Going to the dogs: Anti-greyhound racing group says lawsuit against ban ‘will be rejected’
Greyhounds racing at Naples/Fort Myers track. Photo: Van Abernethy.

Greyhound racing
"No property is taken under Amendment 13."

One of the lead backers of last year’s successful state constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing has told legislative leaders that a lawsuit against the measure is “dubious” and “frivolous.”

Carey Theil, executive director of GREY2K USA Worldwide, which aims to permanently end dog racing, sent a letter Monday to state Rep. David Santiago, chair of the House Gaming Control Subcommittee, and state Sen. Wilton Simpson, who chairs the Senate Committee on Innovation, Industry and Technology, which oversees gambling issues.

Theil was responding to the recent filing of a lawsuit by a Pinellas County greyhound-kennel owner, who claims what became Amendment 13 is an unconstitutional taking of property because it made his dogs worthless. In constitutional-law parlance, a taking is when government “uses, regulates, (or) seizes private property” and doesn’t pay for it.

“We believe this lawsuit is without merit and will be rejected,” Theil wrote. “As you know, no property is taken under Amendment 13, and (it) simply phases out an activity that voters have found to be cruel and inhumane.”

A similar claim was brought in Massachusetts in 2011, he added, resulting in a ruling against a kennel owner. A judge found that the owner “could have no reasonable investment-backed expectations in its greyhound kennel business” because “it operates in the highly-regulated gaming industry.”

“Rather than to obstruct adoption efforts and file frivolous lawsuits, the industry would be better served working to ensure there is a successful transition for every track worker and every greyhound,” Theil told the lawmakers.

Amendment 13, passed with 69 percent ‘yes’ votes in November, specifically outlaws placing bets on greyhound and other dog races, such as at the state’s pari-mutuels, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

The amendment was placed on the ballot by the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), as opposed to a citizen initiative or by the Legislature. It was championed by then-Attorney General Pam Bondi, who also sat on the commission and regularly brought shelter dogs to state Cabinet meetings to get them adopted.

Since Amendment 13 was passed, many tracks already have stopped racing; the measure allows other gambling at tracks, such as card games, to continue even after dog racing ends. In his letter, Theil says “four racetracks (Sarasota, Pensacola, Melbourne and Mardi Gras) have ended live racing, while seven remain operational.”

Moreover, of those, “Ebro Greyhound Park will cease racing on Sept. 28 … (and) Naples Ft. Myers Greyhound Track indicated in its official state license application that it will cease racing on May 2, 2020.”

And the “general manager of Sanford Orlando Kennel Club recently suggested the facility may end (racing) before the final date of December 31, 2020.”

The good news for dogs, Theil said, is that “breeding was greatly reduced in the months leading up” to last November’s vote, meaning fewer dogs to worry about finding people to adopt them.

Even there, he added, “every greyhound adoption group that spoke out about animal welfare problems has been ostracized … The politicization of adoption is dangerous, especially at a time when we should be setting aside our differences and working together to ensure that every dog receives a loving home.”

Last year, in response to a ‘taking’ argument, the lawyer that successfully represented a pig farmer who sued over the state’s 2002 ‘pregnant pig’ constitutional amendment said Amendment 13 was legally sound.

Broad & Cassel attorney M. Stephen Turner, who represented Florida pig farmer Stephen Basford, wrote an opinion letter for GREY2K.

In contrast to outlawing the confining of pregnant pigs in such a way that “prevent(s them) from turning around freely,” Turner said “gambling on dog races is a nuisance at common law, and a constitutional amendment reverting that activity to illegal status would not cause taking of property … Its prohibition is well within (the state’s) police power.”

Another lawsuit announced this summer is reportedly in the offing by a pro-greyhound racing group to “overturn” the constitutional amendment effectively banning dog racing in Florida.

Jennifer Newcome, who was chair of the Committee to Support Greyhounds, has said she is readying a federal lawsuit on behalf of the offshoot “Support Working Animals” organization, online as Overturn13.org.

