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

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 WJHG.com 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.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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.
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Off Topic – Sorta – 100 Impressions

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A man named Brian Hull posted a YouTube video last week where he reeled off 100 impressions in less than four minutes.

It’s not really quite so far off topic, as many of the impressions are of animals – cartoon animals.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic