Greyhound owners sue over proposed dog racing ban - Florida Politics

Greyhound owners sue over proposed dog racing ban

Photo above: Greyhounds racing on the track in Bonita Springs. Credit: Van Abernathy.

As promised, the group that represents Florida’s greyhound owners and breeders is suing to keep a proposed constitutional amendment to rid the state of dog racing off the November ballot.

But a top greyhound racing opponent quickly called the suit “dead on arrival.”

The Florida Greyhound Association and its president, James Blanchard, filed suit Thursday in Leon County Circuit Civil court against the Department of State, which include the Division of Elections, and Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

Among other claims, the suit says the ballot title and summary “… fail to inform voters that its passage would essentially expand gambling by allowing pari-mutuel facilities in Florida to convert to mini-casinos.” 

The amendment, one of eight by the Constitution Revision Commission, would allow other gambling activities such as card games to continue at tracks after dog racing ends.

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The suit asks for a court order preventing the division “from placing Amendment No. 13 on the ballot for the November 2018 General Election.”

The group first raised the possibility of a legal challenge last month. In Florida, live dog racing is still conducted at 12 tracks.

In general, the complaint says the measure’s “ballot title and summary language are inaccurate, misleading, and fail to inform voters of the true effect of the proposed amendment.”

Amendment 13 “would not end dog racing,” according to the suit, but would rather only prohibit betting on dog races. “A voter might well be misled into approving Amendment 13 based on the belief that the effect of the amendment is to end all dog racing,” the complaint says.

The association also takes issue with the ballot summary’s saying the measure “phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020.”

First, the phrase ‘commercial dog racing’ is not defined, nor is the phrase contained anywhere in the text of the amendment,” the complaint says. 

“ ‘Commercial dog racing’ is far broader than the scope of the ballot title or the proposed amendment itself. This phrase is not only vague and ambiguous, but makes it impossible for voters to know exactly what they are voting on.”

And the proposal doesn’t make clear that it “does not prohibit persons in Florida from betting on dog races being conducted in other states.”

“Providing voters with false statements such as that the amendment ‘ENDS DOG RACING’ is the very essence of a misleading ballot summary,” the complaint says.

Kate MacFall, co-chair of the “Protect Dogs-Yes on 13 Campaign,” later Thursday called the suit “dead on arrival (and) a desperate attempt to prevent voters from having a voice on whether greyhound confinement and deaths should continue.”

MacFall, also the Florida State Director of The Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement the language doesn’t run afoul of a legal standard for removal of “clearly and conclusively defective.”

“Asking voters to approve a question entitled ‘Ends Greyhound Racing’ says what it does and does what it says,” MacFall said. “As the text reads, ‘The humane treatment of animals is a fundamental value of the people of Florida.’ If the members of the Florida Greyhound Association disagree with this premise, they are free to vote ‘no’ in November.”

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.

53 Comments

  1. Thanks to Mr. Rosica for bringing this story of how dog racing proponents really act, instead of addressing the cruelty and confinement that greyhounds have to endure, they chose to file lawsuits against the common-sense, humane legislation because the only way to protect greyhounds is to end the racing. Gamblers are literally betting on the greyhound lives, as a dog is dying every three days on a Florida track and the only way to protect dogs is to vote Yes on Amendment 13.

    1. there is NO cruelty and confinement, that is why the lawsuit, the amendment is based on lies, where is your common sense, greyhounds dont need protection, they are well cared for, vet checked weekly and loved lie a family member, do you actually think an abused animal would be such a great athlete. they are doing what they love and it is built into their DNA, If you thin a person would spend thousands of dollars on a dog only to abuse it you have NO common sense

      1. you are quife full of few things – yourselves, dog crap and total shit!

        Get a life A-hole

  2. Florida voters have no desire to continue the institutionalized animal abuse that is greyhound racing. We have come to our senses. Finally, as one of the last states to do so. The only supporters of this “activity” are those who directly profit. There is nothing whatsoever in Amendment 13 that is unclear or obfuscating…to the contrary, its very clarity is why Florida voters will vote YES. Our State’s economy should have nothing to do with making money on something that kills at the rate of a greyhound every 3 days. And that is documented and verifiable. Florida voters deserve the chance to say YES to Amendment 13.

