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Animal lovers revive push end to greyhound racing in Florida

by Dara Kam | December 6th, 2011

Two animal-loving groups are pushing a bill that would allow greyhound tracks to stop racing dogs but allow the tracks to keep operating the more lucrative card rooms.

Dog racing attendance has declined, as have revenues, and most people who go to the tracks ignore the greyhounds in favor of placing their bets on poker.

GREY2K USA, a group formed to end dog racing around the country, and the national American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, are both behind a measure sponsored by Delray Beach Democratic Sen. Maria Sachs, who sponsored a similar “decoupling” proposal earlier this year.

The ASPCA this morning released a poll showing that a majority of voters view the dog racing industry unfavorably. And GREY2K released a report documenting abuse and neglect of the dogs since 2004.

And the attendance and revenues have dropped dramatically at the tracks since 2004, according to data provided by state agencies included in the report.

Since 2004, the total amount gambled on racing at Florida’s 13 greyhound tracks, including the Palm Beach Kennel Club, decreased by 35 percent, paid attendance went down by 69 percent, and state tax revenues declined by 72 percent, the report found.

At many tracks, the dogs are forced to live in small cages and state regulators have written up at least nine cases of severe neglect associated with the kennels over the past seven years, the report found.

“Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane and must end,” GREY2K USA president and general counsel Christine Dorchak told reporters at a press conference outside the House chambers this morning.

Forcing dog track operators to run the greyhounds so they can keep their card rooms open “is a mandate for cruelty,” ASPCA director of government relations Ann Church said.

PBKC owners won’t stop racing the dogs and support the measure, as they did earlier this year, in part because it will make their races more lucrative. Only three of the state’s existing 13 dog tracks, including PBKC, are expected to continue to keep running the dogs if the bill becomes law. Supporters of the bill say it was not intended to end dog racing but to allow struggling tracks to stay open with other betting options.

Although both chambers approved Sachs’ bill, the measure died on the last day of session in May when GOP leaders could not resolve differences over tax credits.

With the legislature’s attention this session now directed to a bigger gambling proposal that would allow up to three casinos to open – presumably in South Florida – Sachs’ bill (SB 382) stands a good chance of passage when lawmakers reconvene next month, proponents say.

But the bill likely won’t fly without a fight from the dog breeders, who contend that ending the races will kill jobs and cost the state millions of dollars in tax revenues from the industry.


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23 Responses to “Animal lovers revive push end to greyhound racing in Florida”

  1. Greyhound Safe Says:

    The greyhound industry is sustained on the inherently cruel practices that greyhounds endure, daily.
    It is sustained on the thousands bred, of which a majority do not see a race track or have the chance to live long and safe lives that they can live in retirement.
    With the on-going decline of interest in numbers of punters going to race tracks it is just ridiculous that the industry is being kept alive. It is simply disgraceful that this industry of abuse to greyhounds is supported by the concerns of the breeders.

  2. Cyndi R Says:

    Florida should be ashamed that it has allowed this cruel and inhumane industry to continue while other states are banning the outdated practice. The writing is on the wall, the report that Grey2K USA revealed at the Tallahassee press conference today proves just how horrific things are in the dog racing industry. It is time for Florida to catch up with the rest of the country and let this already dying industry go the way of dog fighting and cock fighting. It is time for this travesty against greyhounds to end.

  3. Fred Barton Says:

    It’s interesting the headline state that groups want to “end” racing when the bill is to “decouple” racing for other forms of gambling so track owners can offer slots and poker without having to run a prescribed amount of live racing. I guess even the headline writer knows where the money is.

  4. Joyce C. Says:

    Passing the decoupling legislation is truly and completely a win/win situation. The bill enables a concrete economic advantage to those track operators who no longer want to offer racing for whatever their reasons may be. And importantly, it allows for a good proportion of FL’s greyhound racing population to retire to homes & lives where their value will be measured in so much more than earning potential. It makes economic and humane sense…and we should all be getting in touch with our Legislators to ask them to support its passage.

