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On dog racing, national greyhound group says seeing is believing

The National Greyhound Association on Tuesday said it would offer tours of “three Florida greyhound tracks and their on-site kennels.”

The two-hour guided tours, free with advance registration, are “designed to promote transparency and educate the public about the care of greyhounds at the track, as well as stewardship of the breed,” according to a press release. 

“Tour guests will get an intimate understanding of the facilities, sleeping spaces, feeding, care and daily routine that racing greyhounds experience,” said Jim Gartland, the association’s executive director. 

Derby Lane, located in St. Petersburg, and the Palm Beach Kennel Club, located in West Palm Beach, will be the first two tracks to open their doors.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to separate fact from fiction about the lives of these canine athletes,” Gartland added. 

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A proposed state constitutional amendment banning betting on live dog racing in Florida was struck from the November ballot by a Tallahassee judge after a challenge from the Florida Greyhound Association.

The state appealed, which put an automatic stay on the ruling, essentially meaning the measure stays on the ballot till the state’s Supreme Court says otherwise.

Amendment 13, slotted for the ballot by the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission, would need at least 60 percent approval to be added to the state constitution, like other proposed changes to the state’s governing document. 

Gartland said dog owners and breeders want to show people “that racing greyhounds eat, sleep, work and play in a way that correlates very closely to the world of our family pets. That’s one of the reasons why racers make such great pets when they retire.”

He said more than 95 percent of all racing greyhounds are either retired back to a farm or placed in adoptive homes when their racing careers end. Over the past three decades, more than 150,000 retired racers have become pets.

“Greyhounds are known for their gentle, loving dispositions, and they are accustomed to being around people and other dogs, so they are well suited to life in homes with children and multiple pets,” the release said. 

Derby Lane tours are available on selected Saturdays in September and October. Palm Beach Kennel Club tours are available on selected Thursdays in September and October. 

Daytona Beach Kennel Club dates will be available on the website once they have been determined. A complete tour schedule and online registration is available here

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Featured photo is courtesy of Van Abernethy.

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