    1. And Florida voters will find out about all the lies that you and you charlatans at Grey2k have been spreading for 18+ years. Funny that lying Kate McFall would be quoted, her of the organization whis president was charged with sexual harassment, conspiring to fix testimony and being charged under RICO, not to mention your lying leader who has never met a lie she didn’t like starting with the fake accident story. Not to mention tampering with a urine sample. To refresh your memory.

      -Grey2k was founded by Christine Dorchak – FACT
      -In 1992 she either purposely or accidentally was hit by a train in Boston FACT – from court docs
      -She subsequently tried to sue the MBTA(operator of the train) in 1994 and the jury found against her – FACT court docs
      -In sworn court testimony, she testifies that she has no memory of that day or the accident – FACT court docs
      -In 2001 She put out a video with graphic details of the accident, a promo piece if you will for Grey2k to get people to donate – FACT
      -If you Google Ms. Dorchaks name, you will find hundreds if interviews about the accident – FACT
      -If she testified UNDER OATH that she had no memory, where do the stories of the accident come from?
      -In court testimony there were no witness mentions, though she says a lady in a nearby building heard the crash and came to check on her, plus she stated she had no memory of that day. FACT
      -She claims there were two speeding trains, court docs show one train at 10-15 MPH and slowing down at the platform where she was hit. FACT from court docs

      -Her and her husband Carey Theil sent an email to their follower base in 2007 pointing once AGAIN to her made up accident story in the Christian Science Monitor, and at the end they write and I quote “Please read Christine’s story, and consider making a contribution to GREY2K USA’s continuing efforts to shut down dog tracks nationwide. Every dollar counts in our fight to end the cruelty of commercial dog racing, so please be as generous as you can. We can’t do it without you!”. Seems to me that LYING for donation money especially when those two basically live off of donations is FRAUD.

      NO ETHICS
      NO INTEGRITY
      NO CREDIBILITY

    2. Joyce, have you ever been to a greyhound kennel or track? By your statement about abuse and deaths is inaccurate. It is rare that a greyhound has to be put down due while racing. Cases af abuse are also rare, because everyone involved has a stake in the dogs. After they are done racing they are adopted, kept for breeding or kept as pets. Vote NO on 13, it was proposed with little due diligence by the commissioners.

    3. Why don’t you document it and verify it for us then, which you can’t do because you LIE

    4. Untrue, Joyce — I don’t directly or indirectly profit from it and support it, i.e. not banning it. There are many others who do not profit from it in any way and support it. Your statement is false, inaccurate, and not representative of all who support racing.

    5. Wrong again, go to The greyhound Chronicles on facebook and watch the videos for the TRUTH, he doesn’t profit from greyhound racing, are many more people too. Do some research, don’t just believe the lies that have been told for years for donations that less than 1% are spent on the dogs.

    6. anyone that follows Grey2K and repeats their lies is a fool, Grey2k was sued and lost millions for lying and deceitful practices, they admitted it, They went bankrupt and added USA to their name after reorganizing, think for yourself and check out the facts, not the alternative ones that groups like Grey2k spread

    7. “Racing kills a dog every 3 days?????” ……….NOT!!
      Racing Greyhounds receive regular veterinary examinations while they are at the track. The injury rate is less than 1%. All deaths are reported no matter what the cause or whether the dog is actively racing. The death figures include those due to uncurable illness, cancer, and genetic conditions. Euthanasia due to injury is extremely rare due to the love of the people who work with these dogs and high desirability of retired racers as pets.
      Opponents of racing, who have never set foot inside a track, kennel, or any other facility that handles Greyhounds are quick to quote these deliberately misleading “figures.” They conveniently neglect to compare the NGA death statistics with those of any comparable population of any other breed of pet or working dogs.
      NGA racing greyhounds are loved from farm to track to retirement. Their lives are happy and full of purpose. When they are done racing they are adopted. I have been to the track where our two retirees raced and seen how they are treated. The dogs are happy, healthy, confident, and treated with care and respect.
      13 has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare. Vote NO.

