Greyhound owners plan legal challenge of dog racing ban

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The group that represents the state’s racing-greyhound breeders and owners will challenge a proposed constitutional amendment to outlaw dog racing, its spokesman and lobbyist told Florida Politics Tuesday.

Jack Cory, who represents the Florida Greyhound Association (FGA), said former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and former appellate judge Paul Hawkes, who also now represent the group, are working on a brief to the Florida Supreme CourtA request for comment sent to Kottkamp on the details of that challenge is pending.

On Monday, the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) approved the proposal (P6012) on a 27-10 vote; it needed at least 22 votes. Barring court action, it will go directly on November’s statewide ballot, where it needs at least 60 percent approval to be added to the constitution.

“We’re obviously very disappointed,” Cory said. “We don’t feel the proposal meets the requirements for ballot placement. We appreciate those who voted against it, but as we’ve seen, you only need a few lies to poison the well.”

In debate on the amendment, Attorney General Pam Bondi inveighed against dog racing; the Tampa Republican is known for regularly bringing shelter dogs to state Cabinet meetings to get them adopted.

“The entire country is watching us,” she said Monday, reciting a litany of alleged abuses of racing dogs. She told fellow commissioners that dog racing “is cruel and inhumane (and) horrible … This is not who we are as a state.”

Cory responded that Bondi, term-limited this year, was “wrong, and a modicum of research would have shown that.”

But “she read from the script given to her by an out of state so-called animal rights group,” he added, referring to GREY2K USA Worldwide, which opposes greyhound racing. 

Moreover, as the state’s chief legal officer, “she has full access to any kennel in the state,” Cory said. “She could see any abuse firsthand, but she won’t, because there is none … Respectfully, she did not know what she was talking about.”

Carey M. TheilGREY2K’s executive director, called the association’s members “sore losers” and said there was no basis for a challenge.

“This is a desperate attempt to prevent voters from having a say because they know they will lose at the ballot box,” he said.

Between Bondi and greyhound interests, “voters can look and decide who they want to believe,” Theil added.

He said a public relations campaign, including “grassroots volunteers” and paid advertising, is already being planned for the amendment’s passage in November.

The main vehicle for that campaign will be the Committee to Protect Dogs, a Florida political committee. State records show the panel has not yet raised any funds.

“We’re going to ask voters one simple question: ‘Would you treat your dog this way?’ ” Theil said.

Cory said the stakes are high to knock down the amendment: If it passes, “you’re putting people out of work, some who have been in the business for over 50 years. That’s not right.”

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor 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 [email protected].


  • Patricia

    April 17, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    This is the most inhumane and irresponsible issue to be placed on the ballot and have citizens who don’t understand all the ramifications vote on it. Even though it allows some time for tracks to stop racing, regardless the number of 8,000+ greyhounds that are eligible for adoption will be too overwhelming for adoption groups who run on donations and volunteers. The animal rights groups pushing this issue say there are enough “rescue” groups to take all the greyhounds; if that’s a fact, then why are dogs presently in high kill shelters and county shelters with a 3-5 day deadline on their life? Citizens will vote on this issue without knowing there is no safety net or funding requirement in place to help with this transition to buy food, pay for moving the dogs and pay vet expenses for vetting. You may say well let the owners pay for this; if you have money coming in that’s possible but when racing stops so does the money. Are the tracks going to help pay for the transition since several have been pushing for decoupling? Is Attorney General Bondi going to donate tens of $10,000 since she said she will take 1,000 dogs? This is not a scare tactic but a realistic look at what will transpire should this pass.

  • Jennifer Newcome

    April 17, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    I hope the courts can see that this is clearly not a Constitutional issue, and has no business being on the ballot. Besides the fact that the general public seems to lack the current knowledge as to the amount of love and care that the greyhounds receive, this would be an infringement on the already active Constitutional rights of the thousands of Floridians who earn an honest living working with greyhounds.

