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Greyhound industry responds to dog death record, blames track owners

The Florida Greyhound Association and its affiliate, the National Greyhound Association, are defending the treatment of the racing dogs in response to an article in the Sunday Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times that reported that 74 dogs have died on race track property since the state started keeping records in May. 

For the first time in the 80 years dogs have been raced for profit in Florida, the state began requiring that track operators notify the state within 18 hours of a greyhound’s death at a track or racing kennel in Florida. The law was approved by lawmakers in 2010 only after some track owners had concluded that they wanted to reduce the amount of racing because it was no longer profitable. The rule didn’t take effect until May 31.

Jack Cory, lobbyist for the Florida Greyhound Association, acknowledged in a press release that there have been racing-related deaths but blamed track owners for the track conditions as the cause.

Cory also sent an email to greyhound breeders that called the Herald/Times report "hysterical" and noted that since the article appeared "Tracks have been inundated by TV Cameras."

"1 early death of a Greyhound is to many, BUT unfortunately accidents and illness happen with death resulting everywhere in Day Care Centers,'' Cory wrote. "Nursing Homes, Hospitals even at DCF where 432 Children died from Abuse and Neglect in 2012. I am not comparing a Greyhound to a Child but accidents and illness do happen with death resulting! They are unfortunate and many could be stopped with our 3 point safety plan!"

Below is the text of the press release issued today:

The Facts about the recent Florida Greyhound Reporting Issue 2/2014


*        The Division of Parimutuel Wagering (PMW) does NOT have a Report!
Instead they have 212 pages of emails and faxes, many of them confusing.

*        Not one case was opened for animal abuse or neglect. Not one!

*        The Florida Greyhound Association and the National Greyhound Association have a zero tolerance  for any animal abuse and neglect.

*        There were over 8,000 racing Greyhounds in Florida during 2013 unfortunately 70 of them died,  but that was less than 1%.


This is very sad but should not be exploited by out of state radical "Animal Rights" groups, for political or fund raising purposes,  that condoned the killing of 250,000 Shelter Pets in Florida last year.

*        Over 50% of most Shelter Pets are killed in Florida each year
That is over 250,000! The ASPCA gives support to those high kill Shelters!

*        Over 90% of all Racing Greyhounds in Florida are adopted or returned to the farm to live out their lives.

That is the standard used by the No Kill Movement !

*        If Live Greyhound Racing were reduced or eliminated these 8,000 beautiful Greyhounds and thousands of Florida jobs would be put at risk.

After analyzing the 212 pages of the PMW documents obtained through a Public Records request we have found that of the 70 Greyhounds that died in Florida in 2013:

*        Over 50 % died because of the Track Related circumstances and Track Managements Failures!
37 Greyhounds died because of Track Related circumstances and the Track Management's failure to maintain their Compound properly

*        The Florida Greyhound Association has put forth a 3 point "Greyhound Safety Plan" that could have prevented many of these unfortunate deaths.

1.   Require all Tracks to  maintain proper Track surface.

2.   Require all Tracks to install lure safety device.

3.   Require all Tracks to insulate 240 volt bus bar.

*        33 Greyhounds  died in non-track related incidents and some from Natural Causes:
14 dogs died from natural causes or illness, including cardiac arrest, cancer, aneurysm, etc. 20% by Natural Causes 1 dog was involved in an accident.

18 greyhounds died from unknown causes, necropsy reports are still pending for some cases. Over 20% the State does not why they died.

*        NONE died from animal abuse or neglect! NONE!

The Florida Greyhound Association and the National Greyhound Association have a very strong safety and inspection program on the farms. We encourage the State Legislature to support the "Greyhound Safety Plan" NOW!

Comments

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Robert

As usual, the profiteers at Grey2k USA jump to gun to try and get some pity dollars donated to their sham "non-profit". They should be ashamed of themselves, but they are shameless.

Elaine

If 37 dogs died from a racing related injury, that equates to 0.46% death rate directly related to racing. That's a rate that animal shelters should strive to attain! Where's the outrage against them???

Catherine

Greyhound racing is safe! The sensationalized headlines from various news outlets this week have been misguided and inaccurate! The data which Grey2K compiled was incorrect, plus the slanted inference was that all of those deaths were related to racing, when in fact some of the greyhounds died of natural causes.

Greyhound kennel operators follow the rules that the State and Track officials require. The State of Florida DBPR Inspectors have full access to the kennels and can inspect the greyhounds daily. Racetrack personnel also inspect the kennels, to ensure that the husbandry of all greyhounds is in accordance with the State’s regulations. Greyhound owners and kennel owners are continually striving to provide safe environments for their racing greyhounds, with improvements in an ongoing basis.

