Appeals court hands off dog racing ban challenge to Supreme Court
Photo: Van Abernethy

Greyhounds racing

The 1st District Court of Appeal on Monday agreed to “pass through” to the state’s Supreme Court a case on whether a proposed amendment to end greyhound racing should stay on the November ballot.

A unanimous three-judge panel said the matter was “of great public importance,” needing “immediate resolution … due to time constraints related to the pending election and ballot preparation timelines.” The Supreme Court did not immediately accept jurisdiction.

Tallahassee Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ruled last week that the proposed ballot title and summary were “clearly and conclusively defective,” and the amendment should not go on the ballot. The measure bans betting on dog racing effective the beginning of 2021.

Among other things, Gievers said the title and summary didn’t make clear to voters that other gambling at racetracks, such as card games and slots, would continue if the measure passed.

Edward M. Wenger – the state’s chief deputy solicitor general – appealed the decision, placing a hold on the effect of Gievers’ ruling pending appellate review.

Judges Joseph Lewis Jr., Scott Makar and M. Kemmerly Thomas also said their court “stand(s) ready to assist on an emergency basis should the matter be remanded back to us for our consideration.”

Amendment 13, placed on the ballot by the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission, was challenged by the Florida Greyhound Association, which represents the state’s breeders and owners. Amendments need no less than 60 percent approval to be added to the state constitution.

Both the state and the association had agreed to ask the DCA to pass the case to the Supreme Court, noting that time was of the essence: Mail-in ballots must, by law, be sent to voters by Sept. 22.

“There are only a few companies certified to print these paper ballots in the United States, and every other state in the country is holding elections” on Nov. 6, their filing said. “As a result, counties in Florida submit their ballot orders as early as possible to ensure they meet the mailing deadline.

“… Expedited briefing and oral argument could occur in (the Supreme) Court before the early September practical deadline for printing the general election ballots,” the request said. 


Featured photo by Van Abernethy

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]


  • Fred Barton

    August 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    It is unfortunate that, in this day and age, it costs so much money to do the right thing, but ending greyhound racing is certainly a case where the end justifies the means. If we can free greyhounds from the racing gulags they are trapped in every penny will have been worth it.

    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: 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

  • Andy

    August 20, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Fred is indeed a board member of Grey2k worldwide, the scam group that has perfected OUTRIGHT TRICKERATION into an art form. Notice he doesn’t mention that they were implicated in a blackmail scheme in West Virginia in 2012, nor does he mention that the head of these fraudsters, one CHRISTINE DORCHAK, is a documented liar. Court records along with her donation seeking video prove this. Nor does he mention that less than 1% of donations go to help any animal, while the 2 head liars Dorchak and Thiel pay themselves a six figure salary. Nor does he mention Grey2k is aligned with terrorist group ANIMAL LIBERATION FRONT. For proof of this simply google ” christine dorchak animal liberation front”. Grey2k ” The worldwide leader in lies and fraud”, or, as esteemed Judge Gievers rightfully termed it ” OUTRIGHT TRICKERATION”

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