Will Florida Finally End Greyhound Racing for Good?

Florida has never been closer to eliminating greyhound racing than it is at this moment. If activists can push hard enough in the next few weeks, the cruel practice might just become illegal.

At the moment, a proposal is on the table to outlaw greyhound racing in Florida completely by the end of 2019.

The Sad Statistics Behind Greyhound Racing

Florida is one of only six states that still permits dog racing. It was the first state to legalize pari-mutuel wagering on dogs in 1931. These days, the U.S. has only 18 dog tracks left. Sadly, 12 of them are in Florida. Approximately 7,000 greyhounds are kept in track kennels throughout the state.

State law requires dog track license holders to offer at least 100 live racing events each year. Throughout the state in 2016, gambling establishments held 3,369 such racing events. Each event presents between 8 to 15 races. That means that in one year, Florida hosted 44,364 greyhound races.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Even so, greyhound racing isn’t popular. It’s no longer the draw it once was. In fact, between 1990 and 2016, Florida taxes and fees collected for live greyhound racing declined by 98 percent.

Unfortunately, in Florida dog racing is coupled with licensing for other forms of gambling. If you want to operate a card room, you must be a pari-mutuel facility that offers jai alai, horse tracks or greyhound racing clubs. That requirement props up a failing, miserable industry. Two, actually, if you count horse racing.

The statistics on the welfare of racing greyhounds are shocking and sad:

Proposal 67 Might Change Everything

The good news is that all of this may change if enough people want it to. Newly offered Proposal 67 would amend the state constitution to outlaw wagering on greyhound races and phase them out by December 31, 2019.

On February 2, 2018, the Executive Committee of Florida’s Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) voted 6-0 in favor of moving forward with Proposal 67. That was unexpected good news.

The next step is where activists can help push this effort across the finish line. The full Constitution Revision Commission will hold five public hearings around the state. They will take public testimony on all pending proposals, including this one, from the public.

If you live near one of these cities, or are willing to drive there, consider making an appearance before the CRC to speak out in favor of Proposal 67. It’s a sure thing that racing industry representatives will voice their opinions at these hearings to try to influence the CRC not to place this proposal on the ballot. Animal activists must be there too on behalf of the greyhounds.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Here’s the key if you intend to speak — to be effective, you must be professional, polite, factual and concise. Don’t filibuster. Don’t march into the hearing with placards and bullhorns. Save that stuff for the demonstrations in front of the tracks. Outclass the industry lobbyists. Intelligent, well-considered comments can win the day if enough people come forward. Be sure to arrive by noon to get on the list to speak.

One hearing has already taken place in Fort Lauderdale. The others are scheduled as follows:

Monday, February 19 in Melbourne, Florida
1:00-7:00 PM ET
Eastern Florida State College
Maxwell C. King Center
3865 North Wickham Road
Melbourne, FL 32935

Tuesday, February 20 in Jacksonville, Florida
1:00-7:00 PM ET
University of North Florida
Herbert University Center
12000 Alumni Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32224

Tuesday, February 27 in Pensacola, Florida
1:00-7:00 PM ET
University of West Florida
Conference Center & Ballroom
11000 University Parkway, Building 22
Pensacola, FL 32514

Tuesday, March 13 in St. Petersburg, Florida
1:00-7:00 PM ET
University of South Florida – St. Petersburg
University Student Center
200 6th Ave S
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

With help from the dog-loving public, there’s a real chance that Proposal 67 can make it onto the the November 2018 ballot in Florida. That will allow the state’s voters to decide if greyhound racing should be outlawed or not. At least 60 percent of voters must approve the measure for it to pass.

The greyhound racing industry will fight long and hard over this initiative, but animal advocates must fight harder. Florida needs to end this horror show and protect greyhounds.

To learn more and volunteer for this historic effort, please contact GREY2K USA Worldwide at info@grey2kusa.org.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

92 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thank you for posting

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Kevin H
Kevin H.8 months ago

Ignorance. More fake news. The dogs love to run. You can't make the dog run if it didn't want to. Of all the stupid crap going on today families would be better spending a night out watching the dogs run doing what they love to do instead of watching Hollywood crap and playing video games.

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Isa J
Isa JOSSERAND HURE8 months ago

so sad

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Sheila S
Sheila S9 months ago

I have several friends that have adopted rescued greyhounds. Watching them run freely in a backyard, just for the fun of it is a true delight!

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Sandra V
Sandra Vito9 months ago

Thanks

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Sandra V
Sandra Vito9 months ago

Thanks

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Ruth S
Ruth S9 months ago

Thanks.

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Georgina M

I don't like animals of any kind entertaining me .These animals deserve a better life

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Kathleen England
Kathleen England9 months ago

I'm sure people can bet on other things rather than live creatures! And still lose their money without hurting anything , apart from their pockets.

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Kathleen England
Kathleen England9 months ago

No animals should be used for human profit! NO CIRCUSES, NO ZOOS, NO PERFORMING ANIMALS ANYWHERE!

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