Breaking news: Florida residents can vote in November to end greyhound racing

By on April 17, 2018 with 46 Comments

Florida voters can decide in November to extinguish the cruel greyhound racing industry in their state once and for all.

Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission yesterday voted to place on the 2018 ballot a constitutional amendment that would phase out greyhound racing in the state by the end of 2020. This is a monumental step forward toward ending an industry that thrives on the pain of animals, and it has the backing of heavy hitters in the state, including Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, former Florida Senate President Tom Lee, former Senate President Don Gaetz, Commissioner Brecht Heuchan and Congressman Matt Gaetz.

Ending greyhound racing in Florida is especially important because this state anchors the entire greyhound racing industry in the United States. Florida is home to 12 of the remaining 18 dog tracks nationwide.

While greyhounds look beautiful and athletic on the track, the fact is that the animals involved in racing have lives that are anything but glamorous. Florida’s approximately 8,000 actively racing dogs are kept in continuous confinement in barren warehouse-style kennels in rows of stacked metal cages that are barely large enough for the animals to stand up or turn around. The dogs are normally confined for 20 to 23 hours per day.

On average a greyhound dies at a Florida racetrack every three days and at least eight serious cases of greyhound neglect, some involving starving dogs and withholding medical care, have been documented in the Florida greyhound racing industry over the past decade. Florida and Alabama are the only two states with greyhound racing that do not publicly report greyhound injuries. However, a single county in Florida, Seminole, began tracking greyhound injuries in May 2017, recording 32 injuries involving broken bones, and two reported deaths. The industry, focused on its profits, gives little attention to the welfare of the dogs, and even tightly controls which adoption groups can help retired dogs, effectively holding them to a gag order so they cannot speak out regarding the condition of the dogs released to them.

As recent media coverage shows, the industry is also bedeviled by a serious drugging problem. Testing at Florida tracks over the past decade has resulted in 419 greyhound drug positive results, including 68 greyhound cocaine positives, and positive results for novocaine, lidocaine, industrial solvent DMSO, and the opiates oxycodone and oxymorphone. These drugs are used to mask injuries and pain as well as to artificially boost the animals’ performance.

Live greyhound racing is illegal in 40 states and it is a dying industry even in Florida where, since 1990, the money wagered on greyhound racing has declined by 74 percent and tax revenue from dog racing has dropped by 98 percent.

A majority of Floridians do not support the greyhound racing industry, and a recent survey commissioned by the GREY2K USA Education Fund and the Humane Society of the United States showed that of 1,000 likely general election voters in Florida, some 65 to 70 percent support an end to commercial greyhound racing in the state.

It is pretty clear that most Floridians, like most Americans, no longer see the entertainment value of greyhound racing. It simply goes against our societal values and the way we perceive dogs, as family members and companions. Greyhound racing needs to be sent into the history books, and thanks to the CRC vote, Florida residents will now have a chance to do exactly that.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Sally Palmer says:

    Thank you for reporting the good news, Kitty. I can imagine all the hard work that went into this, and I will pray that people get out and vote to end this terrible form of entertainment.

  2. Robert says:

    I think this is a bad idea.

    If Florida phases dog racing out in 3 years time, how many dogs will get put down January 1, 2021?

    If Florida shuts it down, it puts immense pressure on rescue organizations to rehome a massive influx all down the line. The top racers would move down the line, and the dogs at the end of the line track in Tijuana have no where to go.

    As someone who is currently sharing a piece of bacon with 2 greys that came from the end of the line track in TJ, and saw the sad result of the AZ shutdowns and the desperate situation it placed the local rescue organizations in… I would vote no.

    There needs to be a tiered shutdown organized WITH the industry to minimize the number of dogs put at risk. Just telling them to close with no plan in place is about the worst thing you could do for the dogs.

    • Diane Propeck says:

      So u think a dog in a barren cage that he or she cannot stand up in for 22 hours a day in a bleak warehouse with medical services sometimes withheld is living!?!?!?
      one dog dies every 3 days on the track…That is the cruelest sentence of they are doped with cocaine…vote yes and end this barbaric sport for good

      • Chris says:

        Instead of just ending the programe.make it like horse racing theirs no difference in that its a business to bring money into states
        Drug test dogs like with horses makr it harder for kennels to race thier dogs. Have groups male sure these dogs are giving proper teatment grey hounds are ment to run they love runnong thier born to run stopping races dosent solve the problems making it better does. keep them out of thier cages make the kennels betters fight for treatment greyhound racing have been going on for hundreds of years if you want to stop dog racing them you havr to stop horse racing help make it better

        • Sam says:

          Let’s be logical about this. No athlete on earth could win a race if cooped -up continuously with outside activity or exercise. These dog have crates large enough to stand-up in, turn around in and to stretch out. So I challenge HSUS to show pictures of greyhound crates.
          I have two adopted greys myself…they love to run.
          Closing down the tracks will create a crisis for the dos, dog owners, trainers and breeders.
          It requires special transport vehicles –with special A/C to move these dogs long distances. Who will pay for that?

