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‘Johnny’ and ‘Twiggy’ make the pitch to end greyhound racing

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 by Dara Kam

"Johnny"

A pair of greyhounds did the marketing this morning for activists in the Capitol pushing an animal-friendly agenda.

Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, and Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, had “Johnny” and “Twiggy” on hand at a press conference for their proposal to allow dog tracks to keep their card rooms and other gambling activities but put an end to greyhound racing.

Sachs, whose district is home to the Palm Beach Kennel Club, said the state needs to quit subsidizing the dying industry and allow the pari-mutuels to stop the dog races that have become just an excuse to offer more lucrative poker games.

And, the bipartisan pair said, their “decoupling” bills (SB 382, HB 641) will put an end to the inhumane treatment of some greyhounds at smaller tracks. The pari-mutuel industry also supports the measures.

“It’s just not where we’re at as a people anymore,” Sachs said.

A similar proposal died on the last day of last year’s session over a dispute about tax breaks for the dog tracks, including PBKC.

The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and GREY2K USA are also backing a measure (SB 488, HB 527) that would allow counties to charge an extra $10 for animal cruelty fines and let the money be spent on spay and neuter programs.

The animal rights groups are opposing a proposal (SB 1184, HB 1021) dubbed the “ag gag” bill that would make it a crime to take pictures or video of agricultural property.

There goes ‘Swifty’: House OK’s no dog racing at dog tracks

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Greyhound racetrack operators, including Palm Beach Kennel Club, could drop dog racing but still run more lucrative card rooms under a measure approved 86-31 Tuesday by the state House.

Fans of horse-racing, jai-alai and dog-racing have been dwindling for decades in Florida and across the nation. The legislation (CS/HB 1145) would lift the current state requirement that dog tracks must run greyhound racing if they’re also going to run card rooms.

Bill sponsor, Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, said, “Nothing in this bill expands gambling.”

Critics, though, didn’t see it that way.

“Maybe this is a way to fix Florida,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. “But this kind of expansion is doing nothing but feeding an addiction.”

Representatives of Palm Beach Kennel Club have said it would continue to run live races but they support lifting the racing requirement because they believe it would clean up the industry and boost track revenue drawn from simulcast racing.

Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill (CS/SB 1594), which is still awaiting full approval from that chamber.

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