  3. Just another misguided effort on the part of the greyhound racing community to continue their exploitation of innocent greyhounds. There is a reason greyhound racing has been dying out across the country. Civilized society does not want to pay money to watch dogs run around a track at their peril. There’s no getting around the fact that a dog dies on a Florida track every 3 days on average. They crush their skulls, break their necks, their backs and their legs and sometimes even get electrocuted. This type of activity has no place in modern day society and Floridians deserve the opportunity to ban greyhound racing in their state which will ultimately lead to its demise across the country.

    1. Why don’t you take a look at some superfecta payoffs if it’s “dying”? The betting has simply moved online

    2. Get your facts straight and stop spreading Grey2k lies, you are misguided, this is not 1970, I would also like to add that the activists groups refuse to help adopt the greyhound safety act because it would hurt their donations, any group that photo shops pictures and uses pictures from other countries or from 20-30 years ago is a fraud and gullible people like yourself believe it, go to a kennel and visit one for the real facts

  4. Proposal doesnt end Greyhound racing, If they really cared why will betting on them in Florida still be allowed thru simulcasting them from other places, It is fraud and misleading the public, VOTE NO on 13 and all other Amendments, The CRC did a lousy job and this doesnt belong in the constitution

  5. The language in the amendment is clear, Florida voters. For too long, greyhounds in this state have been forced to live in cages and to risk injury or death every time they set foot on a track. In fact, a dog dies every three days on a Florida track, and countless more are injured, although a true number can’t be reached because those who race dogs for profit have fought tooth and nail to prevent being required to report injuries.

    It is time to protect greyhounds from exploitation and cruelty and vote Yes on 13.

    1. And soon the Florida public will find out you are nothing but charlatans and defamers. You can buy the politicians, you can buy PR, but FL voters are smarter than that. You people are about to get exposed in a huge way. You spout all this abuse but never show proof? Your comrade says the dogs are drugged but provides no scientific proof? You say the dogs get performance enhancing drugs even in the face of REAL experts with credentials that say otherwise. Not one of you people has ever given evidence to refute what is on my site. Even in the court testimony from the FACTS found by the judge it asserts there could be no way the dogs were given coke to enhance or fix races, yet your comrade Mr. Theil continues to spout that very same company line? Maybe you should actually listen to REAL DVM’s and scholars who know way more than any vet you know, oh but you can’t. No conflict = no $$$ for your friends Christine & Carey. Or what about your friend Tony Glover who left the DBPR and became a lobby for grey2k and then a split sample tests for NO CANINE DNA. Tampering is ok with you folks cause Fred said it was only one. Well most people go to jail with one felony, but in the animal activist world I guess you get a 1 felony/misdemeanor mulligan. For all of you here, these are the FACTS, not my opinion. Have you seen a video of abuse in the last year? NO If you have post it on my site. You have credible evidence to refute the links below? Come post it, just don’t be a moron like Barton and tell me to look for it myself. You want to claim something? PROVE IT, I DID.
      https://grey2kscam.com/wp/2018/02/20/birth-control-again-debunking-the-worldwide-leader-in-lies/
      https://grey2kscam.com/wp/2018/02/22/a-grain-of-sand-is-way-smaller-than-a-hill-of-beans/

      Findings of FACT by Judge Stevenson
      http://grey2kscam.com/letters/ruling3718.pdf

  6. The Florida Greyhound Association is running scared, as evidenced by this frivolous lawsuit. I cannot say I blame them, with the dog racing industry’s well-documented history of cruel and inhumane treatment of these gentle dogs. We Floridians have waited long enough to put an end to the confinement, injuries and deaths that racing greyhounds have endured at Florida tracks for years. I am confident that the people of this state will overwhelmingly vote YES on Amendment 13 this November!

  7. You are simply another kool aid drinker, have you actually been to a track, farm, or kennel? No most likely, they are the best cared for dogs in the country.

  8. I see all the keyboard warriors are out! People who sit behind a chair and believe all the lies and misconceptions. It’s truly pathetic these days

  9. The supporters of this amendment (Grey2k + HSUS, neither of which spend much of their vast amount of donation money to actually help animals) keep telling you that a greyhound dies every 3 days on Florida tracks. That statement is meant to mislead you. What they don’t tell you is that number is out of thousands and thousands of dogs and they include all deaths, whether they had anything to do with racing or not. They include dogs who died of illness or diseases like cancer. Unfortunately, pet greyhounds sometimes die too, from illness or accidents and nobody is trying to ban pet ownership. Get the facts: https://greyhoundchronicles.net/truth

  10. you hear about more pets being abandoned, abused, mistreated in the home setting. Maybe ban all pet ownership, Greyhounds are not abused and are not confined like the activists want you to believe, do some research and visit a track and kennel and see for yourself instead of listening to groups that just want you donation dollars, Can’t believe people are so lazy to do research. check it out….https://www.facebook.com/greyhoundchronicles/?ref=br_rs

  11. Wise words from Ms. McFall. This is the Greyhound breeders last ditch effort to stop Florida voters from being allowed to vote YES for the dogs. It is past time for this cruelty to end. Everyday in Florida, Greyhounds step out onto tracks with an overwhelming risk of being injured. These beautiful, and kind dogs are raced in the hottest months of summer, putting them at great danger of heat stroke. Dog lovers would not treat their dogs this way, and will now be able to speak for the Greyhounds by voting YES on Amendment 13!

    1. Wise words from Ms McFall huh, whose organization kills scores of dogs on a daily basis, no wonder these crooks get so much in donations with imbeciles who believe their lies. Know what the dogs get AFTER the race? Whirlpool baths moron.

    2. how many dog lovers take their pets to dog parks on hot days to run, your statement makes you look foolish, ore dogs perish or get injured in the home setting than on any track, Ignorant people need to get a clue and actually think before they repeat the made up stories

      1. Terry, I am not the loser here, the dogs are. They are the ones suffering while their owners profit. They live in confinement, and once they are injured, or no longer making money, they are discarded by their owners. No dog deserves that life.

        1. more home pets are discarded than greyhounds, they do not live in confinement, your own website says a crate is good at the beginning, do you know the largest crates available to Home pets are 2 times smaller than at a track, and they are not discarded, they go to approved adoption groups to find forever homes, Heard nothing but bad things about your so called adoption group, and yours is not approved by most tracks

          1. Terry, our rescue has proudly taken in over two thousand discarded greyhounds. Many of those have come with severely broken legs,. The greyhounds have regularly come to us infested with internal, and external parasites, and their teeth are usually in need of extensive cleaning. When placing dogs, we do suggest that they are crated in the beginning. Racing greyhounds have never lived in a house and are used to spending most of their time in a cage at the tracks. It doesn’t take long before they figure out home life, and the freedom of not being caged all day and night. At the track, their home is their cage. Once rescued, their home is their house.

          2. What Sonia has described is common to every non-track affiliated greyhound adoption agency. In other words all the adoption groups who can and do speak freely without fear of reprisal. I have any number of stories I could tell about broken leg dogs left crated at the racing kennel while the leg healed badly. And then when my group finally got the dog it was necessary to re-break for re-healing so the poor thing could use the damaged leg. And those dogs were confined to crate rest for their own safety. As care goes, Sonia’s is about the best there is.

  12. Apparently the Florida Greyhound Association doesn’t think much of the intelligence of Floridians. The Ballot title and Summary are very clear and concise and are not intended to, nor will they, confuse anyone. This is a desperate attempt to continue the institutionalized abuse that is greyhound racing. I have been to many tracks and greyhound farms and have observed greyhounds in cages for 20+ hours each and every day. And the Florida State records indicate that 458 greyhounds died due to racing from May 2013 to December 2017, and that averages out to one every three days.

    I am confident that an educated and caring voting public will choose to phase out the confinement, injuries and deaths of greyhounds and vote YES on Amendment 13.

  13. Why don’t you tell us where and when you saw these greyhounds ” caged ” for 20 hours a day? No doubt you’re yet another grey2k troll, as for all of the abuse, where are all the charges? You can be confident all you like, but we are fighting back this time, isn’t like Massachusetts. The lies you and your ilk spread will be brought out into the light. Care to comment on grey2k ADMITTING, and LOSING fraud in Massachusetts?

