Lawsuit over dog-racing ban heads to court - Florida Politics

Lawsuit over dog-racing ban heads to court

A group that supports a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit betting on greyhound racing won’t be allowed to enter a case against the ban, a Tallahassee judge ruled Friday.

Circuit Judge Karen Gievers denied a motion to intervene from the Committee to Protect Dogs, but said it could file a friend-of-the-court brief, as can the Animal Law Section of The Florida Bar

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Amendment 13, put on the November ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), aims at ending commercial dog racing in the state. In Florida, 12 tracks still conduct live dog racing.

The suit, brought by the Florida Greyhound Association, named the Department of State as a defendant. Its secretary, Ken Detzner, is the state’s chief elections officer. 

Among other claims, the complaint 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 would allow other gambling activities such as card games to continue at tracks after betting on dog racing ends.

Major B. Harding, a former Florida Supreme Court justice now with Tallahassee’s Ausley McMullen law firm, represents the greyhound association. He told Gievers the controversy is over the ballot title and summary, not whether greyhound racing is wrong.

The committee does not have standing to challenge the amendment in this case, he said, adding that the state’s attorneys best protect its interests.

But Broad & Cassel attorney Stephen Turner of Tallahassee, representing the committee, explained his client wanted to be a party so it can file an appeal, if needed. Backing the committee are the Humane Society of the United States and GREY2K USA Worldwide, which works to end dog racing.

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.

54 Comments

  1. In essence, the attorney for Grey2K and “Yes On 13” stated in front of the court that these radical activist groups were actually the proposers of the Amendment. Which would mean that Senator Lee abused his postition by allowing an out of state entity to write a proposal that if passed, would be added to Floridas Constitution. The lies, deception and deceit of this “Yes on 13” campaign, which is funded by Grey2K and HSUS continues to show their distasteful head. The lawyer ADMITTED it in court today!!! I hope that the voters of Florida are paying attention to this continued barrage of deceit, deception and disingenuous actions. They can’t be trusted… #VoteNoOn13 #Unlucky13

    1. And what about the dogs? They’re still dying, still confined, still suffering debilitating injuries. How do you defend that?
      Forty other states dealt with those same defenses by pro-racing groups. And, guess what? They outlawed dog racing. So, I ask again, what about the dogs? Isn’t this all about the dogs?

    2. Not quite. Senator Lee proposed the amendment, but other groups including HSUS and GREY2K supported it and lent their support and encouragement to get it through the process and on to the ballot. Actually, people from all over the country and the world helped.

    3. Not quite. Senator Lee proposed the amendment, but along with many other groups and individuals, HSUS and GREY2K joined the campaign to get it on the ballot.

  2. During the 2017 CRC Public Hearings, the only person who spoke about greyhound racing was a representative of Grey@K. Not one of the people who are representing the Dog Protector Campaign -Yes on13 spoke during any of the NINE hearings held in 2017. This members of this campaign claim to have years even decades of seeing abused greyhounds. But yet NOT ONE of them spoke up during 2017 when the CRC was making it rounds across the state of Florida. So as the chairwoman of Committee to Support Greyhounds, Jennifer Newcome, said already, Amendment 13 is not being pushed by the concerned citizens of FL but by an out of state lobbyist group.

    1. Now grey2scam is begging for donations for to rehome dogs at ” a closing Alabama track”, of which there isn’t one. More fraud from the worldwide leader in lies and fraud.

    2. This is cherry picking facts. The 2017 hearings ended in May and the amendment to phase out greyhound racing in Florida was not filed until October. During the 2018 public hearings over 100 Floridians spoke in favor of this amendment, talking about the confinement, the injuries, and the death of a greyhound every 3-4 days at a Florida track. #ProtectDogs #Yeson13

    3. Patricia, I am Vice Chair of Protect Dogs -Yes on 13. I am also the Founder and President of Elite Greyhound Adoptions. I have been rescuing greyhounds from Florida tracks and compounds for 15 years. In 2017, I was rescuing dogs from a blood bank, a kennel closing and from a vet’s office after the dogs had broken their legs racing and then dumped to be killed, so you can understand why I missed a few meetings. Amendment 13 has an enormous amount of support by Floridians and we are happy to be able to vote yes for the dogs on November 6th.