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]


34 comments

  • Steve Grabarczyk

    August 12, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Hey Carey, let people do what they want and file what they want. You do not live here, own property here, or pay taxes here. So just bow out, STFU and let the legal process decide. After all thats what this country is about, not what you or your ambulance chasing lawyers opine. The proverbial S%%$ is gonna hit the fan when you and your sham organization is exposed. The Florida people voted based on a $3 million plus campaign of BS and lies which will not be exposed in the FGA suit but WILL in the Federal suit by SWA. Win or lose you or your will not be able to lie to a Federal Judge. The house of cards comes down soon.

    • gary

      August 13, 2019 at 1:37 am

      Keep the pups running!

      • Willard

        August 16, 2019 at 7:13 pm

        Keep greyhounds running as pets only from day one, not according to your schedule for your profit.

  • Overturn13

    August 12, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    I still don’t see why Grey2K is being afforded a soap box to stand on in regards to the legal filings. They did what they set out to do, be it through dishonest and disingenuous propaganda that they spent $3million spreading. They were long gone the day after the vote. Who gives flying fig what they have to say?

    • Willard

      August 16, 2019 at 7:16 pm

      I will tell you who cares:69.7% of the population of Florida who saw right through YOUR lies over the years.
      You already lost, and you know it. Stop wasting donor’s money

  • Marie

    August 12, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Seems like the lobbying group is losing control over the conversation and the outcome. Aren’t they satisfied and confident in the damage and destruction they have set into motion in the state of Florida? This letter paints a picture of uncertainty & fear on their part. Not to mention the false danger they are desperately trying to paint around adoption groups. As racers leave racing, they continue to move to responsible adoption groups as before; not one ex-racer has fallen thru the cracks and none will. This lobbying group is seeking to control the adoption efforts and the money and to make themselves important, as saviors that they are not. There is no crisis surrounding adoption efforts, just more fake news & hysteria.

    • E Peters

      August 14, 2019 at 4:54 pm

      I think this is another lie that is being repeated by the Pro Racing people. I don’t think Carey Theil opposed the safety act. Below is a note from Kevin Rader thanking Carey for his support for his bill.

      https://grey2kusa.org/pdf/Rep.%20Rader%20Version1.pdf

      Aside from that I’d guess Carey only opposed the line in the safety act which allowed for traces of cocaine to be allowed in racing dogs. The bill Carey likely preferred did not mention cocaine but also included injury reporting.

      With regards to anti racing groups purposely not recording adoptions sounds longer just another baseless lie. Why should it be up to them at all to manage adoption rates? Why shouldn’t be done by the owner of the dogs as they should be playing a hand in who is getting adopted and where? And it could be verified by a third party so nobody could lie.

      • Marie

        August 14, 2019 at 5:51 pm

        Your reply which is copied and pasted is not relevant to my comment. But when does your coalition ever think thru an entire concept before responding, like writing Amendment 13 and preaching cruelty but then approving Floridians to bet on out of state races.

        • E Peters

          August 15, 2019 at 6:28 am

          Marie, Why would you assume I’m part of a “coalition?” Again drawing conclusions based on ‘feelings’ not facts. I’m just a dog a lover who has enough sense to do my own research so I don’t repeat lies. I showed you proof of your untrue accusation that Carey supposedly opposed the safety act and its nothing nothing more than a repeated lie and you still turn around and blindly support the lie. You haven’t shown any prove that he was against safety measures. I’m sure I can find proof that he was against allowable amounts of cocaine in racing dogs. In fact there were other safety related bills that he supported in Florida and other states. He’s been fairly consistent with his stance.
          You never answered why representatives in the greyhound sport tried to stop injury reporting and deaths from being mandatory. Why people who supposedly love their dogs don’t want those numbers to be tracked or public.
          There’s also some prominent owners who have recently sent 6 dogs to China for breeding when racing isn’t even legal, never mind regulated. That’s just how far their love goes in some cases. The NGA just had a knee jerk reaction putting in a new rule to try and stop this AFTER it was published in the media. The sad thing is, it’s been going on for years and will continue as long as commercial racing is allowed.

  • Not an ambulance chaser

    August 12, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    May want to read this “empty rhetoric” Carey and the liar Dorchak too::::

    In contrast, a regulation restricting the use of property to further legitimate public ends, will not be considered a taking merely because it impairs the value or the utility of that land. However, when the regulation goes too far (as Justice Holmes put it in Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon), it will be judicially recognized as the equivalent of a taking which may not take place without payment of just compensation to the property’s owner.

