Campaign will officially kick off to promote dog-racing ban


Advocates for a ballot initiative to put an end to greyhound racing say they’ll launch their “Protect Dogs – Yes on 13” campaign Monday, with a press conference at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

State Sen. Dana Young, a Tampa Republican and “steadfast advocate of greyhound protection issues,” is slated to attend with Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, campaign volunteers and rescued greyhounds, according to a news release.

“I have worked on the greyhound racing issue since my very first year in the Legislature and I am thrilled that the voters of Florida will finally get a chance to decide the fate of dog racing in our state,” Young told Florida Politics.

“I believe that, finally, common sense will prevail and these gentle dogs will no longer be forced to run around a track,” she added.

Amendment 13, placed on the ballot by the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission, would outlaw the racing of dogs and wagering on such races. Amendments need at least 60 percent approval to be added to the state constitution.

The proposal also would allow other gambling at tracks, such as card games, to continue even after dog racing ends. In Florida, live dog racing is still conducted at 12 tracks.

“Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane,” said campaign co-chair Kate MacFall in a statement. “Thousands of dogs endure lives of confinement and substandard treatment at Florida dog tracks, and every three days a greyhound dies.”

But greyhound owners and breeders, who oppose the ban, deny accusations of cruelty and have challenged the proposed amendment in court.

Undaunted, the campaign chose to kick off at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which it called “one of the leading animal welfare organizations in the state.”

“We are proud to host this historic announcement,” said Sherry Silk, the organization’s CEO. “Dogs play such an important role in our lives, we consider them family, and they deserve to be protected.”

The Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 campaign will next hold 13 grassroots meetings across the state. It recently launched a digital campaign to inform voters through a dedicated website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram account.

“This will be a true grassroots campaign,” said Joyce Carta, another campaign co-chair. “We are confident that when Floridians see the way greyhounds suffer in this industry, they will vote ‘yes’ for the dogs.”

Staff Reports


  • Juliana G Robertson

    June 4, 2018 at 8:45 am

    The following was written in response to an anti-racing video that is being circulated in Florida, but the facts are as applicable here. What you are doing is going to destroy the greyhound breed in America. Read to see how the truth is being manipulated by uncaring politicians preying on well-meaning but uninformed citizens: There is an anti-racing video that has been pieced together by Grey2KUSA, the Massachusetts based organization whose sole purpose is to ban racing without giving a thought to the well-being of greyhounds as individuals or as a breed. Using footage stolen from the racing industry to show that conditions at the track are not abusive, Grey2KUSA has totally manipulated the truth to deceive you. Yes, dogs do die at the tracks in Florida. But you are being intentionally mislead to think that they are dying in droves; they are not telling you the truth. They show footage of a dog being injured during a race, and then proceed to make it seem like the highly regulated tracks are killing fields. There are 8,000 dogs at Florida tracks. The death rate among Florida greyhounds is actually very low given that population of animals. What you are not being told is that the numbers of deaths mentioned in the video are not just from racing injuries. Those numbers actually include deaths from all causes which have to be reported to the State of Florida to ensure that there is no abuse. As is typical of the organizations trying to ban racing, they are not telling the true story in an effort to incite a certain an inaccurate and unfair hysteria against racing. Secondly, they show the interior of a racing kennel with the dogs standing up in their crates. Those dogs in the crates are not being abused. Greyhounds are widely known to sleep 20 hours a day. (And, aren’t we all encouraged to crate train our dogs for their own safety when we are away? If those dogs were in the same crates in a home or at a boarding facility, would that be abuse? ) If there had not been a trainer walking down the aisle taking a video, each of those animals would be contentedly sleeping for hours on end. So, those conditions in that kennel are not abusive in any way. (Did you notice how incredibly clean it was? Doesn’t look like a puppy mill, does it? Do you keep your home that clean?) In fact, the dogs at the track are outside playing for several hours a day every day. (How could they perform on the track if the only exercise they ever got was during an actual race? Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?) As the adopter of multiple greyhounds and an advocate for their welfare, I can assure you that the greyhounds at the track get more and better exercise than my greyhounds at home do. Probably more than your pets, too. Fourth, greyhounds are shown laying about in a shaded area as an alleged abusive situation. They are actually laying in the shade during their turn out time. If the camera was facing the other direction, you would see an open and clean and very large turn out area in which the greyhounds are free to roam, play, and relax. But, of course, they are not going to show that. This false propaganda is just typical of the groups trying to ban the highly regulated and organized greyhound racing in Florida. Finally, ask yourself this question – what is going to happen to the greyhounds if Florida bans racing? What you do not know is that there is already an issue with illegal “underground” racing which is as abusive as dog fighting. Since they are not going to stop breeding greyhounds, that just means that more and more will end up at these horrible places or will be sent to the tracks in Mexico, and, yes, greyhounds really are abused there. ( But Grey2KUSA doesn’t care. That will just be a new cause for them.) Unless you are actively involved in the greyhound world what you do not know (and what Grey2KUSA will not tell you) is that there is an incredible nationwide network of dedicated greyhound adoption groups that finds homes for retired racers. If you ban racing, and it goes underground or to Mexico, there will be no adoption network for those greyhounds. If you vote to ban racing on Florida which will in turn end racing across the nation (Which is what they want.), you are voting to condemn greyhounds to a situation that is horrid and abusive and totally unlike what is happening at Florida tracks. The strides made by the greyhound industry in the past 25 years has been incredible. From what I have personally seen, greyhounds are treated much better at the tracks than most dogs in a home, including those of some of the most ardent Grey2KUSA supporters. Please don’t destroy this amazing breed in America. Greyhounds are born to run. Keep Florida racing.

    • Eric Jackson

      June 4, 2018 at 10:01 am

      The greyhound breed has been around for thousands of years. Racing has been around for less than 100 years. The end of racing will not mean the end of the greyhound.

      The sole purpose of GREY2K USA Worldwide is to end the cruelty of greyhound racing for the dogs. To claim otherwise is to be disingenuous.

      Racing footage is made publicly available by the racing industry. It is not “stolen” by anyone, though that claim is frequently made by the industry.

      The “death rate” among greyhounds is not a matter of debate – it is documented fact. A greyhound dies on a Florida track about once every three days. There are hundreds of other greyhounds injured. Those are the facts according to state and industry records. Many of the reported deaths are from treatable injuries – like broken legs – that make a dog unlikely to be a profitable racer in the future. Rather than treat the injury, too many owners/trainers will have the dog euthanized.

      Racing greyhounds are “known” to sleep 20 hours per day because they have nothing else to do while locked in their cages! And if you think locking a dog in a cage for that long, on a daily basis, day in and day out, bears any resemblance to “crate training” then you should not be allowed to have pet dogs. That kind of confinement is inhumane, whether it’s done in a home or in a warehouse-like kennel facility.

      You go on to claim, “Dogs are outside playing for several hours a day.” Exactly how many hours constitutes several? Three? Four? Again, your own admission is that the dogs spend an inordinate amount of time locked in a cage.

      Where is the claimed “underground racing” going on? In Florida? And where are those greyhounds coming from if they are so highly prized by the owners/trainers/breeders? Do you have any evidence to support such a claim? And the dogs that end up in Mexico come from American owners/trainers/breeders. Many of the dogs rescued from Mexican tracks can be traced directly back to their American sources. The industry can’t claim to love and care for the dogs so much to decry racing elsewhere when it is the industry itself that is supplying the dogs.

      There are hundreds of greyhound adoption groups across the country, and many of them are featured on the GREY2K USA Worldwide website. Those groups worked for many years in a quiet peace with the industry, taking the racing greyhounds who were no longer profitable and finding them appropriate homes. Those groups were founded as an alternative to the industry’s former solution – the widespread murder of unwanted dogs. The greyhound racing industry has, in recent years, moved to stop many groups from helping dogs because of their anti-racing stance. Those groups still exist. They’re still ready, willing, and able to take the dogs the industry no longer has any use for and find them loving homes. GREY2K USA Worldwide has supported and encouraged greyhound adoption since its inception.

      The greyhound industry has been forced to clean up its act as a direct result of pressure from groups like GREY2K USA Worldwide. Despite any so-called advances, greyhounds continue to be injured and killed on Florida tracks. The industry is incapable of ending its cruel and inhumane practices. The only solution is to end racing.

      If you want to keep Florida racing, then put on your running shoes and hit the road. Or fire up your engines and hit the track. Or mount your bicycles and hit the trail. There are plenty of ways for people to race without involving greyhounds. Please, when you have the chance, vote YES on 13 – be the voice for the voiceless.

      I am the vice-president of GREY2K USA Worldwide and an active member of a greyhound adoption group. I have shared my home with many greyhounds over the last dozen years, including pets and fosters.

  • Leslie S.

    June 10, 2018 at 12:30 am

    These are beautiful, wonderful animals, that DO NOT belong in a confined situation, 23 hrs a day. We would never treat our own pets in such a manner, and the greyhounds deserve to be free. The stories told are so hard to hear and see. They breed females with broken bones, they don’t spend any money on there dogs, it’s only about the money. Find a new job, that doesn’t involve torture.

Comments are closed.


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