescued Greyhound's hip issues were entirely due to being raced. HD is a condition found in many larger breeds. It's genetic many times. I have an adopted GSD and while she has good hips at the age of 9, I've had three before that definitely did not, and my sister had one that had to be euthanized because of her hip issues, which eventually got so bad, she couldn't get up to go outside to pee, so urinated on herelf. She had to be euthanized, as did two of my previous GSD's, one at the age of only six. Great Danes are another breed that seems to have hip issues a lot. As for the incontinence, my present GSD also has issues and is on Priun, prescribed by my vet. It's a very common thing with older, spayed females of many breeds. I'm certainly not defending the entire Greyhound racing "industry", just saying that there are probably many good owners as bad, and that an issue such as what you mentioned may be entirely unrelated. The rescued TB mare that I have was never raced, and she is typical of the breed, however...she is a bit pushy, a bit hard to keep in good flesh and while she's extremely smart, she's stubborn in many ways. It has nothing to do with the fact she is race "bred", as she was never raced, but more with her breed and previous training (none). BTW, I had two Dobies in the past, BOTH named "Sasha". It's a typical German name, and unusual for a Greyhound, which I think is English?

1:13AM PDT on Apr 12, 2011

I rescued an x racing Greyhound she was about 3yrs old and had been dumped the sspca found her and I got her out of a rescue home, they are wonderful dogs so loving and although she hadn't been house trained and couldn't even climb stairs she learned very quickly, she was very timid but a wonderful dog, I had her untill she was almost 14 yrs old but she had problems with her hip which was caused by racing and she turned incontenent I had her on tablets from the vet but eventually the vet said it was best to put her to sleep while she still had some dignity as he said they don't like it when they turn dirty, it broke my heart and I cried the day the vet came to the house to put her to sleep,I love the Greyhounds and I think racing should be stopped because they don't see an animal they see money and there is so much cruelty that goes on. Her name was Sasha and she was Iris bred.

4:33AM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

For every action there is a reaction. According to the law of karma, if we cause pain and suffering to other living beings, we must endure pain and suffering in return, both individually and collectively. We reap what we sow, in this life and the next, for nature has her own justice. No one can escape the law of karma

6:13PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Kathryn, well said and great points. However, even though I agree with everything you've said, I found your comments a bit of a personal judgement or lecture towards Stephanie and it maybe a bit unfair.

I think that re-homing retired horses or dogs that have raced is always the objective, and it's sad that SOME breeders and owners don't keep that in mind when they breed in the first place, but it happens in other "fields" involving both species. Show horses are frequently sent to auction after their show days are over and they can't reproduce well enough as breeding animals, OR they're simply bred until they're all "used up", with not a thought about who's going to buy all those babies. Same with show dogs, or for that matter, any dog that can reproduce. Look at the puppy mills. Few bred in that environment are worthy of much of anything except hopefully, if they're healthy, can be companions (pets), but trouble is, far too many are not healthy.

Not all former racers are re-homeable to just anyone, and we need to keep that in mind as well. I am not familiar enough with Greyhounds, but I have to think that those who have raced may have different temperaments than those that haven't....same as with the TB's and QH's that were on the track. They need a job to do if they're "sound".

2:55PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

thanks for sharing

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