    4. You are right… not one spoke up. Because more than one spoke up. In fact, 5 of us spoke up at just 1 of those meetings. I didn’t go to all of them, so I can’t say for sure how many spoke at the ones I didn’t attend.

      Once again, pro racing plays fast and extremely loose with the truth.

    5. The purposes of the 2017 vs 2018 public hearings were not the same. 2017 was to give ideas to the CRC; 2018 was specifically to give feedback on the proposals that had been put forth. It’s a matter of public record who attended all the public hearings in 2017. Therefore their is no way or reason to be “extremely loose with the truth”. Senator Lee already had his pockets lined with money for P67.

      You can say cherry picking all you want; cherry picking facts is a good way to describe what Grey@K did when dissecting Paint The Trail videos to create your campaign ad. Yes Don let’s include all the non-greyhound people who spoke at the 2018 hearings- the many people who had to read a G@K script because they know nothing about greyhounds & never touched a greyhound.

      1. Patricia, one does not need to own, or even have touched a greyhound to speak up for them. I was at every 2018 hearing and I heard dog lovers show compassion for a breed that needs our help. Dog lovers don’t need to have owned a greyhound to know that they do not deserve the life of confinement that they are subjected to. The confinement and death stats are just two of the many reasons why voters will support Amendment 13.

  3. Pam Bondi didnt spend any time on it, she didnt show up for ANY CRC meetings at all

    1. Pam Bondi should have recused herself all she is and was is a shil a paid talking head with not much in it but nice to look at

      1. This is about the dogs, right? Not about people. So, what’s your point? This battle has nothing to do with people, and everything to do with ending the inhumane “sport” of commercial greyhound racing!

  4. It would be good to get dog racing gone, for humane reasons, and it doesn’t really matter how. It would be good to win on principle, ethics, and morality but if it takes regulating them out of existence then the dogs will take that win too.
    Exciting times!

    1. People, please read the above post, QUOTE “get dog racing gone”, “and it doesn’t really matter how.” Does this tell you anything? And if it happened, it would be on Lies, Deception and BS! This group was already sued in another state for that EXACT reason! Their true colors are showing, you are starting to get to see them! Please, get out and investigate it for yourself! Visit Paint The Trail or the Greyhound Chronicles on facebook and see what happens when someone opens their eyes and learns on their own! Visit a track, check with kennels and farms and go see for yourself!! Go meet the people that care for these athletes! NO ON 13 !!!! NO ON 13 !!!! Believe Your Eyes, Not The Lies!!

      1. And, a dog still dies every three days on average in Florida. How do you defend that fact?
        Forty states have outlawed dog racing on the grounds of inhumane treatment and death. Defend that fact. Four more states have closed tracks because of lack of interest due to concerns about inhumane treatment, confinement and death. Defend that fact.

  5. Going to see dogs racing is part of our vacation. Been around for years. Would hate to see them gone.

    1. Florida has so many things to offer. The dogs shouldn’t have to be sent out, risking catastrophic injury just so you have something to do while on vacation.

  6. Exactly, no one wants out of state groups to end dog racing- mind your business, hug a tree, get a life, go away!Pam Boom Boom Bondi and Tom Lee are Corrupt politicians- end this farce of CRC 13!

  7. Let’s keep in mind that those of you supporting this “activity” (because I will never call this a “sport”) are running against the tide of public opinion which votes as always with pocket books and pocket change. Tax revenue from this “activity” has dropped 98% since 1990. It is indisputable that this “activity” costs more to regulate than the state of Florida gets back in revenue. Dog racing is ending on its own, Amendment 13 is acknowledging the inevitable and its time frame stricture is just insuring that the barest minimum of racing greyhounds are killed or injured in the process.