    Furthermore, what gives an out of state animal activist group the right to step onto Florida soil, and feed fake news and flat out lies to both Florida citizens and politicians in an attempt to rewrite Floridas Constitution, which last time I checked, does NOT pertain to residents of Massachusetts. So why do they feel that they are entitled to mosey on in with direction on how to rewrite the Constitution in a state in which they do not reside, work or pay taxes in? That’s quite a bit of gall, if you ask me.

    All Floridians should be up in arms about this. Once their goal has been met, they will simply wipe their hands and walk away, as they have continuously done in the past. This will leave the Florida taxpayers to foot the bill for the estimated $500Million that will be awarded to those who will have unjustly been forced out of business under the Bert Harris Act. The activists might say that this does not qualify, but they clearly have no problems lying through their teeth to push their propaganda.

    Florida residents- please don’t let them make fools out of you. Greyhound racing is good for greyhounds, it’s good for people and it’s good for Florida.


  • Craig Laginess

    April 18, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Even though I live in Michigan, I am in support of greyhound racing. I have been following this issue closely because I’ve adopted and fostered several greyhounds over the past 16 years. I was once borderline anti-racing, but after doing research and seeing how these dogs are well cared for my opinion has been swayed to pro-racing. The dogs are very well cared for and are treated very humanely. The attorney general seems to have been blinded by Grey2k. By passing the amendment millions of dollars of tax revenue will be lost and thousands of jobs and livelihoods will be lost. I strongly encourage a NO vote on this amendment.

    • John Willier

      April 20, 2018 at 6:22 am

      I also have 16 years on the adoption sidehere in FL and also was anti-racing in the beginning, but went to kennels and met owners and staff and can say the dogs are loved and treated well and that they love to race. This is good for everyone. I hope racing will survive.

  • Andy

    April 18, 2018 at 8:41 am

    She hasn’t been blinded by greed2k, she has sold out her fellow Floridians to casino interests. She offered up 0 proof to her accusations, and no doubt has never prosecuted even 1 animal cruelty case pertaing to racing. Grred2k is just her vehicle to use. They used the same fraudulent tactics in Mass.

  • steven M Grabarczyk

    April 18, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Sore losers???? Hey Carey you want to talk about sore losers? You are the LOSER who couldn’t push your lies through the legislature, so you went ahead and bought members of the CRC specifically Crooked Tom Lee to push your agenda cause you couldn’t get it in the legislature. So WHO is the sore loser here Carey? Not only are you a sore loser, you are just a plain loser. You pay no taxes here, and contribute NOTHING to Florida, so tell me who is the loser.

  • steven M Grabarczyk

    April 18, 2018 at 8:53 am

    And as far as Bondi is concerned, I made a public records request for the prosecution reports on all the supposed greyhound abuse cases she mentioned on the CRC floor on March 20th, no response yet from her office. Jim Rosica, maybe you want to find out why she is ignoring a LEGAL request that we are entitled to under Florida law?

  • Michael

    April 18, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Pam Boom Boom Bondi is a corrupt politician/she is in the pocket of Indian Gaming and Tom Lees pants- time to put the corrupt and carpetbaggers in their place

  • Fred

    April 18, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Pam Bondi lied threw her teeth, on tape she said she would take 1000, I hope she has $100,000, or more to dish out she wants inexperience shelters that kills dog to take them, that would be inhumane, Grey2k (Theil and Dorchet) have admitted to lying and deceptive practices to get donations to line their pockets with a 6 figure income each, they do nothing to place greyhounds, Bondi and Tom Lee should both loose their jobs for repeating lies and not researching themselves, Bondi didnt even attend 1 CRC meeting that were being held across the state

  • Herbie

    April 19, 2018 at 7:55 am

    It’s a crying shame this isn’t led by the track owner’s. they have card room’s so they’ll survive. without Dogs they shouldn’t be allowed to stay open but that’s not their concern with the coupling laws they pushed so very very hard for.

  • Jacquie

    April 19, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    If this passes I wonder how long it will take to start targeting LGRA, NOTRA and AKC racing events? All breeds of dogs love to run and chase lures, but they must also be physically fit and in condition to do so. The racing ban is a bad thing.

    • Fred

      April 19, 2018 at 8:42 pm

      this includes all dog racing waggering or where the winner receives money

Comments are closed.


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