Greyhound racing on its last lap: Alabama closes final track; Florida judge throws out challenge to landmark racing ban

By on May 1, 2020 with 15 Comments

Greyhound racing moved closer than ever to its certain demise in the United States this week, with two significant victories in Florida and Alabama.

On Monday, a U.S. District Court judge rejected a lawsuit by the greyhound industry that sought to overturn Amendment 13, the historic measure that ended greyhound racing in Florida, the biggest stronghold of this “sport” in the United States.

Chief Judge Mark Walker for the Northern District of Florida dismissed a claim from the industry that the law was unconstitutional because it deprives people in the greyhound racing industry of their livelihoods without due process.

Also this week, the last remaining track in Alabama with greyhound racing announced it will end such racing because of “embarrassingly low” earnings.

The HSUS, working with the Doris Day Animal League and other partners, shepherded Amendment 13 to the Florida ballot and to an overwhelming victory in November 2018. As a result of that law, greyhound racing is set to sunset in Florida in December 2020. But the recent lockdowns have already forced the early closure of a few tracks and many of the dogs, once forced to run at the risk of serious injury and even death, are now in loving foster and adoptive homes.

As of March 20th, 76% of the 570 dogs up for adoption at the Daytona Beach Track had already found new homes.

The cost of caring for these animal victims, who often suffer from severe orthopedic and other medical conditions as a result of their time on the tracks, is immense. Our Greyhound Protection Fund was set up to help greyhound rescue groups offset these rehabilitation costs.

Greyhound racing now survives solely on state subsidies in the three remaining states—West Virginia, Texas and Iowa—that still have operating tracks.

In Kansas, where no operating tracks remain, some outliers are attempting to revive greyhound racing and there’s now a bill in the statehouse that would do that. Lawmakers in the state should take heed of the fact that spectator interest in greyhound racing is at a historic low. Most Americans recognize now that this is an inherently cruel sport, and anyone who attempts to revive it would be placing a bet on a losing enterprise.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Pamela Kaczynski says:

    Florida better get with the program like other States. This wrong!! I love all animals and greyhounds have a terrible life being forced to race. I want to commend Alabama for shutting there racing down but it is all because they are not making money at it. so many people do not care about the animal if there is a buck to be made. Animals should not be in zoo’s unless it is a reputable one with plenty of acr’es for the animals and commpanionship. All racing of animals should be STOPPED including the Horse racing which is so awful.

    • Alysa Fleisher says:

      I believe you misread the article. Florida voted to shutdown greyhound racing and a judge just denied the industry a motion to try and revive racing.

  2. Colleen Anderson says:

    I’m so happy, that is why I can’t can’t comment!!!!!!

  3. Lucy Cannon says:

    We should never put dogs through the torture of being forced to race and then they are kept in cages and most of the time not cared for properly. Not a good life for a dog for our own selfish pleasure. Shame on people that think this is OK. You will have to answer to your maker one day for treating his creatures like this.

  4. Jeanette Beem says:

    I am ashamed that Iowa has opened this racing up again. what is wrong with Iowa? It is all.about money with no regard for the poor dogs.

  5. Troy P. says:

    This is awesome. I live in Alabama and am glad my state shut down this horrible form of cruelty. I think it would be a good idea to keep them in Alabama where they wouldn’t have to be transported that long, or maybe they could go to Florida, where greyhounds are becoming more popular since their tracks are shutting down. I give credit to the Birmingham Race Course for shutting down the ugly crap that goes down in greyhound racing by ending it altogether.

  6. venice Tucker says:

    I pray all dogs go free need shutdown no more dogs racing too much for them and hhorses racing too need shut down still pray

  7. Joann Fraser says:

    I have 3 rescue greyhounds who are the best pets on the planet. They are good with my two old former barn cats and great company for me. I just hope the breed doesn’t die when racing is stopped

  8. Diane says:

    Years ago I admit I use to go to greyhound racing once in a while in Massachusetts but one time I went to see them in the cages before a race
    I felt really bad they all looked sad and could hardly move in the cage.
    I never went again and when there were partitions to stop it up here
    I went around and got all the signature I could.
    We no longer have greyhound racing up here.
    I wish we could stop all abuses puppy mills etc.

  9. Roger Brenton says:


  10. Ingrid Heider says:

    I am beyond happy that dog races in Florida will end on December of this year! It’s about time that these animals stop suffering for sick people’s entertainment!

  11. Dr. Elizabeth Pepe says:

    I had always thought that greyhounds enjoyed racing because dogs liked to run. Then I found out that they were killed after not making enough money. Then I found out that they frequently were injured and forced to continue racing, or died of heart attacks, or dehydration and malnourishment. HOORAY for the closures. Guam has had its one track closed since at least 2014.

  12. Sandra Lujan says:

    Having volunteered in Greyhound Rescue, you never forget what you see. Hundreds of dogs killed and thrown in fields who weren’t fast enough. People should know the cruelty can be worse than they realize. They suffer alive kept in dark places caged always, and death isn’t always swift. Money is all that matters. Close all tracks and racing breeders!

  13. Lynn Smith says:

    We adopted a greyhound from the Birmingham Race Course in Alabama about 7 years ago. Slip just turned 12 years old. They make great pets. We never saw any medical problems or vet expense until last fall when he developed bone cancer which is an old age issue. It was a little costly to have have his hind leg amputated but that was our choice to keep him around. I wouldn’t let fear of vet bills weigh in the decision to adopt one or not. They may have had injuries (Slip had previously fractured a leg) but genetically they are a sturdy breed. They are sweet and gentle and a great addition to a family. Beautiful dogs!

  14. janenne elton says:

    Go for horse racing next. No young two or three year olds should be racing. Their bones are not strong enough for racing.
    That why they have so many
    broken bones in the race

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