  5. JDrake Says:

    We all need to do the right thing and end the killing of these magnificent animals. It scares me to think what kind of person could kill one of these dogs…or treat them any way other than with dignity and respect. These dogs have more class than most people do. We need to start treating them like they deserve to be treated – not like money machines. It’s completely disgusting to me.

  6. Susi Pittman Says:

    I have lived in Florida all my life. I cannot tell you how inhumane the greyhound industry has been in this state. So many times, heads were turned and any attempt at humane enforcement is either dealt with ever so slightly or it is swept under the rug. I know this to be true. That being said, I truly believe the only way now to see that these beautiful dogs are not living lives of depravity is to work towards elimination of the sport. I support ANY and ALL legislation that will remove this dark blot from Florida’s history.

  7. Kairho Says:

    It’s all about economics. No longer does dog racing make any sense, economically or otherwise.

    Yes, people want to gamble. But the reality is they no longer want to gamble on the dogs for a multitude of reasons. So why are our track operators still being forced into unprofitable activities. Totally Unamerican.

    The track managements need to be allowed to pursue profitable ventures and to discontinue the unprofitable ones … just like any other business in this country.

  8. Rick Glenn Says:

    While I don’t condone the mistreating of any animals. I think they have just as much right to race as the horses do. The dogs are racing breed just as labs are a hunting breed. Same way with horses you have different breeds. I think if you going to tell one he can’t you must be fair and tell the other he can’t. To let one group be able to have the right to race and deny the right to the other is just not fair. While I don’t condone either. I think it’s only fair.

  9. Rick Glenn Says:

    Grey2k is nothing more than a lobbyist for the casino’s hiding behind the so called claim of welfare they have for the dogs. They don’t care about the welfare of dogs. You decide for yourself.

    What is the difference between advocacy and lobbying?
    Although most people use the words interchangeably, there is a distinction between advocacy and lobbying that is helpful to understand. When nonprofit organizations advocate on their own behalf, they seek to affect some aspect of society, whether they appeal to individuals about their behavior, employers about their rules, or the government about its laws. Lobbying refers specifically to advocacy efforts that attempt to influence legislation. This distinction is helpful to keep in mind because it means that laws limiting the lobbying done by nonprofit organizations do not govern other advocacy activities.

    What is the difference between grassroots lobbying and direct lobbying?

    Grassroots lobbying is appealing to the general public to contact the legislature about an issue. Direct lobbying is contacting government officials or employees directly to influence legislation. If an issue is to be decided through a ballot initiative or referendum, appeals to the public are considered direct lobbying, because the public in this instance acts as the legislature. This is helpful to nonprofits that elect to come under the 1976 law, as they may only devote 25 percent of their total lobbying expenditures to grassroots lobbying.

    You decide are they advocating for the welfare of dogs or Lobbying for the bill that helps the casino’s?

  10. Grizzer Says:

    Rick Glenn has left this odd rant and attempt at a government and politics lesson on several sites about Greyhounds.
    Grey2K is not pro casino…far from it. I’m not sure how or where you decided that? Yes, they are for greyhound welfare, no they are not a ‘rescue’ organization as such, rather they are working at the source of the problem, and hence, hopefully one day there will not be a need for rescue organizations.
    However, if you want to adopt a grey, I’m sure they will direct you to your nearest animal shelter or greyhound adoption program.
    Their finances are a matter of public record, and let me tell you, no one there is getting rich. They have worked miracles with the relatively meager donations given. So yes Glenn, I have decided and my money is on Grey2K!

  11. Rick Glenn Says:

    Yes you are right their finances are public record and here they are. Now while I agree with you that $138,000 plus car and the cost of using that car does not imply rich. Notice only two on the payroll. Like you said all they do is give you a number to a real adoption group. Nice payday to just refer you to the real group. With over $300,000 donated from HSUS and that other group. Last time I checked and it may have changed,but you can’t deduct money given to grey2k. Why is that? Maybe because they are just LOBBYIST?

