Derby Lane and Orange Park – Florida’s top two death-trap tracks for greyhounds

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The pro-dog racing folks will try to compare the number of total races to the death toll at Florida’s Derby Lane and Orange Park, Kennel Club, in an effort to claim that the killings are minimal. For these people, 48 dogs dying in the final seven months of 201, at only two tracks,  is no big deal.

For these people, it’s just part of the costs of doing business, like the leftover bread a restaurant tosses out each night. If your average family was putting their pets at risk to this degree every day, law enforcement officials would rightfully investigate.

But the greyhound racing industry gets a free pass by a few remaining states like Florida, Iowa and West Virginia, for example. And it’s not merely looking the other way for these states. To date, the state legislatures are requiring the existence of this carnage.

Thankfully, a vast majority of states long ago banned greyhound racing. While my home state of North Carolina has some real faults, I’m really proud to say dog racing was banned here decades ago.

(I just wish we could make as much progress against puppy mills.)

But now, Florida tracks are at least required to report deaths and will hopefully soon be required to report injuries. It’s one of the worst nightmares for those who still support greyhound racing. The last thing they wanted to do was let the general public learn more about what is going on behind the curtains.

The industry is already reeling from the increased level of awareness within the general population. A vast majority of people don’t want to support industries such as this.

The Florida Times-Union attempted to interview two organizations concerning the latest kill numbers out of the two tracks, but no one would respond. I wonder why?

Carey Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA, was quoted in the article as noting the 12 dog tracks in Florida lose $40 million per year. So the state of Florida is propping up an industry that regularly kills dogs and drops tens of millions every year.

I’d like to ask any of the elected officials there who are blocking efforts to drop dog racing to justify why they support this industry. Of course, they can’t. There are no justifications for supporting a horrible industry such as this.

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Wacky Quote of the Day: Topic – Greyhound Racing

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I’ve got to run more of these, as I regularly read statements in news articles or in comment sections that defy all levels of reality.

The Kenosha News ran a guest editorial today that contained the following in one paragraph:

Greyhound racing has made great strides in the last few years, with attendance and overall handle up at many tracks and the sport just had its first national championship race since 1993. As an active member of United Greyhound Racing, I fully believe that the sport’s best days are ahead of us and would be happy to share our blueprint for future success to anyone interested.

The man wants to bring back greyhound racing (and add snowmobile racing) to the Dairyland facility in Wisconsin.

RealityVille: Dog racing is in free fall and the stands are all but empty for races. And I guess the writer is reading about the losses and about the states where huge subsidies are needed to keep the industry afloat.

“Great strides” isn’t such a great phrase to use for the dogs who are regularly dying or who are injured on tracks every day.

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Cartoon hits the right temperature on climate change and science

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In the January 31 edition of the newspaper comic strip, Non Sequitur, the dad is trying to explain a basic principle of climate change to one of his daughters.

When she screams that she doesn’t want to hear about the “science junk on a Saturday,” his response is – “How long is this anti-knowledge trend going to last?”

It struck me that this is exactly the phrase to use to frame this trend. The phrase “anti-science” is accurate, but “anti-knowledge” covers the movement in a much better way. We have some politicians and TV talking heads who are leading this effort.

The latest topic on the anti-knowledge table is vaccinations for kids. Vaccinations have been highly successful in wiping out or greatly reducing particular diseases over many decades.

It’s about your kids AND the children of other families in your community. The country was experiencing an alarming rate of diseases like measles before the vaccinations spread far and wide. Countless kids were saved from suffering and death.

Sure, caution should be used, as some kids might have allergies or other conditions that might prevent them receiving certain vaccines. But what a few talking heads are putting out in recent days isn’t helping at all and only serves to needlessly scare some moms and dads.

And of course, the climate-change debate has gone way off the tracks. Even some proponents of the science are letting the anti-knowledge side frame the debate by arguing endlessly about what the temperature was at any given point in time.

The debate should be more about topics like pollution and deforestation and what mankind is doing to the Earth’s oceans. These impacts affect the climate AND the overall health and welfare of humans and our fellow inhabitants of the Earth. These impacts are undeniable – completely undeniable.

Science and knowledge have led to and are leading to advancements for the human race. Without science and knowledge, diseases and unchecked pollution would have led to massive impacts on the planet, far beyond what we’re even facing now.

Without science and knowledge, there are no phones, Internet, transportation as we know it – including airplanes, farming, weather forecasting, TV, radio, heating and air systems for our homes, electricity, space exploration and much more.

So being anti-science and anti-knowledge only serves to limit advancement. We can’t be so selective when it comes to science and knowledge, especially when it’s just a matter of being inconvenient for the power and propaganda brokers.

And denying science and knowledge does a huge disservice to children and future generations.

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Even racing greyhound breeders are seeing the writing on the wall

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I was really surprised to read a comment this morning by West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association president Sam Burdette. He was quoted in a article concerning the mounting costs of keeping dog racing going, with subsidies, in West Virginia.

“It’s a situation where we’re saying it probably is time to stop racing, but we would like to be made whole for the money we have lost,” said Burdette in the WCHS story. And he said, “The perception, especially in the legislature is that it’s a dying industry and to most extent it is.”

There is a $74 million buyout plan on the table in the state, as compensation for eliminating the racing industry.

