Greyhound racing is first and foremost a business, and trainers
and track owners place financial gain over the welfare of animals.
Florida is home to more tracks (thirteen) than anywhere else in
greyhounds do not run profitably, due to injury or age, they are
of little use to the racing industry. Thousands of greyhounds
are killed each year in the United States. The "fortunate"
ones are killed humanely. It is common for losing dogs to be shot,
abandoned, or even sold for medical experimentation.
ensure a constant supply of new racers, more than 25,000 dogs
are bred each year in the United States. Some unwanted greyhounds
are rescued by adoption organizations, but there are simply not
enough homes for them all. At least 5,000 former racing greyhounds
are killed each year.
for winning dogs, the realities of kennel life are shameful. Racing
greyhounds spend most of their lives— 18 to 20 hours a day—
confined in cramped crates with little human contact.
Neglect & Abuse
The abuse and neglect of racing greyhounds is common at kennels
and tracks in Florida. There have been numerous media reports
of dogs subjected to cruel treatment, suffering injuries while
racing, and of ex-racing dogs being abandoned. Below are a few
incidents that were reported by the media in recent years:
– January 13, 2011: Two well-known trainers (Richard and Casey Alves) at the Daytona Beach Kennel Club had their licenses suspended after greyhounds under their care tested positive for cocaine (the drug is believed to enhance performance).
– October 29, 2010: Investigators with the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering discovered more than 30 dead dogs inside a kennel at the Ebro Greyhound Park (located north of Panama City). An additional five dogs were found alive, but barely. Several of the dead dogs, and three of the surviving dogs, had duct tape wrapped around their necks. Trainer Ronald J. Williams was arrested and charged with 37 counts of felony animal cruelty. Two days later, the decomposing bodies of at least eight more greyhounds were discovered near Mr. Williams home.
– August 14, 2010: A greyhound fell in the 1st turn and suffered fatal injuries during a race at the Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club.
– March 20, 2010: Four greyhounds fell and broke a leg during races at the Sarasota Kennel Club; three of the dogs were immediately euthanized. The track reported that 14 greyhounds had been euthanized after accidents at the track during the previous 19 weeks of racing.
– January 2010: Two greyhounds randomly selected for testing before races at the Orange Park Kennel Club in Jacksonville tested positive for cocaine.
– August 2009: 22 greyhounds belonging to a kennel at the Pensacola Greyhound Track were so severely neglected that they had to be euthanized.
– August 2009: A greyhound trainer was fined $1,000 and suspended for 10 days after one of his dogs tested positive for cocaine. The dog raced at the Palm Beach Kennel Club and at Ebro Greyhound Park, among others.
– November 19, 2008: A greyhound tumbled during a race at the Palm Beach Kennel Club and fractured both rear legs. Because of the severity of the injuries, the dog was euthanized.
– November 17, 2008: A greyhound was killed at the Sanford Orlando Kennel Club after falling onto the electric rail that operates the mechanical lure (video).
2008: The track veterinarian at Mardi Gras Racetrack (Hallandale
Beach) told New Times that he deals with about one serious
injury per week; most are broken bones.
August 2007: Three dead greyhounds were discovered at the Daytona
Beach Kennel Club. The dogs were believed to have died of heat
exhaustion. The dog's trainer had his license suspended after
three other dogs under his care tested positive for traces of
August 19, 2006: An evening race at the Mardi Gras Racetrack (formerly
Hollywood Greyhound Track) went horribly wrong. Although dogs
routinely suffer injuries during races, this accident was caught
Click on this link to view the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcQnR99jZDI
In the video, dog number 5 falls during the first turn. The race
continues and as the dogs make their final turn, you can hear
the announcer yelling, "Get the 5!" Dog number 5 recovered
from the earlier fall, but began running the wrong way. The dog
may have been hit by the mechanical lure. The dog suffered a fractured
left shoulder and a lacerated artery, and was euthanized on site.
February 2006: Two employees of a racing kennel near the Daytona
Beach Kennel Club were arrested and charged with cruelty to animals
for failing to provide veterinary treatment to dogs seriously
injured in a fight. The animals were left alone to suffer without
medical attention for 24 hours (one of the dogs died two days
after the incident).
November 2003: Two greyhounds were seriously injured during races
at the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track on the same day. According
to eyewitnesses, neither dog received immediate care because no
veterinarian was on duty.
July 2003: A 3-year-old greyhound named "Leta's Princess"
was euthanized on the track at the Palm Beach Kennel Club after
colliding with the motorized lure that greyhounds chase around
May 2002: The remains of an estimated 3,000 greyhounds were discovered
on the Alabama property of a former track security guard who told
authorities he had been killing unwanted greyhounds with a .22-caliber
rifle for decades. Most of the dogs were from the Pensacola Greyhound
track, but others were from racetracks elsewhere in Florida.
long as Florida greyhound tracks abuse and exploit greyhounds,
ARFF activists will stand up and be a voice for these gentle dogs.
Avoid greyhound tracks. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers
about the tragedy of greyhound racing and urge them not to attend
or bet on dog races.
Unlike most other states with dog tracks, Florida does not require
tracks to report when an animal is injured or dies. Contact your
state senator and state representative and demand that dog (and
horse) tracks in Florida be required to report racing-related
injuries and deaths.
Consider adopting a needy greyhound. Click
here for a list of adoption groups.