      • Maria Prio says:

        Agree. Your facts are real facts.

      • ricky says:

        That’s not right. Hounds do not stay in their crates for 22 hours a day. They have turn outs, trial runs and play time. They are happy and love to run. I am not an advocate for the tracks, I am involved in a Rescue Group for Greyhounds, but I have done enough research that shows that a lot of what we hear is false.

        • Rebecca says:

          I agree with you. I have 3 beautiful greyhounds and have also done research and am part of a rescue organization. The dogs cannot make money if they are mistreated as badly as it is sometimes discussed. BUT I DO believe there should be a phase out period. How will we find homes for 10,000 plus greys all at one time ?

      • Cheryl says:

        Your information is not factual. We’ve had 3 Greys over the years and work closely with our local Greyhound Rescue in Western Michigan. All 3 of our Greys have been pampered athletes (2 females-1 male). I cannot speak about what happened more than 10 years ago, but this just isn’t factual from what I’ve experienced.

      • Angela Mosier says:

        Diane Propeck the Greyhounds are not caged up for 22 hours a day. Whoever told you that flat-out lied to you. And the crates that the Greyhounds are kept in are not small they have plenty of room to stand up turn around and even stretch out Racing a greyhound is not cruelty we don’t force them to do it it’s in their blood is what they’re raised to do and believe me they love it they absolutely love it. Think about this for a minute most people have house pets some stay inside some stay outside but are they ever exercised handled or given attention to on a day-to-day basis I don’t think so but the Greyhounds are and they stay in air-conditioned Kennels they get exercise love and attention. The people that are against greyhound racing are so misled I really wish they could get a chance to come into a kennel and actually see how happy and well-kept these dogs are before they cast their vote

        • Maria says:

          You just used them to race and once you are done with them you don’t care anymore . I have seen the cages . If you love them so much why used them for money and once they get old you get rid of them? I went to what I thought was a casino and i don’t know if I was supposed to be there for a reason. But what I saw brought Tears to mundo eyes . You could hear them crying. … I saw no owners…. dogs shouldn’t be on cages . How many grey hounds are found in a trash can because they are old ? You abuse them for your benefit. It’s disgusting . A nice place in hell its reserved for you. Don’t play the hero. They are better in a home with people that love them no matter how old they are. They can run 3 times a day with a person that loves them in the dog park or next to the bay. Not by being exploded in a cage for your benefit . PEOPLE VOTE YES this November TO MAKE DOG REACES illegal.

    • Sherry Reynolds says:

      I disagree, they will just go on abusing and killing these poor dogs. 3 years is plenty of time for the aspca and the Humane society to be ready to place these dogs. I just got my new pit from them that had been used as a bait dog! All scars, filed down teeth, which I had to have removed. She didn’t know what life was until she came to me. They are great at what they do.

      • ricky says:

        These dogs should only go to the groups that specialize in Greyhounds. They are like no other breed and people need to know that. Not everyone should adopt a Grey hound.

        • Rebecca says:

          That is ABSOLUTELY true. I do not think other dog lovers realize that. Greys are very different.

    • Rebecca Williams says:

      I agree, a plan has to be in place to home these dogs. There are not enough adopters and most adoption groups are made up of volunteers. We are talking about thousands of dogs. If it was easy to place these dogs in vetted homes, shelters wouldn’t be full of unwanted animals scheduled for execution.

      • Rebecca says:

        Very good point. I think everyone should do their homework and find out what is true and what is false. As a society, we all too quickly jump on the bandwagon of what is popular opinion without really knowing facts. This is a serious issue and should be treated respectfully. These magnificent creatures deserve our informed decisions.