  8. Just for the record, I am a Floridian who lives in Florida year round, I spoke in front of the CRC at the Melbourne public hearing, and I am bold enough to put both my first and last name on my comments.

    What I have learned about the greyhound industry in the past 2 years has sickened me. The industry has fought common sense proposals to require injury reporting and to ban anabolic steroid usage. As a private citizen, I am committed 100% to seeing the passage of Amendment 13 because it is the right thing to do, and there is no doubt in my mind that Floridians will overwhelmingly pass this measure in November. Vote YES on 13.

  9. This is just more desperate measures on the part of the dying dog racing industry. Floridians are tired of hearing about the cruelty of dog racing and have seen the dogs as they come off the tracks and into their communities with broken legs, parasites, scars, etc. They know about the almost constant confinement of the dogs in kennel compounds, the very real risk of serious injury each time the dogs race, and the 500 greyhound deaths that have been documented by the state at dog tracks since 2013. Floridians love dogs and will gladly vote YES on 13 to rid our state of this very cruel and inhumane industry once and for all.

  10. Well, I guess it’s true that at least one person not born in Florida is supporting Amendment 13. I admit it – I was born in South Carolina, and didn’t move to Florida until I was 5 years old.

    Now that we’ve gotten the ridiculous out of the way, I have lived and continue to live in Florida for almost 5 decades. So I’m just going to call myself a Floridian. I have been involved in greyhound rescue for almost 20 years, right here in Florida. I have probably been to more greyhound farms than most of the people commenting here. And I am a member of the Committee to Protect Dogs.

    I am more than ready to see greyhound racing in Florida end. It would have ended already, if not for a very out-dated mandate by the state. And I have no problem with receiving support from out of state, because as Florida goes, so will the nation.

    Greyhounds live lives of confinement, caged 20+ hours a day and risking injury and death every time they race. Newest information from the tracks themselves shows that nearly 500 greyhounds have died since 2013, ON track property. Who knows how many others have died after being taken off property, or sent back to the farms. And injuries are likely far greater, but we don’t know for sure, because the racing industry has fought tooth and nail for years to keep Florida citizens in the dark about the injury rate.

    So, yes, this Floridian whole heartedly supports the end of greyhound racing in Florida, and will #VoteYesOn13.

  11. I am confident that everyone who cares about dogs will vote for this common sense, humane measure in November. Dogs do not deserve confinement, injuries and death every 3 days at Florida tracks. Protect Dogs and Vote Yes on amendment 13.

    1. Give me the names of the 10 dogs and the track they died at in June if your statement is true, you can’t, because it isn’t true in the LEAST

  12. I have been reading these articles throughout and one thing I have noticed is that in 95% of them, the advocates for greyhound racing just simply attack Grey 2k, Pam Bondi, etc. They rarely address the health and well-being of the greyhounds. I have seen posts where people were actually at the track “in person” and witness these nasty injuries, and the track will not show the replay of the race. Why not? What are they hiding? Can someone…please….tell me why PBKC will not show the replays of races when dogs are injured? I have seen this question posed before on other articles and it has yet to be answered. Just the same ol’…. attack agencies and elected officials. This is about the dogs!! Flagler already sees the writing on the wall and replaced greyhound racing with an industry that has been dead for over 20 years, Jai Alai. To be replaced by Jai Alai is quite sad. My friend goes to PBKC all of the time to play cards, and he says that weekdays and Sunday’s are totally dead except for card players and horse players. The track is even closed on Tuesday’s now because the handle is so low. Let’s face it, if there were no horse simulcasts nor poker, PBKC would have closed down years ago! It’s a dying industry and the numbers back it. I was told that the owner one of the top 2 kennels at PBKC has opened up 2 pizza parlors recently because he sees the writing on the wall too. There are 4 days that PBKC is jammed with people: the 3 races of the Triple Crown and the “Breeder’s Cup.” All related to horses. I used to go to PBKC from the early 80’s until 2000. Haven’t been since. The last time I was there a dog was electrocuted and that was enough for me. What kind of moral encompass do owners and trainers possess when they know that on any given day, a dog can be seriously injured or even die? So y’all can rip apart Grey 2k for lying, Pam Bondi, or whoever else is on your agenda to discredit whether it be true or false. The fact of the matter is, that you are even lower than they, as you continue to be a part of an industry where a dog has the potential of getting injured and even killed each time he enters the oval! Get a real job and quit abusing these beautiful animals for the mere pleasure of servicing addicted gamblers who will lose $200 at the bat of an eye, but will not pay $1 for a racing program. The difference between the amount of people now verses the 80’s – 90’s is astronomical! There are not THAT many people betting online to skew those facts. Whether this passes or not, it is only a matter of time before greyhound racing will be obsolete. Just ask “Flagler” who had been running races for over 80 years!