I have mixed feelings. Other businesses don’t receive public compensation when their businesses fail. In this case, dog racing is unpopular due to the treatment, injuries and deaths being reported over time. Very few people are now willing to support this kind of industry.

But if $74 million means we can see another state drop greyhound racing and this money comes from the gambling pot, I can get behind the plan. I would prefer an outright ban and the money goes to animal welfare and/or to people in need.

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Former NFL player charged with animal cruelty

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Multiple media outlets are reporting former Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Terrence Cody has been indicted for animal cruelty. The charges involve a dog and the abuse, neglect and illegal possession of an alligator.

Peter Schaffer, Cody’s agent, told Fox Sports, “If this affects at all my client’s ability to get a job, I’m going to do everything in my legal power to protect his rights.”

I get it, Schaffer is defending his client. But what about the welfare of the animals in this case? If he is found guilty and his employment options are limited, it’s no one’s fault but his.

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Super Bowl Sunday Commentary – The Anti-Puppy Mill Edition

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One of the grandaddy of all misinformation campaigns swirling through cyberspace is the attempt to deny there are any definitions to the phrase “puppy mill.” So it’s time to highlight this lie again, as it has reared its ugly head again of late.

The folks who propagate this extreme level of misinformation are doing so in an attempt to shut down any efforts to regulate breeding. Shutting down puppy mills means a loss of income for those with a stake in the industry – directly or indirectly.

Clearly, the states, cities or counties with breeding regulations have included provisions for minimum standards of care – such as housing, care and feeding, veterinary care and time for exercise. Often, the regulations are minimum at best.

The operations that fall under these minimum guidelines can be considered puppy mills or substandard operations. There’s nothing hard to understand about it. But those who support puppy mills are hoping some people will blindly believe the propaganda, without actually researching or engaging in a simple fact check.

And I’m seeing some wild, tangential misinformation being spread about recently. One recent comment under a website post claimed rescue groups are buying puppy-mill puppies and are the main reason why puppy mills exist.

This one gets five piles of feces on a scale of 1 to 5 feces piles. Rescue groups across the nation are taking in dogs who are rescued directly from puppy mills or were sold through a puppy mill and later ended up at shelters or being cared for by rescue groups.

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Yes – They are known as puppy mills and they must be shut down

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While the progress has been too slow in the push to shut down puppy mills across the nation, I am pleased with the level of reporting I’m seeing. The media is doing a relatively good job of headlining the issue.

And rightfully so, the stories include the phrase “puppy mill.” When we see where someone has claimed there are no definitions for the phrase, that’s a red flag showing that individual is trying to block protections for the dogs suffering in puppy mills.

I will keep saying it over and over again. Quality breeders already meet or exceed the guidelines in current or proposed breeding regulations all across the nation.

Of late, we’re seeing an increased focus in media and we can only hope it will lead to more action on the part of legislative bodies. In Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports legislation is making its way through the General Assembly.

The possible provisions include a ban on dog sales at flea markets and preventing stores from selling puppies shipped in from out-of-state puppy mills.

A push is underway in Kansas, to update the state’s Pet Animal Act, as a bill is under review in a House committee. Breeders and kennel operators are on an advisory board, but hopefully they will be working in the right direction.

There is a gas-chamber ban in the bill and a provision to make inspections of breeding operations a requirement. No shelter should use gas chambers and inspections are a vital tool for uncovering puppy mills and ensuring that other breeders are properly staying within the guidelines.

The WCF Courier reports some Iowa lawmakers are engaged in an effort to increase enforcement and inspections for large-scale breeding operations and to better-regulate these operations.

But there are red flags in this case. The article notes it is possible that current standards for cage sizes and flooring might be removed. And I’m not sure it means that purebred breeders will be receive special classification as “specialized breeders, in order to gain their support.”

These breeders would be required to supply annual veterinary records.

The AKC declined to be interviewed for the story and reportedly opposed a previous version of this current bill. The AKC typically opposes any new regulations on puppy mills.

The article reports the AKC argued “the legislation would unfairly restrict raising quality, healthy purebred dogs and would prohibit members from being involved in animal rescues.”

This argument flies in the face of reason. Ensuring the breeding dogs live in clean housing and receive proper food and water and care does nothing to negatively impact quality breeding operations.

We can’t let people get away with using completely illogical arguments that they just try to word as thoughtful – as lame as the statements are.

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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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GoDaddy paints itself as clueless with puppy commercial

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One would think GoDaddy might have learned from the Skechers ad some time back that featured greyhound racing. But in a stunningly clueless move, the web-hosting company previewed a Super Bowl ad that shows a dog being shipped off from a breeder, after the puppy was violently thrown from the open bed of a pickup truck and then went missing.

I refuse to post the ad here. But the ending shows the puppy running back to the business property before the breeder coldly shouts, “Ship ’em out,” as the van door closes.

The ad is warped on a number of levels. From the breeder riding dogs around in open trucks to being clueless to the dangers of purchasing puppies online to the callus way the breeder is depicted shipping away the puppy.

Thankfully, GoDaddy has pulled the ad. But why, in 2015 and certainly as a company that knows how the Internet and search engines work, would GoDaddy not know in advance what dump theme for an ad this was?

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic