Jockey charged after shock device spotted in promotional photo

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Jockey Roman Eric Chapa faces a felony charge of unlawful influence on racing after a device he was holding in his hand during a race was spotted in a promotional photo

A CNN report on the incident contains some troubling details. This isn’t a first offense for this guy.

Chapa was fined and suspended in 1994 for using a nail as a spur. In 2002, he spent 10 days in jail on animal-cruelty charges unrelated to horse racing. And in 2012 he was caught hitting his horse in the face during a race, leading to another fine.

And yet, he’s in trouble again in 2015. Obviously, the desire to win races is stronger than the weak punishment he has received to date.

The industry, as usual for horse racing and greyhound racing, is defending itself by suggesting this is a rare thing. But what about the horses who are injured on a routine basis and what about the horses who are shipped off to slaughter once their racing days are over?

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The warped Twilight Zone that is greyhound racing

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The Pack News Wire has been buzzing of late with news concerning greyhound racing. Much of the focus has been on the free-fall in attendance at tracks across the country and legislative efforts to either decouple racing from the casinos or end subsidies.

But some of the news goes into the strange mentality of those who either support racing or can’t see that trimming around the edges of the issue won’t help the dogs.

In Iowa, the Iowa Greyhound Association and the Iowa West Racing Association are reportedly requesting millions from a supplemental fund.

I wonder if the racing dogs will receive any aid from this fund. The deaths and injuries continue, with the only real relief coming in the form of a ban on greyhound racing.

In Idaho, a challenge is underway concerning the Post Falls Police Department’s investigation into what are known as instant racing machines. So there’s seems to be a controversy about gaming machines while not enough is being done to investigate the needs of the dogs in live racing.

It just defies logic.

And finally, we have the racing defenders who are battling against efforts to end dog racing at casinos, because it could lead to more gambling. Yes – that’s right. Dog racing supporters seem to be against other forms of gambling.

I guess cards, dice, machines and sports betting is really, really bad. But the dog racing folks feel like exploiting animals is the most righteous form of gambling. That’s warped on a grand scale.

In the article linked above, Jack Corey of the Florida Greyhound Association is quoted as saying, “Their ultimate goal is to do away with live greyhound racing and become mini casinos.”

Over the last few years, I’ve read similar statements, suggesting somehow that casinos with racing are fine. But take away the dogs and gambling is somehow tainted to a greater degree.

Again, this argument just defies reason. I’m not a gambler. I don’t bet on games or even lotteries. So while I’m not a supporter of casinos at all, I’d much rather have people betting on pro sports or tables or machines.

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Study: Greyhound racing is a huge loser – in multiple ways

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West Virginia has become a recent focal point of the crumbling, losing, misguided greyhound racing industry.

On Monday, the Charleston Daily Mail ran an article that refers to a new report as “breathtaking,” concerning the monetary drain the dog-racing industry has on the state. As the state’s taxpayers are contributing more to keep the tracks afloat, more dogs are being injured and killed.

And while those two troubling trends are rising, the revenue and attendance from the races are falling. There’s a lot wrong with this picture. I can’t think of any other case where the taxpayers are asked to support an industry where the above factors exist.

The taxpayers are being forced to support a needless operation where animals are killed and injured – and killed and injured at an alarming pace.

The evidence is abundantly clear. On both economic and compassionate levels, we need to see and immediate ban on greyhound racing – nationwide.

The aforementioned report shows wagering at racetracks in West Virginia declined 55 percent between 2004 and 2013. From 2009 to 2013, 162 greyhounds were killed at West Virginia tracks and 3,331 injuries were reported.

All of that carnage took place at two dog tracks.
And the report rightfully noted that many of the people who work at the track sections of the casinos can be transferred to other areas of the casinos and keep their jobs. So another argument out of the pro-racing side is shot down.
The Charleston Gazette also, of course picked up on the story. The article quotes the Spectrum Gaming Group report as concluding:
“Even if the return were close to neutral, we suggest that it does not make sense to spend more than $29 million a year to make a little over $30 million a year, with so much of that money going to residents who live in other states.”
Florida, West Virginia and the few other states that still allowing dog racing, should act immediately. For every day that passes, more dogs are suffering.
PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Misguided Question of the Day (Topic – Greyhound Racing)

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I am sometimes just stunned by articles written on greyhound racing (although by now I should not be stunned).

This time, it’s an article posted today on the Australian Racing Greyhound site. The question: “Can there be too much racing?” The writer’s conclusion seems to be that with more races, it means “slower and weaker” dogs are racing.

The reality for the dogs is – one race is too many. With the constant threat of severe injury and death – one race is too many. With some dogs never making it out alive because they are deemed to be “slower and weaker” – any more races at all are too many.

To ask if there are too many races because the field is too weak is misguided at best.

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More dogs than fans at greyhound races as industry continues big losses

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More bad news is circulating through the media concerning greyhound racing. The train of bad news hit the Al Jazeera America website earlier today.

In the video posted on the site, the stands were bare, save a very few individuals, for a recent race in Bonita Springs, Fla. While very few people even care to watch, we are reminded that a racing greyhound dies every three days in Florida.

Florida state Senator Maria Sachs, who gets a Pack Mentality Compassion Award today, is quoted as calling greyhound racing an “inhumane way of gambling.”

And then Izzy Havenick, who owns the Naples–Fort Myers Greyhound Track and Poker Room is quoted as saying, “We’re legally obliged to keep a business operating that loses $2.5 million a year.”

Sachs wants to see dog racing come to an end and supports legislation that would remove the dog-racing mandate and allow the casinos to close down the tracks if they choose to do so.