    1. PBKC has a handle of 150k a card, MINIMUM, where does that money come from if it is ” dying”? I work at Ebro, even on mid summer nights the track is half full. Sanford Orlando does not have a card room but makes a great profit. PBKC handle for July2 $342,588 July 1 $447,161 June 30 matinee $477694, Jun30 evening $285,886. So much for your lies. Another grey2k shill

      1. Here’s another interesting quote from the Spectrum report:

        Greyhound racing accounted for 30 percent of total handle in FY 2012. Total handle for
        the 13 facilities that ran greyhound racing fell from $933.8 million in FY 1990 to $265.4 million.

        And that’s from five years ago as Sabrina likes to point out. Things have only gotten worse since then.
        in FY 2012, a decline of 67 percent.

  13. PBKC had 1093 people in attendance Monday, a WEEKDAY, hardly what any rational person would call ” dead”, you people do nothing but lie, distort, and scam.

    1. Yea, So busy that they can’t even keep the Paddock Room open for weekend nights. They are mostly card players. You can’t figure in attendance when you have horse players and card-players… nice try!

      1. I wouldn’t count on how reliable your attendance numbers are there Andy, because PB stopped charging admission about a year or so ago, and along with that, they took out the turnstiles that recorded the number of patrons entering in both entrances. . So there is no way a correct count can be determined. 2 years ago your point may have been valid, but not anymore.

        1. No doubt you say the same thing about the handle. Explain to me where the money for the giant superfectas come from if it is dying as you say

      2. As I stated at the beginning of my first post, once again, people like Andy will address EVERYTHING but the health and safety of the greyhounds! Thanks Andy, you now made my estimate go from 95 to 96%!! Same ol’ yadayadayada about Grey 2k, politicians or attendance figures. Address the health and well-being of the greyhounds, which is the real issue here. The proposal’s MAIN intent is not to close down tracks because of lack of attendance or revenue, which is also a variable influencing the decline of greyhound racing, but it addresses the SAFETY of theses beautiful animals. So, please do me a favor, and respond to that issue instead of trying to divert attention to Pam Bondi, Grey 2k, and all of the other areas which are totally irrelevant to the safety of the greyhounds. We will all be awaiting your response on how you and your cohorts plan to guarantee the safety of the greyhound if the proposal fails to pass. And please, just address that topic!

        1. Exactly as they are now. Happy healthy greyhounds. Wacth the paint the trail videos. Oh, and check attendance figures at Sanford.. The tracks have less attendance because of internet wagering. I notice you didn’t address the PBKC handle. Like always, twist the facts and flat out lie.