  12. Eric Jackson Says:

    Rick, where do you get this idea about a car? You should really let people know that you have no clue what you’re writing about, and that you are making unfounded assumptions. It may be SHOCKing and AWFUL to you, but everyone knows that GREY2K USA is a lobbying organization. They always have been. And people donate money, time, and effort because they support GREY2K USA’s mission of ending the cruelty and inhumanity inherent in the greyhound racing industry.

  13. Rick Glenn Says:

    All that and all you have is a car. Yes grey2k is a lobbying organization for the casino’s. You left that part out. Grey2k uses tragedy to pull at America’s heart string to mislead them under false pretenses. In fact the whole concept of grey2k was built on the pulling of America’s heart string under false pretenses. Look at the police report from the train and dog story that grey2k was built. There was no dog and it was a trolly instead of train. Report says the woman either ran or jumped in front of trolly. I thank God she is OK. The whole concept of grey2k was built on false pretenses and pulling of America’s heart strings using a tragedy. I think any organization that uses tragedy under false pretenses to gain money is just down right unspeakable.

  14. Eric Jackson Says:

    Again, Rick, your post lacks truth. GREY2K USA is a lobbying organization, yes, but lobbying to end greyhound racing. That’s it. You need to get off this “casino” kick you’re on. There are no false pretenses with GREY2K USA. The cruelty and inhumanity of greyhound racing is clear and easy to see for any reasonable person. You can make up whatever you want and post it, but the facts are there, the videos are clear, and the industry is reprehensible.

  15. Rick Glenn Says:

    Yes the truth is there. Get a copy of the police report from the train and dog story and you will see it. Any group that advocates to change legislation is lobbying for the casino. Every thing I have posted can be checked easy enough. I don’t want people to believe me. I want people to pull the police report and see for them self. The journal #92027894 the other #MA013250 the date happened 9/10/92
    Boston Ma. I want the truth about grey2k to be out for who they really are. Using tragedy for the purpose of monetary gain under false pretenses.

  16. Eric Jackson Says:

    Rick, is this the best you can do? Distract and redirect? I’ve read the report, and I don’t see anything relevant to this article or the welfare of greyhounds in the racing industry.

    Here’s a link to the Florida greyhound report by GREY2K USA:

    Try reading that, then we can discuss the facts of greyhound racing. Meanwhile, GREY2K USA and I will continue lobbying to END GREYHOUND RACING.

  17. Eric Jackson Says:

    Rick Glenn says, “I don’t want people to believe me.” Then why do you keep posting lies and assumptions? Let’s debate the facts.

  18. Rick Glenn Says:

    I will rest my case. Thanks Eric for showing once again what grey2k is famous for. Taking things out of context and twisting.

  19. Eric Jackson Says:

    Sorry, Rick, but when you post nonsense, you should expect to be called on it. And in typical fashion, you’ve completely ignored the facts presented.

  20. Rick Glenn Says:

    Dispute this Eric. Since HSUS is the major sponsor of grey2k something like $300,000 a year. It is only a matter of time. Any politician who don’t want to be caught up in the mess. Well they have a mind and can do what they wish. I would just hate to know I was linked to this mess in anyway.

  21. Eric Jackson Says:

    Dispute what, Rick? That HSUS is a “major sponsor” of GREY2K USA? Let me assure you, that’s not the case. Please, tell us, where do you get this information? If it’s your buddy Dick, you should ask him where and when he got his information. Even better, ask him for evidence to support your assertion.

    Meanwhile, the link you posted has nothing to do with GREY2K USA, greyhound racing, or the proposed decoupling legislation.

  22. Rick Glenn Says:

    As they say if it look’s like HSUS(duck) and it quacks like HSUS(duck)and it walks like HSUS(duck). Then it is HSUS. As far as you bringing parts of a male’s anatomy in a public forum to try and hide from the facts. Well that speaks for it self.

  23. Eric Jackson Says:

    Male anatomy? I’m referring to Dick Ciampa. Are you really that stupid, or are you trying to be funny?

    At no point have I tried to “hide from the facts.” Just the opposite. Your posts completely lack any facts. Again, either back up your own statements or stop making them.

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