There were approximately 10,000 greyhounds who raced in Florida during 2013. Racetrack safety is ~99.98%. Animals die due to congenital defects or accidents, and it is not something that can always be prevented, the same is true with greyhounds. We try to ensure the safety of our greyhounds, but if a greyhound passes away in its sleep, that is hardly the fault of greyhound racing. You cannot attribute the loss of a dog to an industry, based solely on the fact that there is an industry! If a pet dies in their sleep in someone’s home, do we vilify the owner? No we don’t, the most common response is a sympathy card.

The greyhound industry has worked successfully to increase greyhound adoptions annually, and based on current statistics from the American Greyhound Council (AGC), 92-93% of racing greyhounds are being adopted or returned home to their owners when they retire from racing. I have one of those retired greyhounds at home. Every year, the percentage of racing greyhounds being adopted has increased, and the industry is committed to increasing those numbers to higher rates! Meanwhile 250,000, shelter animals and pets were killed in Florida Last year! In Pinellas County during the May-Dec 2013 timeframe, over 5,500 animals were euthanized in Shelters.

Because of slanted reporting in the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, both in allegiance with Grey2K for the combined article, greyhound kennel operators are being paralleled Nazi’s, and the care of our greyhounds is being categorized similar to The Holocaust. The Holocaust!!! What rational person, and a Florida lawmaker at that, would even make such a disgusting comment. What an advertisement for political incorrectness for a FL lawmaker.

Keep in mind that when Grey2K were involved in Massachusetts, their “home State”, they walked away from the greyhounds and were not involved in the rehoming and adoption of any of those misplaced greyhounds, NONE! The adoption and rehoming of those greyhounds was left to the racing kennels and adoption groups ... the people that actually love and care for the dogs. If Grey2k has their way and ends greyhound racing in Florida, then thousands of greyhounds will need rehoming. Who will be there to help then? Grey2k? I sincerely doubt that. And I am sure none of us in the greyhound world would like the groups that Grey2k are affiliated with to be involved with our greyhounds, the likes of PeTA, since their kill-rates are over 80%. As a greyhound owner, I am proud of our 92-93% greyhound adoption rates, and as an animal lover I am disgusted with those large national animal groups who claim to “help” but take money in donations and then do nothing for the animals!

People need to educate themselves before they "believe" what is in the media!

Dianne

When Grey2K closed the tracks in Mass, it was the adoption groups who cleaned up the mess, not Grey2K. We paid for food while they were waiting to go to groups, the adoption groups picked them up and fostered them and found them homes. My group alone took 30 dogs from Raynham. Where was Grey2K then? Where will they be if Florida greyhounds help??? Think about what you are asking for, Grey2K!

Debbie Mosier

Florida has the most tracks of anywhere. Of course, there are going to be deaths only 1% is small and some of them died from illness not getting hurt at the track. I am in greyhound adoption and I see many, many injuries from just running around our backyard. A couple dogs have run into trees and died. Please look at the IGNORANT people who run puppy mills in Florida, I'm sure their conditions are terrible.

Matt

The thing that gets me is that other than adopting 1 hound, Grey2k really has NOTHING to do with Greyhounds. Nothing to do with adoption or anything, they are 100% in this fight for money and that's it.

Matt

All of my free time after my 40 hour work week goes to retired racing greyhounds. I have 4 at my house and do probably 40 plus hours a week of volunteer work which I love! These dogs that came to us are in good shape, happy and healthy. Its amazing when I can get in touch with a dog's trainer or owner cause they truly know the dogs and you can feel the love they share for them.

Amy

Greyhound racing is like any athletic sport. The athletes will get hurt. That does not mean that they are mistreated or unloved or even dumped in ocean. Grey2k would like for you to believe that they donate to adoption groups but do you know that not even 1% of their donations went to any adoption groups. They gave $500,000 to Knights of Columbus! How is that an adoption group? The leader of Grey2k has been caught in so many lies and most old stories. If a greyhound were dying one every 3 days in flordia they would all be shut down. The state would not allow them to race. My 2 retirees have had mor injuries since they have been in my backyard than from the racetrack. I urge you to your research outside of Grey2k go to a track or kennel visit see for yourself.

Mark

Will you please publish the name of of the Florida Lawmaker who compared this issue to a "silent Holocaust".