          1. I’m talking about on the track Einstein! The tracks’ handle was going down way before internet wagering ever started. We see all these people on here familiar with PBKC to refute all your lies about attendance numbers. Answer the question Andy, how will you guarantee the safety ON THE TRACK during a race? By the way, Ebro is a joke for a track. Home of all those All American dogs….never one! lol I think I could win a Grade A race at Ebro!
            Watch the “Paint the trails” video? You mean the video where the trainers know well ahead of time that they will be videotaped and are on their “best behavior?” Too bad a surprise video wasn’t made when trainers used to shoot dogs in the 70’s/80’s because they couldn’t run anymore. You are a joke!! You actually expect that the public is so naive to believe videos that are staged and expected? You still haven’t addressed how you get your PBKC attendance stats when they don’t even use turnstiles anymore? Where do you get you attendance numbers from? Talk about lying. The PBKC handle is much, much less than in the past. “Trachound”, whose been going for 40 years already confirmed that. I believe him before you who don’t even go to PBKC. And did you read where he said that even management said they would have closed down if not for horses and poker? And Trachound is against the proposal. So even the people on your side are calling you a liar! The only reason it is still decent, is because they are simulcast all over the entire world. So for the handle to be less than it was 20 years ago when it wasn’t simulcast around the world, shows the decline with no doubt. Time to start looking for a new job there Andy! Try and find a job where poor innocent animals aren’t in jeopardy of dying each time they get on the track. Harvard graduate I presume?

          2. Oh, grey 2 scam shill, I guess it’s fine all the animals killed by the ‘ humane society s’ endorsing your sham of a proposal

  14. I go to PBKC on average about 4 times per week and have been doing so dating back to the late 70’s. Being a professional greyhound handicapper, I obviously will vote “no” on Proposition 13. Yes, it does bother me immensely when I see dogs injured on the track, but I figure they are going to continue running whether I’m there or not, so why give up my supplemental income. May sound shallow, but true! I have seen it all over the past 40 years, and I think that outside of the “old-timers” that still work there as tellers and management, I am probably one of the handful that have been consistently going to PBKC since the late 70’s.

    I do have to admit, that PBKC is a “shell” of what it used to be regarding attendance, and many days while I’m there, the waitresses complain because they only have 2-3 tables for their entire shift. Back in the day, it was totally mobbed with people each performance, and the only day now that even compares to that presently is “Kentucky Derby Day.” As someone stated earlier in the thread, the Paddock Room is closed for weekend nights which I would have never imagined to be possible as weekend nights in there used to be packed! Even when open for season, it is still nowhere near full. And yes, the majority of patrons who are there are either horse players or poker players. Management has even admitted to me that they would have closed down many years ago if not for the horse simulcasts and poker rooms. If anyone tries to infer that there has been no decrease in attendance and handle over the years is flat-out lying! So I can see where both sides are correct to a certain extent with their arguments, but I am a first-hand witness as to what the attendance really looks like on a consistent basis where nobody else on this thread can attest to. There are days when I’m upstairs where there can’t be more than 10 people in the entire Terrace Room. Twenty years ago you would have to had made a reservation due to the overcrowding.

    It is true that in the past trainers did some pretty grotesque things to the greyhounds whose careers were over, and I surely don’t need to get into that as it was utterly disgusting! There were no adoption agencies back then, and even though there are still some trainers who may do unimaginable things to the greyhounds, I know all in all the industry has surely come a long way, and now those individuals are few and far between. As we know, you can find these people in any industry.

    I can see why advocates of the proposition are passionate about their stance, because again, greyhounds do get hurt and occasionally killed while racing. It’s just the facts which cannot be denied. The one provision I am happy about if the bill is passed is that there will be a 25 month period before the tracks in Florida close. Many of the dogs will be shipped to Southland, Wheeling Downs, and the other few tracks who aren’t nearly as competitive. But if there is no breeding for 2 years, then the number of greyhounds needing homes will be dramatically decreased as opposed to the 8,000 dogs who would need homes if it were to close by year’s end.