    • Darlene says:

      Your ignorant if that’s how you think…sorry but having worked in the animal industry for almost 20 years has shown me that sometines some have to die to save many more.. and that’s what would happen..the ones that can not be placed will be humanely put to sleep and save THOUSANDS if not more over the years to come. Your thinking is not logical…unless u bet on them…

    • peggy says:

      You are absolutely correct. There is no provisions for the greyhounds. It would be a travesty to pass this law while there is nothing to help the greyhounds. There are many more greys on farms and breeding farms than the 8,000 at the tracks…what becomes of them??/ when other states closed down racing Florida had a place for them…where will they go now?/ foreign countries?? this is a very poorly constructed idea by people whose hearts are not committed to the greyhounds who will be affected.Please vote no and demand the politicians do a better job for the greyhounds…

      • Antoinette Lehmann says:

        Oh stop already. Do you think they won’t have a plan for all these Greyhounds if the owners allow agencies to help? The problem is, the owners won’t just place them, they will want to make money off of the dogs. That is why they end up in Mexico or somewhere else. Don’t blame the people that want dog racing to end on what happens to the dogs. If these kennel owners had policed themselves and reported the things they saw that were wrong maybe we would feel differently, but they didn’t and this is the end result.

    • Daniel Laemmerhirt says:

      Personally, I cannot fathom why they do not PERMANENTLY END dog racing by May 2018. The dogs have two options: 1) Stay in terrible kennels, suffer and die a horrific death while racing, or 2) Stay in terrible kennels and wait to be rescued. Why is this ungodly, inhuman “sport” being propped up at all??? I say all the creatures that do this and betray MILLIONS of years of canine-human trust deserve to be shot, not properly repayed for their abused dogs.

    • Kym says:

      I’m certainly against animal cruelty and my fur babies are my kids. I talk to the dang lizzards and squirrels. I just love animals-but-I have to say I have I have been to the track and I believe they love what they’re doing. It’s like Their actually excited. Like chasing a ball but the dang fake rabbit
      Their treatment is top notch
      They are in great shape. They eat really good at least they look happy and healthy.
      I’m not someone who bets on the dogs but come on leave them alone. They aren’t mistreated. Go look how happy they are chasing that dang rabbit around

      • Antoinette Lehmann says:

        The ones you see at the track are doing well racing. What you don’t see are the ones that don’t bring in the money. I personally have had two females that came from a breeding farm after they failed at the track. One had a spine injury from a spill while racing so she was used for breeding. When her condition kept getting worse they got rid of her. The other was so terrified of everything that for the two years we had her she would only leave the room where her crate was, to go outside. We would go in our dining room where she stayed to spend time with her. So don’t talk about how great they are treated. It took a year to get rid of the worms they came with and of course we had to treat our other dogs as well. I have never gotten a greyhound that didn’t have God awful teeth either. The truth is, racing advocates are very good at spreading their propaganda.

    • Jean Gillespie says:

      So very true!

  3. Dorothy says:

    It is time for horse racing, dog racing – any animal interaction that causes humans to bet should be disbanded. I hope the citizens of Florida will do just that. These animals have no life and they are literally thrown away when they aren’t needed by so called “humans”.

  4. Margaret says:

    Robert’s comment poses a serious dilemma. What do we do? What can be put in place so these dogs are not mass executed? I want to vote yes to end greyhound racing but what is the aftermath ? And how do we prevent it?

  5. Lori says:

    Please vote to stop the abuse

    • Theresa says:

      What is your definition of abuse. I am there every weekend and have yet to see any abuse. Dogs are crated in homes and do not get as much exercise as these dogs at the track. Kennels are clean and they receive plenty of affection from the trainers who love them. Everytime we go back with our dogs to volunteer they still recognize their trainers and smother them with kisses. They still want to run.

  6. Patricia Williams says:

    We need to make sure of the wording on the ballet,it can be confusing and or deceiving so we vote correctly.

  7. Sherry Reynolds says:

    The Humane Society is dear to my heart. I’ve always been a donor and got my animals there. I just adopted a poor very abused pit mix 3 months ago and with alot of love and care she is doing great! Her name is Honey and getting her to wag her tail and come out in the living room! She has made my heart full again, my cat’s too!

  8. Carol DiBenedetto says:

    It’s about time!! Great news!!

  9. Carol DiBenedetto says:

    It’s about time great news

  10. Patricia says:

    The animal rights groups pushing this issue say there are enough “rescue” groups to take all the greyhounds; if that’s a fact, then why are dogs presently in high kill shelters and county shelters with a 3-5 day deadline on their life?

