Ruff and tumble: Battle of greyhound bills on in Senate – Florida Politics

Ruff and tumble: Battle of greyhound bills on in Senate

One Senate bill aims to ban giving any steroids to racing dogs. Another would allow steroids for canine birth control.

Now, the sponsor of the second bill is essentially trying to copy-paste his bill on the first.

Rader

On Tuesday afternoon, Delray Beach Democrat Kevin Rader filed an amendment on Tampa Republican Dana Young‘s steroid ban (SB 674).

Her bill, which has cleared one committee, is next on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

But the amendment is essentially Rader’s bill (SB 1774), which would allow dog trainers to give anabolic steroids to racing greyhounds. In Florida, live dog racing is still conducted at 12 tracks.

Rader could not be immediately reached for comment.

Young

“This amendment, being pushed by greyhound breeders, is absurd,” Young said in a text message. “It takes a bill that bans the use of steroids in greyhounds, and expressly authorizes it … There is nothing about this amendment that helps protect greyhounds.”

State regulations—but not state law—now allow use only of a “low-dose, non-performance enhancing” form of testosterone in greyhounds, and only as birth control, according to Florida Greyhound Association (FGA) lawyer-lobbyist Jeff Kottkamp.

The Rader measure also includes provisions from a draft bill circulated last year by the association, which represents breeders and owners. They include “maintaining a safe track surface” and “insulating all exposed electrical wires on the track.”

But Rader’s language also would pre-empt “regulation of the welfare of racing greyhounds to the state and supersedes any municipal or county ordinance on the subject.”

That would include a recent Seminole County ordinance. Among other things, that local law requires public reporting of greyhound injuries at Sanford Orlando Kennel Club, and puts the licensing and inspection of dogs and kennels under the county.

Carey Theil, executive director of greyhound racing opponents GREY2K USA Worldwide, said in a statement: “This amendment is a slap in the face to every volunteer who collected signatures for the Seminole County greyhound protection ordinance.

“It would cover up the greyhound injuries that are now being reported in Seminole County, pushing them back into the shadows,” he added.

Young has called steroid use in dogs “doping,” but FGA spokesman Jack Cory responds that drugs given to the dogs “are NOT performance enhancing steroids.”

He added: “This would meet the best practices as recommended by The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI),” the official rulemaking body for professional horse and greyhound racing in North America.

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.

14 Comments

  1. I’d like to say that I am in total support of SB 1774. This will require the racetracks to comply with the renovations and updated system to lessen the current injury rate of Florida racing greyhounds. I also support the use of low-doses of testesterone in female greyhounds, which is both Veterinarian prescribed and not performance enhancing. The elimination of the testosterone (again not performance enhancing) would be quite detrimental with there being both males and females in every kennel. Anyone who has ever seen the way a male dog reacts when a female comes in season knows how tough it is. Imagine that multiplied by 50 in every kennel. Not a good idea at all. Yes to SB 1774 and No to SB647

  2. As a minion of the racing industry, Senator Radar is simply practicing that time honored strategy of trying to muddy the waters, combined with perhaps a little poison pill. This has been the industry’s approach all along, one of delay, deflect and dissemble. I suppose when you run a business based on exploitation and cruelty and someone asks you why do we need a business based on exploitation and cruelty, trying to change the subject is about all you can do.

    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

  3. It is simple biology. The steroids are for reproductive health, not performance enhancing. These dogs are not Barry Bonds. Yes to SB 1774 and No to SB647. Dana Young is purposely lying in an effort to further his cause and the radicals at Grey2K. Look up their history, it is checkered.

    1. “The steroids are for reproductive health…”

      Nope. The steroids are for more efficient exploitation so the greyhounds can keep racing when they would otherwise be unable to.

          1. your so concerned about the animals welfare, read about it, are you really that stupid to ask that

  4. Grey2k says it is a slap to volunteers, but they are slapping the face of every track, Kennel owner, farm and Rescue Group, Grey2K does not speak the truth, as a Greyhound owner for the past 10 years I have had 4 greyhounds myself and adopted 14 others, all females with no problems from the birth control shots given while they race, I have seen hundreds pass thru the rescue group, Does Grey2k actually think these timid lovable animals would do their best if the are mistreated or abused, I have never seen an aggressive retired racer, they actually love the attention and make wonder pets, which wouldn’t be the case if they are abused at the kennels, they are treated better than most house pets or animals at the Humane Society which kills more animals than other organization, How many people have pets that kennel them while working several hours a day, or let them run loose to roam the streets, If Grey2k has their way the pet we know as a lovable gentle creature will no longer exist. Please research and actually visit a kennel before listening to the activists lies and fabricated stories, Yes to SB 1774 and No to SB647

    1. I’m glad that your hounds haven’t suffered any adverse reactions, but the Merck Veterinary Manuel and your own industry’s Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound cautions that may not always be the case. As for the rest, there’s an old saying in statistics: The plural of anecdote in not data. You have to look at the entire industry for data, not just the experiences of one person.

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