Saying that's Florida's delayed prosecution of greyhound abuse laws is unacceptable, three Florida lawmakers have ordered state regulators to provide them detailed answers to questions involving animal cruelty and abuse allegations.
In a letter to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Division of Parimutuel Wagering, state Reps. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, and John Wood, R-Winter Haven, cited an investigation by the Miami Herald and ordered the agency to respond to a lengthy list of questions. They gave the agency ten days to respond.
"As the Miami Herald reported this morning, regulatory agencies in other states are consistently resolving cases of greyhound neglect and cruelty in a matter of weeks, if not days,'' the lawmakers wrote to DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson and division director Leon Biegalski.
"By contrast, at least some cases of greyhound neglect and cruelty are not being fully addressed in our state for years. Due to these extensive delays, licensees are allowed to remain in the industry, and be responsible for a large number of dogs, for months or years after they are implicated in an apparent case of greyhound cruelty. This is simply unacceptable."
The Herald reported that in the last year, state regulators have granted 80 occupational licenses to owners and trainers who have been convicted of a host of felonies — from cocaine, heroin and amphetamine possession to assault and battery — and denied 115 requests from people with felony convictions.
Florida law bans anyone convicted of a felony from working in a card room or a casino but allows them to be licensed to race horses and dogs, as long as they receive a waiver.
In many other cases — in which state investigators found dogs exposed to cocaine, lacked vaccinations or showed signs of abuse — Florida regulators often took years to impose a penalty, records show. By contrast, regulators in other states, including Texas, Arizona and Arkansas, told the Herald/Times they typically close their cases within a month.
The letter, written by Moskowitz and signed by Gaetz and Wood, also indicated that, "based on your responses I may request a formal legislative hearing regarding this issue." Here's the letter: Download Moskowitz_Gaetz_Wood