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