Bill would permit trace cocaine amounts in racing dogs - Florida Politics

Bill would permit trace cocaine amounts in racing dogs

A draft of a bill is circulating in the Capitol that would, among other things, expressly legalize steroids and trace amounts of cocaine in racing greyhounds, critics say.

One lawmaker made aware of the language on Thursday jokingly asked if it was “written by The Onion.” But an industry representative said the legislation, backed by his organization, would cement protections for the animals. In Florida, live dog racing is still conducted at 12 tracks.

“Animal safety is and always has been our No. 1 issue,” said Jack Cory, spokesman and lobbyist for the Florida Greyhound Association, which represents breeders and owners. The proposed bill “moves that one step further.”

The industry is on the defensive, however, with a proposed state constitutional amendment in the works—backed by GOP state Sen. Tom Lee of Hillsborough County—that would ban greyhound racing in Florida, phasing it out over three years after passage.

The draft legislation, for example, would mandate a “safe track surface” and require insulation of any electrical wires with which dogs could potentially come into contact.

But it would also pre-empt local efforts to regulate dog racing and would allow dogs to have “environmental levels” of “prohibited substances” in their system.

Cory explained that state regulators already permit steroids, which trainers use as a form of birth control.

Furthermore, “you can get a nanogram of cocaine from touching a 20-dollar bill,” he said. “Having one nanogram in your system is not going to affect any dog or any person and that is what is we are trying to clarify.”

Earlier this year, regulators suspended a Florida racing-dog trainer’s license after 12 dogs in his care tested positive for cocaine, First Coast News has reported.

“Wow,” said state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat, when told of the language. “Only in Tallahassee would the industry solution to the epidemic of cocaine and steroid use in greyhounds be to legalize cocaine and steroid use in greyhounds.”

Smith was behind a recent bipartisan effort to ban the use of steroids on greyhound racing dogs. The legislation died during the 2017 Legislative Session.

“This proposal is going nowhere, but it’s also really disturbing,” Smith said. “And we are supposed to trust these people with greyhounds?”

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Coral Springs Democrat opposed to dog racing, asked in a text message, “Was this written by The Onion?” – referring to the news satire website – when asked to comment on the proposal.

“I can’t speak for Speaker (Richard) Corcoran, but I cannot imagine any situation where he would allow a bill to be heard that would effectively legalize cocaine in dogs,” Moskowitz said in a later phone interview.

“… This is not serious policy. This is satire,” he said. “(The industry) is recognizing that dog racing is coming to an end, and they are throwing every ridiculous idea to see what sticks.”

Kate MacFall, Florida state director of the Humane Society of the United States, said “common sense would tell you this is a really bad bill.”

Dog racing opponents “have really won the debate,” she added, calling the proposed legislation a “ludicrous” last-ditch attempt by a “dying industry.”

 

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

13 Comments

  1. ‘“Animal safety is and always has been our No. 1 issue,” said Jack Cory, spokesman and lobbyist for the Florida Greyhound Association, which represents breeders and owners. The proposed bill “moves that one step further.”’

    Really? So you want a law that allows them to be exposed to drugs that can have a deleterious effect on their health? I don’t think animal safety means what you think it means.

    Whether you believe greyhounds are being given drugs in some misguided attempt to enhance their performance, or you buy the industry line that it’s environmental exposure the problem resides with the humans who–supposedly–care for the dogs. Passing a law that allows dogs to be drugged is simply legalizing abuse.

    I am a Board member of GREY2K USA Worldwide, an organization that fights to save these marvelous creatures all over the globe. (you can learn more about us here: http://www.grey2kusa.org.) I have fostered and adopted rescued racing greyhounds since 1995. I cannot imagine abandoning any of them when they become injured, old or sick and yet this is routinely what happens to them at operating tracks and will continue to happen as long as racing is allowed to exist.
    Fred Barton
    Board Member
    GREY2K USA Worldwide

      1. I see. So you must know something that the American Greyhound Council’s handbook on the Care of the Racing & Retired Greyhound, the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Review Board and the The Association of Racing Commissioners International don’t know because they all say it can be harmful.

    1. And where has all the money G2k has scammed people for, to help retired greyhounds in the past where tracks have closed??? What about any donations to Greyhound adoption groups…could you please…make those public for your donors to see where those donations go???

      1. I understand that you need to change the subject because you really have no answer when confronted by the institutionalized cruelty that is greyhound racing, but you really should make some attempt to stay on topic. At least for a sentence or two.

  2. !!!!“Only in Tallahassee would the industry solution to the epidemic of cocaine and steroid use in greyhounds be to legalize cocaine and steroid use in greyhounds.”!!!!

    Florida is completely out of control when it comes to making laws. The law makers talk out of both sides of their faces. They make make laws and then forget what the purpose of the law is. The elected officials who are making these laws and half baked statements should be fired and removed from making any decisions regarding on what is going to be put into law.

  3. !!!!“Only in Tallahassee would the industry solution to the epidemic of cocaine and steroid use in greyhounds be to legalize cocaine and steroid use in greyhounds.”!!!!

    Florida is completely out of control when it comes to making laws. The law makers talk out of both sides of their faces. They make laws and then forget what the purpose of the law is. The elected officials who are making these laws and half baked statements should be fired and removed from making any decisions regarding on what is going to be put into law.

  4. !!!!“Only in Tallahassee would the industry solution to the epidemic of cocaine and steroid use in greyhounds be to legalize cocaine and steroid use in greyhounds.”!!!!

    Florida is completely out of control when it comes to making laws. The law makers talk out of both sides of their faces. They make laws and then forget what the purpose of the law is. The elected officials who are making these laws and half baked statements should be fired and removed from making any decisions regarding what is going to be put into law.

  5. When one looks at the bill and all of the “improvements” to the tracks it suggests, the bill, itself, become proof positive that those involved in the racing industry have NO concern for the welfare of the greyhounds, Those issues have been ever-present. Now, the dirty industry wants to legalize the use of cocaine.

    Sherry Mangold
    Board Member
    GREY2K USA-Worldwide

  6. “Furthermore, “you can get a nanogram of cocaine from touching a 20-dollar bill,” he said. “Having one nanogram in your system is not going to affect any dog or any person and that is what is we are trying to clarify.”

    Totally ridiculous statement! I have never know any dog that’s carried anything over a ten dollar bill.

  7. These people are absolutely insane. Environmental trace elements of cocaine. Are you kidding me. There should be absolutely NO DRUGS, PERIOD. Giving any leeway to trainers will be abused and it is the animal that suffers. Can’t believe any of this is even entertained in the racing industry. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU………… Disgusting !!!

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