Lesley

I place over 150 greyhounds a year and own racers. This is a highly regulated industry that polices their own and has the dogs welfare in the forefront. Please do your own research and read abotu the lies and misleading that these anti racing lobbyist groups do. check out kennel facebook pages and see hwo the racing life of a greyhound really is on a daily basis. The injury rate is less than a half a percent, and the majority is made up of minor injuries. These radical rabid grop scream stop racing however they do NOTHING to protect the so called abused greyhound not one thing ....... dont drink the koolaid do your own research you may be surprised.

Shelley

I am the owner of a retired racing greyhound. He came to me in excellent condition, happy and you could tell he was loved on the track. Being Canadian, and having never witnessed Greyhound Racing, and having an inquiring mind ("prove it to me" kind of person) I decided to visit a track in Florida last September. The experience was one I'll never forget. The sheer joy experienced by the dogs as they raced was clear to me. The kennels I visited were clean, safe, the food they fed was excellent quality, all the dogs had shiny coats and happy faces. Not once did I see anything that made me concerned for their welfare. The trainers and helpers love these dogs. So before anyone jumps to conclusions....go, visit a track, experience what I did before you judge. Please, PLEASE continue greyhound racing, so we get to see these dogs do what they were born to, what they LOVE to do. And we as pet owners are the recipients of happy retired hounds.

Patti Kacer

I can only speak from an adopter's standpoint. One who has educated myself by going to a track kennel and farm. And yes, going to the track.

These dogs are taken care of, loved and NOT abused! They love to run. In fact you can feel their excitement when you stand at the rail. Bright eyed, tails wagging, rooing to get the race started.

How can anyone think that our adoptees are mistreated during their racing careers? They come into our homes as loving and caring animals.

Lynn Fisher

I am a 44 year old disabled woman living in Orlando. My doctor told me it was time to get a service dog. After some research, I chose a greyhound. I found an agency to train my Service Dog for me.... and since they selected him and started his training, I've learned alot about greyhounds, and where they are born, raised, finished, trained and raced. I've met alot of people in the industry... And this recent bunch of twisted up lies that has been thrown out by Grey2K and swallowed whole by the media (without further research and checks on the facts and the reliability of the source of the information) has made me very angry. For the record. My dog was never starved, mistreated, abused, neglected or murdered... (just in case that was not obvious to some of you). His litter contained 13 pups total... and they stayed with their mother for the first 3 months of their life... after that, they spent another 9 months together growing up together. How many of you can say your Dog was raised by it's mother and in a family group till 1 year old? Or was it ripped away from it's mother and siblings at 8 weeks of age?
My dog was then sent to finishing school, where it learned to socialize with people and be handled, learned a schedule, learned to walk on a leash, began a high protein diet of raw meat and vegtables and pasta/grain (Race dogs eat better than your dog, I don't care how much you pay for that kibble in a bag) and began an exercise program designed to teach him what he would need to know to run safely on a track.
Afterwards, he was sent to the track his owners felt would suit him best. There he was schooled for that track and ran "test" runs to see how he would do.
And then it happened. He failed. Not once, but six times... And do you know what happened? He was given a cuddle, a treat, and it was just another happy day for him. He was not beaten, starved or tortured... he was not put to sleep or maimed or turned out in the street. He was sent to be Rehomed, and in their minds find a couch. But he found more than that... because of the way he was raised, he will now have a job, as my Service dog. So -- no, i'm not part of the industry... but I most certainly am now, and forever will be RACING PROUD. I will fight for racing, not only in Florida but in the entier USA.

Sofiana alford

Im from Perth Western Australia .. I'm a foster mum and racing has brought me my hound Kelly .. People like to say .. Post .. Without any proof .. I have met trainers and been to their kennels got to say they are better taken care of then humans .. Fresh meat from butchers .. Vet care air con kennels .. Also have cool mist spray throughout the kennels .. Massive runs .. Weekly baths .. Kennel hands spending quality time with them like playing grooming .. Trainers were real interested in their retired life weather they have been adopted or just general well being .. I also run a greyhound playgroup where dogs and people can share their stories about their beloved greys .. I also keep in touch with the trainers and ask them about the dog that has come into foster care .. I have had 40 fosters in 2 yrs and also kid test and have to fill evaluation book for their forever family .. I LOVE TO WATCH THE RACES AS WELL .. They look so powerful .. I also encourage the adopters to go and see them race as well as they can see them really enjoy the chase .. And understand that greyhounds were bred for speed .. IM PRO RACING .. AND THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE ..

Susan Fischer

If you love a greyhound, please, please do some research about where he came from and how he became the wonderful dog he is. I once was anti-racing and thought I saved my hound from a horrible life. I was so WRONG!. Getting to know the breeders, the owners, the trainers, the handlers...they love these dogs and only want the best for them. My greyhound who never set foot on a race track looks like she was horribly abused with lots of scars. That is because accidents happen even in the best of homes. NGA greyhounds are the most protected breed of dogs on the planet. Even after adopted, they come with a built in safety net that they can be returned to the group or the owners who will find another home for them. Every dog was bred for a job...greyhounds were bred to chase and they are happiest when they are running after a lure or running for the couch.

