Huge spike of late in greyhound racing news

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The Pack News Wire is off the charts for breaking news out greyhound racing – in the US and overseas.

Of course, in the United States we are getting legislative reports that bring hope that we might see at least the decoupling of dog racing from casinos. If casinos in states like Florida and West Virginia are allowed to drop dog races, we could see a substantial number of tracks shut down.

This would be great news for the dogs.

A WUSF article from Feb, 13 quoted David Bishop of the Florida Greyhound Association. He challenges the extremely troubling findings of the new report published by GREY2K USA and the ASPCA. He is wrong about the report, but I hope his prediction comes true very soon.

“Let’s make no mistake about it. If passed, it would end greyhound racing in the state of Florida.”

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs) of Florida is a proponent of decoupling and he was joined by Republican Representative Matt Gaetz at a news conference this week. Hopefully, they can introduce at minimum a decoupling bill right away. quoted Gaetz Thursday as saying, “I am convinced we will sometime soon see the end of greyhound racing, a barbaric practice that has no place in our society.”

Moskowitz was quoted in an article by the Florida Times-Union:

“This is about businesses being able to make a decision for themselves. Florida, for all the talk about free enterprise, for all the talk about liberty, for all the talk about not having government in the way of over-regulating, Florida actually mandates that a business runs its business like it’s 1997.”

And then there’s Jack Cory, who the Times-Union quoted as a lobbyist for greyhound breeders and dog trainers.

“It would be the end of greyhound racing and the beginning of the expansion of 13 casinos,”

I keep seeing this argument used by dog racing supporters. It amounts to one gambling operation slamming another for being a gambling operation. The quote can be translated to “If we no longer get to operate our gambling operations that kill and injure dogs, it will only lead to more gambling that doesn’t kill or injure dogs.

I don’t gamble at all and don’t even buy lottery tickets. But that’s another strong case for banning greyhound racing. Let people bet on cards dice or machines.

We continue to see more news about ending dog racing in West Virgina, where a new report shows what a loser the industry is on an economic level in the state, as it is in Florida.

The MetroNews ran a commentary Friday by Hoppy Kercheval, who quotes State Senate Finance Committee Chairman Mike Hall (R-Putnam) as saying, “Something is going to be done; it’s just a matter of time.”

In Australia, the news is nothing short of disgustingly cruel. The Sydney Morning Herald reports more than 20 greyhound owners and trainers have been suspended for using live animals as bait and lures for training.

After the raids on the sites, it is alleged that live rabbits, piglets, lambs and poultry were being used in the barbaric training. This industry has a long history of animal cruelty and in recent years, despite new reports such as this, the insiders want us to believe things have changed.

The Courier Mail out Australia reports Racing Queensland has created a task force to address the reports of live baiting and other acts of cruelty.

ABC Four Corners is set to broadcast a report this weekend titled – “Making A Killing.” The article suggests the piece will expose the “gruesome underbelly’’ of greyhound racing.

Here we are in 2015 and every time new reports of cruelty, drug use and cheating come out of dog racing, its defenders act as if it’s something new. And in this case, somehow they decide that it’s finally time for an investigation.

Another trainer in Australia is under investigation for allegedly shooting and killing two of his racing dogs.

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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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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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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.
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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.

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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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