If only enough of her fellow legislators will agree with her, we could soon see an end to this inhumane industry.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

The bad news keeps rolling out for greyhound racing

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In Florida, supporters and insiders from the greyhound racing industry want to continue to force the state to prop up it up with influxes of money and in maintaining the state requirement that forces casinos to hold dog races.

I can’t think of any industry that enjoys protection from a state to this degree. And when we add in the fact that very few people are even attending these horrible races, we have to really wonder how anyone can justify these protections on any level.

With all of the terrible news we’ve seen on this topic over many years, the evidence for a full ban on the greyhound racing industry continues to pile up. This week, it’s a report from of WPTV out of West Palm Beach, Fla.

First up, Florida Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs) was quoted in the article as saying:

“No one is coming to watch the dogs run, I’ve been there I’ve seen it.”

Moskowitz has been told it is taking an average of eight months to bring cruelty cases out of greyhound tracks to completion. Half of the 16 current cruelty cases are more than a year old.

One proposal that has been debated for at least a couple of years now is to decouple greyhound racing from the state mandate, meaning no longer force the casinos to hold dog races. This would be solid step in the right direction. But the best, most humane option would be to ban dog racing everywhere – immediately.

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Horse racing industry turning to gimmicks to save itself

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As is the case for the ever-eroding greyhound racing industry, horse racing is trying to save itself with gimmicks. Both industries are turning to reruns – yes, reruns – for people to bet on.

As a stand-alone effort, It is better to show reruns, as opposed to putting the animals at risk on live races. But anything that happens to prolong the suffering of the current horses and greyhounds is inhumane.

The Spokesman-Review ran a story about rerun horse betting and the opposition being put up by Native-American tribes in Idaho.

But here’s the kicker from the Spokesman-Review article:

They were approved by state lawmakers in 2013 at the urging of Idaho’s horse racing industry, which said allowing betting on past, or “historical” horse races, would help cash-strapped racetracks continue to be able to offer live racing.

“Cash-strapped” in this case can be translated to – “Too few people are betting on live races because more people are learning what happens to the horses and greyhounds that don’t win and more people are reading the news accounts about the drugs being given to horses and dogs.

There’s a real battle going on between those using the rerun machines and the Native-American tribes that operate other casinos.

I have a way to settle this whole thing. Just ban the live horse racing and greyhound racing and let customers at all of the casinos just bet on the reruns.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Greyhound racing’s dark side is further exposed

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Another story involving minimal oversight in greyhound racing and lax regulations and illegal drugs is exposing more about the industry.

This time, WPTV out of West Palm Beach in Florida has the story of a greyhound trainer whose dogs tested positive for cocaine.

An investigation by the news outlet finds Florida’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering had failed to act resolved about 400 complaints against individuals who work at the state’s tracks.

So it’s bad enough the state agency that is supposed to oversee the greyhound racing industry is dragging its feet. But it is troubling in and of itself to hear that 400 complaints have been filed in one state.

When will the legislature in Florida and in the handful of other racing states finally see the light and ban greyhound racing immediately?

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Two more protective curtains could be pulled off greyhound racing

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Two pieces of potential good news, in relation to greyhound racing, have been highlighted by the media this month.

In Florida, one of the dark corners the greyhound racing industry has always been able to hide in was not having to report injuries. This week, the Miami Herald reports State Senate President Andy Gardiner will push forward on a bill that would require the state’s track report injuries.

SB 2 was filed Tuesday by Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood). If track veterinarians fail to report injuries, they would be fined. I hope the fines will be substantial, to make circumventing the fines through the backdoor a tougher thing to do.

The Herald reminds us that a new law from 2013 required the tracks to report deaths. In only the first nine months of that year, 74 greyhounds died. The piece rightfully puts the numbers in context – one death every three days. That’s horrible.

The industry always tries to muddy the water by comparing deaths with the number of race starts in any given time period. That propaganda will no longer fly. Anyone with an ounce of compassion in their heart understands that a greyhound dying every three days – or 74 dying over only nine months – is a tragedy.

But what we all really want to see in Florida is at least a decoupling bill to pass into law, which would end the state mandate that casinos hold a set number of races. Even better still would be a complete ban on dog racing.

The news might be even better in West Virginia, where the state could drop subsidies for greyhound racing. Get this: the Charleston Daily Mail reports the state government will hand over $80 million this budget year to the thoroughbred and greyhound racing industries.

And there’s a swirling around for a decoupling bill there as well.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Horrible Headlines of the Month: Greyhound Racing and Horse Racing

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It is commonplace to see really clueless headlines over really clueless articles, especially where greyhound racing and horse racing and other animal industries are concerned.

I’ve gone back over some recent alerts that have popped up on the Pack News Wire.

Welcome to the brave new world of greyhound racing at Towcester” – by Northampton Chronicle & Echo.

This one is about a new greyhound racing stadium in the UK. So while the news out of this industry is extremely troubling for the welfare of the dogs, here we have a brand new facility where uninformed people go to gamble on a blood sport.

Can Texas horse racing be a winner again?” – by Star-Telegram.

To answer their question – No, not for the horses who will die, some after being shipped off to be slaughtered.

The article quotes the president of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association as saying, “Texas horse racing right now is in trouble.”

That’s actually really good news for horses.

Christmas Comes Early For Kel and Keybow” – Australian Racing

It’s an article concerning the performance of a dog in a recent race. Kel refers to the dog’s “owner.”

Unfortunately, the blessings of Christmas can only come to Keybow if he is rescued from greyhound racing.

AND we have another article (if you can call it that) out of Australia where a National Greyhound Welfare Strategy is being developed by the greyhound racing industry.

I’m not trusting the dog racing industry to be the one to develop welfare standards.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic