Photo: Van Abernethy
The group representing Florida’s greyhound owners and breeders is renewing its pledge not to go ‘negative’ in its battle against a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at outlawing betting on dog racing.
The Committee to Support Greyhounds, a separate political group formed to fight the ban, has issued no similar pledge, however. But it has dedicated itself to “spotlighting the amount of love and care that goes into the breeding and raising of racing greyhounds and educating the public about these amazing athletes and pets.”
Meantime, backers of the ban have come out with another policy ‘white paper‘ to sway voters, who will decide the amendment on the November statewide ballot.
The ban needs at least 60 percent approval to be added to the constitution. In Florida, live dog racing is still conducted at 12 tracks.
Despite the promises, some observers have privately likened the battle over the amendment to be as knock-down-drag-out till November as the fight over alimony reform that roiled recent Legislative Sessions. Those efforts died.
“How great would it be if every Greyhound person in Greyhound Nation would post a positive picture a day and not comment on negative F B (Facebook) posts, because F B then reposts them and they get more views? 🐾🐾”
The post ends with the hashtags, “#BePositiveOrBegone” and #FightingForGreyhoundNation,” and is followed by dozens of photos, mostly of (adorable) retired race dogs.
It also commands the Legislature to “specify civil or criminal penalties for violations … and for activities that aid or abet violations” of the amendment.
If passed this year, the measure takes effect Jan. 1, 2021.
The association and its president, James Blanchard, also has filed suit against the amendment in Leon County. A bench trial before Circuit Judge Karen Gievers has been set for July 26.
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 bans the placing of bets on racing greyhounds or other dogs. It doesn’t affect any other gambling now going on at dog tracks, such as card games.
Last week, Protect Dogs – Yes on 13, the group that supports passage of the amendment, issued a “memo of fact on greyhound confinement at Florida racetracks,” saying dogs are confined for 20-23 hours per day. (That memo, backed by sourcing that includes “key dog racing defenders” is here.)