  11. Max says:

    We have 2 greys that we consider our kids; they are a special breed. We love ’em. If they vote to end the racing, fantastic……however , anything worse than mistreating such a gentle, loving animal, would be to end it’s life. Surely, the Florida congressmen involved in this action can do it in such a way as to make certain that the adoption groups can keep up. Maybe close a track or two at a time, and monitor the waiting list of available dogs. We sure don’t want any dogs sent to China, where I’ve heard they are eaten.

  12. Deedee Dillingham says:

    VOTE YES. It is the 21st century. Save the greyhounds from this cruel industry. They can race around our yards or at the dog park…on their OWN TIME.

    Please, HSUS, let folks here know what steps will be taken to save as many dogs as possible. The dogs don’t need any “no” votes.

  13. Ronald DePari says:

    I can’t believe you think that these amazing athletes are treated badly,all this negative exposure is ridiculous. These greyhounds are treated excellent,they love to run and even if their in crates most of the day they go out four times a day,they are with their friends and if you ever had a greyhound they love to lay down and sleep, they are fed better than most people and above all they love to run,They are not abused. I understand sometimes during a race they might get hurt but everyone who plays sports risk that. Believe me these politicians who are trying to end this great sport are making a ton of money from Grey2K and everyone else that knows nothing about greyhound racing especially AG Bondi plus thousands of jobs are at stake Thank You

  14. Ronald DePari says:

    These amazing athletes are NOT abused,they love to run and they are not abused.They are fed better than most people,they are in crates,but with all their friends,they are turned out Four times a day and if you know anything about greyhounds they love to cuddle and sleep but most of all they love to run. Beside that people like AG Bondi,who doesn’t know anything about these great dogs are reaping in the benefits from Grey2K and others. They have been running greyhounds since the Egyptian times plus people love going to the races,also just think how many people will be out of a job when they know nothing else but working with these awesome dogs

  15. Paula says:

    Like Robert and Margaret, I am concerned about the timing. There absolutely must be a solid plan in place so thousands of dogs are given safe and happy homes for the rest of their lives. How incredibly horrifying it would be to learn that the “leftover” dogs were either euthanized or sent overseas to end up on someone’s dinner plate.

    What about stricter regulations over the industry until the 2020 deadline? What about the new dogs that will be brought in or bred to be raced? What about staggering the closing of these tracks?

    Being a Florida resident, I am thrilled that the racetracks will ultimately be closed, but I am concerned how this will all unfold. At this moment, I don’t know how I will vote.

  16. Kym says:

    I’m sorry anyone that knows me knows I love all creatures and abuse is evil.
    I would not vote to close down their love for running. These dogs have a better life than a lot of middle class humans.
    They are in top shape
    Fed better than most middle class people.
    I’m not a betting woman but I have been to the track many times with friends. These dogs are breed to run. They seem very happy chasing that fake rabbit. Go see for yourself before they have no home.
    When your old and can’t work. Trust me your job will trade you in for a younger model. So they find loving homes for them when their done.
    Let them chase that dang rabbit and have fun.
    Best health care best food best care. Really people

  17. Tim p. says:

    I have talked to owners at Wheeling Downs in West Virginia. They also told me that a mistreated dog will not win The anti racing people should target the owners that do not take good care of their dogs.All of the owners that I talked to showed me their dogs and they looked well fed and taken care of. I wonder why the congressman has been silent about banning horse racing? I would be interested in seeing who and or which groups are donating to his campaign.

  18. Felix says:

    This is an unneccesary law–the very definition of political overreach.
    If you don’t like dog racing–don’t go.
    If this law passes, to teach a lesson they’ll never forget, something unneccessary needs to happen to the people behind it. Then, perhaps they’ll learn to mind their own business and stop messing with freedom.

  19. sharon brenes says:

    where can I vote? I’m in Miami, fl

  20. Sally Elms says:

    I believe any sport that calls for betting on an animal to win is not a good thing! Yes, greyhounds love to run and are bred for that express purpose…however it’s a well known fact that criminal activities go along with most gambling/betting “sports.” Dog racing isn’t exempt from that…and while I certainly agree that there needs to be a plan in place for the greyhounds who survive the racing life, I also know that certain practices can easily be hidden from public and/or private participants. So, I hope and pray that the vote to bring greyhound racing to a close is YES!

  21. Robert Foti says:

    The liberals are ruining our country as is. Don’t ban dog racing!!!

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