‘Greyhound Safety Act’ Would Allow Some Cocaine in Florida’s Racing Dogs

Since 2008, 46 dogs have tested positive for cocaine in Florida’s cruel greyhound racing industry. After five greyhounds tested positive earlier this year, their trainer, Malcolm McAllister, had his racing license permanently revoked.

But there may be good news for McAllister and others involved in Florida dog racing. A bill has been introduced that would make it legal for the state’s racing dogs to have trace amounts ofcocaine in their systems.

Yes, you read that right — the very misleadingly named “Greyhound Safety Act” would allow “environmental levels” of “prohibited substances” in the systems of Florida’s racing dogs.

(Cocaine, under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, is only legal for medical purposes. It’s available in a liquid preparation for use in hospitals and other medical facilities, but is not available for prescription.)

“Animal safety is and always has been our No. 1 issue,” said Jack Cory, spokesman and lobbyist for the Florida Greyhound Association (FGA), a group of racing dog breeders and owners, according to the website Florida Politics. He said the bill “moves that one step further.”

After all, Cory said, “You can get a nanogram of cocaine from touching a $20 bill. Having one nanogram in your system is not going to affect any dog or any person and that is what is we are trying to clarify.”

Shocked and disgusted? So are some Florida state legislators.

“Was this written by The Onion?” Rep. Jared Moskowitz asked Florida Politics. He said that while he couldn’t speak for Florida House of Representatives Speaker Richard Corcoran, “I cannot imagine any situation where he would allow a bill to be heard that would effectively legalize cocaine in dogs. This is not serious policy. This is satire. (The industry) is recognizing that dog racing is coming to an end, and they are throwing every ridiculous idea to see what sticks.”

“Wow,” tweeted Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith. “Only in (Tallahassee) would the industry solution to the epidemic of cocaine and steroid use in greyhounds be to legalize cocaine and steroid use in greyhounds.”

Florida already allows steroids to be given to racing greyhounds. Cory said they’re used “for birth control.” But according to Smith, they’re given to female greyhounds to stop them from going into heat and missing money-making racing days.

Earlier this year, Smith and other legislators tried to ban the use of steroids, which can have harmful, long-term side effects on the dogs. The House version of the bill passed by a wide margin, but it didn’t make it onto the Senate agenda for the 2017 legislative session.

Along with allowing cocaine, the Greyhound Safety Act would also require some measures that actually have to do with safety, like a “safe track surface” and insulating wires to protect dogs from being electrocuted. It doesn’t however, include a hurricane evacuation plan for the state’s estimated 8,000 racing dogs. Although Cory claims the FGA’s No. 1 issue is animal safety, racing greyhounds were left behind in the path of Hurricane Irma two months ago.

THE END MAY BE NEAR FOR GREYHOUND RACING IN FLORIDA

The good news is that, in the not-too-distant future, there may be no need for the Greyhound Safety Act. Earlier this month, Florida Sen. Tom Lee filed an amendment to the state constitution that would ban dog racing in the state by 2021 and shut down its 12 remaining tracks. It could be on the ballot in November 2018.

In the meantime, a greyhound dies every three days in Florida, according to a 2015 GREY2K USA report. While Florida (and Alabama) don’t publicly report greyhound injuries, 11,722 injuries were documented nationwide from 2008 to 2015.

The lives of racing dogs are already endangered by this “sport.” Allowing cocaine in their systems is a terrible idea that would only make matters worse. Please sign and share this petition urging the Florida House of Representatives to reject the ridiculous Greyhound Safety Act.

Photo credit: Sarah Sapp

131 comments

Filomena C
Filomena C34 minutes ago

Disgusting and incredible!

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Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole H2 days ago

@ Cathy B : I first had a smile on my face when reading yr comment. But then I thought OH NO !! Suppose we give some cocaine to Trump and his gang members. What would happen to the world then ??? No, just don't ever do that. You would certainly not sit in your seat to see what happens.... You would attend every day to a protest march somewhere !!! Would certainly be great news on all tele nets, and YouTube would have an explosion of videos and talk programs !! LOL

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Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole H2 days ago

And what am I supposed to understand by "a certain amount of traces" ... there is cocaine, or there is NO cocaine. I will make this short
BAN ALL RACES BY GREYHOUND or OTHER DOGS
BAN ALL RACES BY HORSES ...
It are both so called "sports" by which animals are brutally abused, drugged, receive vet care, in as much as they must be able to run their race, without taking into consideration the possible negative effects on long terms, neither does it take account the future health issues, specially by horses who have bad back problems, have issues with their feet and legs, etc... and that all FOR THE GOD OF THE $$$ OR THE €€€ OR WHATEVER CURRENCY THEY USE IN ARABIAN COUNTRIES (big favorites of horse racings). No more racings, no more drugs. No more racings, no more abuse of animals. No more racings, no more unnecessary suffering or early euthanizing of animals. AMEN !!

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David P
David P3 days ago

This a preposterous proposal that is morally wrong on so many levels. When will animal exploitation ever end?

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Scott S
Scott S3 days ago

I don't usually sign online petitions, but I am glad to sign this one because I love dogs. Perking up greyhounds with cocaine for racing for the entertainment of deranged people is as cruel and archaic as cock fighting! A dog's love for his or her master is unconditional so just let the dogs be dogs!

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Renata B
Renata B5 days ago

Florida again!!! What's going on in that state? It is more and more in the news, and not for good reasons for sure. This is really horrible.

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Georgina M
Georgina M5 days ago

petition signed..It is disgusting the lengths people go to make money

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Catherine Z
Catherine Z5 days ago

I agree with Sheila S

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Catherine Z
Catherine Z5 days ago

This practice makes me want to throw up.

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Sheila S
Sheila S6 days ago

2021 is too long a wait to ban ALL greyhound racing, but apparently, the owners want to get as much out of the remaining time as possible. Shame on all of them!

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