Martha Bowman

I have 3 NGA greyhounds. All came to me happy, healthy, and well adjusted. How many people can say the same about their breed of dog. My greyhounds have gone back to the track for various reunions and I've seen the reaction they have to the dogs who are racing when the lure starts. They WANT to race they can't be MADE to run. I've tried to get my girl to play chase me in the yard and if she isn't in the mood she just looks at me like umm WHAT are you doing and just stands there. I know people who own current racers and they have been up to all hours so they could be there to watch their greyhound run. I've seen first hand how they love on the hound after they run and tell them they did good even if they came in last and then walk them back to cool them off and put them to bed. These dogs are treated as the well respected devoted and beloved athletes that they are both on the track and upon retirement. I've ALWAYS had dogs of various breeds and greyhounds are the first one I've seen which such a devoted following of owners who share their lives with these regal elegant love bugs. They are not treated as just a dog they are revered.

Donna

I have had greyhounds, done greyhound adoptions since 1991, have been to tracks, been locked up in the kennels at the track with a greyhound who wanted his belly rubbed while sprawled on my lap. He weighed 76 pounds, I weighed 170 pounds, and we both had room. I am allergic to flea bites; I got the flea bites at home..from my greyhound who was out chasing squirrels who carried fleas... I have taken a dog three hours after his last race, walked into the house, and had him head straight for the sofa..until his foster parents got there two hours later...after a two hour ride to our house. Biggest issue on the ride..he kept wanting to give hisses. His 'kennel name' was Lady Killer. My first grey was never on a track or even saw one; she injured herself in the puppy run when she was 6 months old. After everything healed and the vet was satisfied, the breeder gave her to me. Many years later, running like an idiot in the yard, she did one of her 'flip turns', came down wrong and broke her front leg. This time the leg wouldn't heal, and it had to be amputated; the vet figured osteo but it wasn't. Losing her front leg did slow her down from her crazy spins, but it didn't stop her hopping into snowdrifts! My others were retired racers and one I preadopted, watched him break his maidens, and wind up racing Grade A. He came home, and moved onto the couch. He 'went back to the farm' to rehab once as did Casey and both came back to race because they WANTED TO!!!!

Jesse

We have adopted 4 retired racing greyhounds and they all have been fantastic pets; happy, healthy and easy to fit into our family.
They raced at different kennels in different parts of the country. Even though they have very distinct personalities, the one trait they all share is a passion for running and chasing. They are happiest when they are chasing each other at a play group or chasing a lure at lure coursing practice.
Racing/chasing is in their blood - you can see it when you attend a race, watching the dogs run. You can also see it in your own dog when he is coursing or when she goes back to the track she raced at and she watches the races eagerly and intently. There is no question that they love what they're doing.
Are there injuries? Yes, and they are sometimes very serious, even fatal. As sad as any serious or fatal injury is, keep in mind that serious injuries/fatalities can happen with any breed of dog. Greyhound racing is incredibly safe. If the stats are correct, there were 37 dogs that died from a racing related injury. That works out to about a 0.46% death rate directly related to racing (less than 1/2 of 1%). Considering the number of starts in a year, that is an amazing safety record. People in greyhound racing work as hard as they can to ensure the safety of the dogs.

Gary

It sure is nice to see something good about Greyhounds these days

Kevin shine

I adopted my first greyhound Backwood Quigley nearly 2 yrs ago. I knew nothing about them or racing other than from 20 yrs ago when I took my kids to Derby Lane in winter break. I thought they were pets that people brought to race and have fun. Then I found out they lived in kennels so I thought I would "rescue" one. Little did I know. Since then I've done my research and learned they are loved and incredibly well looked after - athletes - they are too performing athletes. But loved and cared for and Never made to run. Anyone who has owned a grey knows "you can't make a greyhound do what a greyhound doesn't want to do". I've now visited several kennels, met several owners trainers handlers - worked briefly in a kennel as a volunteer. Got my florida State license and now own racing greyhounds. I'm also president of a big adoption and "rehoming" group and I have nothing but kind words to all I have met. There maybe and I'm sure there are some bad apples but fortunately I haven't met them. The article in the Herald and Times by Ms Klas is a sorry representation of the truth. And I suggest everyone who has an ounce of intelligence does their own research and learn the truth - not the lies.

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