  14. If these owners, trainers and caretakers love their $1,000 ‘s dogs so much why does a 2-3yo have rotten teeth , infested with ticks ( I have picked up to 200 from 1 dog) unset broken legs and horrible digestion issues . I saw 2 racers from St Pete at my local vet last week with broken legs. That did not happen at the dog park! Race cars, not dogs.

  15. Racing mans best friend has no business in a civilized society. Now the voters will have a chance to end this outdated practice once and for all. Protect dogs, vote yes on amendment 13 in November.

  16. The last thing those who exploit greyhounds for profit wants is to see this issue brought before the people. For years they have manged to keep this cruel industry alive by a combination of politics and money in an enabling legislature. Daily greyhounds are put in harm’s way in order to make money for their owners and daily these dogs are injured and killed in that pursuit. No amount of regulation will change the central fact at the core of this so called sport and that is that innocent living creatures are used and discarded because of greed.

    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. Typical Grey2 greed, looking for donations, you should be embarrassed to work with them with all the lies, fake photos, deceit and a board member that races whippets, Fred you are a disgrace and prey on the gullible Grey2K is a bigger scam than Y2K was, Vote No on 13 and dont donate to Grey2k since your donation is NOT tax deductible, they have no rating with Charities either
      https://www.agcouncil.com/grey2k-peddles-false-propaganda-agc-tells-dubuque-newspaper/

      1. Has it ever occurred to you that the people who are going to vote in November really don’t care what your opinion of Grey2K is? Their interest, and rightfully so, is the heartless abuse, needless injury and painful deaths greyhounds face every day they are trapped in racing gulags. Perhaps you should try and speak to those issues instead of deflecting everything to a personal attack.

        1. Magnificent statement, Fred. ON THE MONEY, as they say in the racing world…THANKS!!

        2. Where is the abuse that Grey2k claims? Oh, its virtually nonexistent! The deaths are few and far between. How does Grey2k feel about potentially ruining the livelihoods of 50k good hearted people? Let’s not forget the lost tax revenue to the state of Florida also. Vote NO on 13!!!

          1. First of all, there have been so many documented cases of abuse from before Ursula O’ Donnell to after Ronnie Williams that to act as if you never heard of them is disingenuous at best. Second the figure I’ve seen from the industry for the number of jobs affected is between 3000 and 5000. Not 50,000. And those jobs are mostly part time low wage no benefit. The legislature can provide for those people as they did in Iowa. Third, racing does not provide revenue to the state. In fact, according to the state’s own reckoning it cost them more that $3 million more to regulate it than it brought in.

          2. My figure comes from 3k direct jobs, 10k indirect jobs multiplied by avg. household of 4 equals 52k people affected. Whether they are low paying jobs or not, peoples livelihoods are negatively affected by 13 passing. I’ve never seen or heard about abuse on a regular basis. It was mostly one off cases that were swiftly dealt with. In my years in the horse racing industry I’ve seen more horses put down than racing greyhounds. Why won’t Grey2k make their books public so people can see where their donations go? What does Grey2k and PETA have in common? They won’t see a dime from me, my family or friends. Vote no on 13!

          3. Your numbers conflict with those the industry is putting out. Perhaps you two should have a sit down. And besides, if 13 passes the legislature can help those affected to have a “soft landing as the legislature in Iowa did after the state got out of racing there. If you want to play dumb on abuse, fine. The record speaks for itself.

        3. the only abuse and painful deaths are in your mind and your lies, only a moron would vote for this, brought forward by a scam group that has been proven to lie and deceit people, why dont you lazy people get real jobs instead of sucking donations off gullible people, Fred you are the biggest fraud and I see another defamation suit coming and you will loose again, you havent posted one truth

          1. “…only a moron would vote for this…”

            Do you really think insulting the people whose vote you are going to need in November is a good strategy? Just asking.

  17. yes, Fred only a moron would vote yes based on your lies, and you still havent answered why they are allowing simulcasting of dog races from other states if this Amendment is Titled “To end dog racing”, it is fraud since you will still be able to bet on dog racing in Florida casinos,

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