    1. They make a killing with the internet, and many tracks do little to no marketing because they want to be casinos. Let the facilities run down and such. Ebro is one. Funny how Wheelimg Sanford and Southland are THRIVING

      1. Grey2k and their criminal cohorts are fraudsters of the highest order,, the lying dorchak video of her ” accident” is proof of that. Not to mention they are aligned with ANIMAL LIBERATION FRONT. And we should be ok with such scammers costing so many Florida jobs?

    2. Looks like your experience was similar to that of the entire industry. Did you notice it as a gradual decline, or did it just seem to happen all of a sudden? I have to take issue with your comment about the dogs running whether you are their or not. That’s not a valid rationale to participate in an activity that you know is causing pain and suffering to innocent animals. I wonder why you didn’t switch to poker or slots lime so many others, but that’s really none of my business.

      1. Because Fred, I make a very comfortable living playing greyhounds. Slots & poker I’m doomed to lose. It took me about 5 years of losing to figure it out, but it’s tough when I make 6 figures each year….tax free! Not to brag, but I’m considered the best handicapper at PB. I totally understand your point, but if I’m not there they will run anyway. I’ve seen it as a gradual decline over the years.

        1. So you’ve known things were going downhill, and if you’re as good a handicapper as you say I’m thinking you don’t see any turnaround. It looks like, regardless of whether 13 passes our not, you’re going to have to find a new hobby.

          1. Yes Fred, I’ve seen this time coming for quite a while now. At least I have 2 years if it does pass, and hopefully Southland, Wheeling and the few others will stay for a tad longer, but I am not too confidant about that. My wife wants me to start learning how to handicap horses, so I don’t know. It took me years to get where I’m at now with the dogs, and I don’t know if I want to put in all that time again. All my buddies at PB tell me to learn the horses because there’s much more to be made with the pools being so much higher, which is true, so I just may start learning horses on the side. But even if the Proposal fails to pass, I just can’t see greyhound racing lasting any more than 5 years tops. I remember back in the late 70’s/early 80’s, when there was barely room to even walk at PBKC due to the crowds. It was crazy!! When I go today, I’ll be amazed if there are more than 20 people in the entire Terrace Room, which hurts me because it makes for smaller pools. I used to bet much more on a race in the past because the pools were higher, but nowadays, I have to cut back a bit because it negatively impacts the odds much more when the pools are smaller. I’ve seen so many dog players switch over to horses over the years because of this same dilemma, but the way I look at it, if you are making money playing dogs, why switch? I don’t make as much as I used to, but what I make now is still good enough for me.

          2. Well, good luck with that. I still have to say, making money off the exploitation and suffering of animals…you really ought to think about that. it’s true, right now anyway, that they would run regardless, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a part of it.

          3. Well, good luck with that. I still have to say making money off the exploitation and suffering on innocent animals…you really ought to think about that. Yes, for the time being, they will run anyway, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a part of it.

          4. You know Fred, handicapping is a tough game. Very few make money, he should be proud. Cattle ranchers make money off cattle, as do hog and chicken farmers. I guess you want to get rid of that too huh, and what about horse racing. The dogs love racing, explain a retired racers return to the track when they get so excited.

          5. Once again, no answers because you have none. You do realize you and your cohorts are way out there on the fringe with your views. Just like the Democrats calling for abolishing CE and open borders. I know you must be anti NRA and probably an atheist to boot

  15. Boy you are yet ANOTHER liar, trachound says he hopes it DOESNT pass,. Also, I hear about Palm Beach from trainers there, as far as you scammers just more liars who support the actions of a scam group affiliated with Animal Liberation front. If you are so concerned with injuries, why did your scam group oppose the Greyhound safety act?

    1. Yea Fred, you talked me into it. I’m going to give up my $100,000 a year tax-free “job” with free programs, my own reserved table, and unlimited food, just because “Fred from Grey2k said so.” Dude, I’m gonna “milk” this for as long as I can, because they’re going to run whether I’m there or not! If you were in my situation, your viewpoint may change as well. Obviously you would never admit that on this thread.

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