    I would think lying and paying off CRC politicians would qualify as “too far”

  • Tom

    August 12, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Theil and his husband train wreck Christine must be worried to have to send a letter, They better start hitting people up for donations

  • Bubpup

    August 12, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    Theil STILL doesn’t understand that 13 outlawed BETTING on races only inside of Florida. Yet the lawyer who wrote the opinion piece for Gret2terrorists notes it in His first sentence.

  • Brian O'Gorman

    August 12, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    I boycott everything I know to be from Florida after this amendment passage, including especially citrus and other agricultural products. Their horse racing activities are next in line, except for polo a favorite of sobbing Sonia.

  • Pro animal society USA

    August 12, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Grey 2 k and carry Theil are a vegan terrorist organization similar to animal liberation front … peta and so forth the animal enterprise terrorism act should have taken care of the vegan nut jobs years ago … now they are harassing our livestock farmers .. stealing animals … telling us what to eat … trying to ban horse racing … zoos , sea world … vegans are no friends of animals because they want to get rid of all enterprises that advocate and take care of animals … Florida was scammed by the hsus and animal rights organizations … and the public needs to wake up … !!!

  • Fred Barton

    August 13, 2019 at 11:55 am

    I believe this lawsuit comes under the heading of last gasp of a dying industry. Economically greyhound racing has been dead for years, subsisting on subsidies and handouts. The courts will be doing the industry a favor when they throw this suit out.

    • Grey2K Lies

      August 13, 2019 at 2:50 pm

      Seeing that you are NOT a Floridian, and will not be responsible for compensation, what do you even care? Seems that this is nothing more than Grey2K shills trying to save face, as things that the Yes on 13 proponents used as propaganda are coming to fruition. You continue to kill your own credibility. The people of Florida know that they were duped. There’s no amount of back tracking that can change that.

      • Fred Barton

        August 13, 2019 at 3:32 pm

        You know, every time we challenge the racing industry you respond by calling us names, changing the subject and clouding the issue. Then you proceed to lose. Are you beginning to see a connection here? The Florida Supreme Court and almost 70% of the voters in Florida saw the issue for what it was, animal exploitation and the cruelty that comes along with that. Your response is: everybody is dumb but us. It’s getting a little thin as a rational position don’t you think?

        • steve grabarczyk

          August 13, 2019 at 8:00 pm

          CORRECTION dumb ass Fred the FL SC court only ruled on the ballot language. They DID NOT rule on the Constitutionality of the Amendment. So you can stop your BS lies at any time, but you wont. You are just as big a tool as Carey. Spin all you like Freddy, it will be up to a judge and possibly the SCOTUS, and there is no lie you can tell, no info you can twist, and no picture or video you can steal to rig the outcome. Ask Carey about “the fix” as it relates to the CRC. You are smart enough to know (or maybe you are not?) that $3 mil and a bunch of lies and stolen video can buy an election. Since public opinion matters no more, I am going to say here what many feel. Fred, you are the biggest piece of human waste besides Carey. Spin that how you want with your empty circle jerk BS that you post without ever answering a question. Go ahead and keep being cavalier, but win or lose the federal suit, Carey and the rest of G2k will be exposed for the bottom dwelling lying trash that you ALL are.

          • Fred Barton

            August 13, 2019 at 9:03 pm

            Now why would they allow an unconstitutional question on the ballot? You make a distinction without a difference.

        • Guess Who???

          August 13, 2019 at 9:00 pm

          Fred we all know the true animal exploiters, it’s Grey2k, HSUS, ASPCA, PETA and other so-called animal rights organizations. The tax returns don’t lie and we all see how much truly goes towards the welfare of the animals. Give it up, you horses ass.

          • Fred Barton

            August 13, 2019 at 9:04 pm

            Thank you for helping me make my point.

    • Sabrina

      August 13, 2019 at 5:49 pm

      Hey Fred… the racing industry does not receive subsidies. The industry gets royalties. BIG DIFFERENCE!

      • Fred Barton

        August 13, 2019 at 9:07 pm

        Yeah. That’s why the casinos in Iowa were willing to spend millions of dollars to get out from under greyhound racing. That’s why there’s a fight every year in West Virginia about money going to breeders. That’s why it cost Florida more to oversee racing than racing brought in to the state. I don’t think royalty means what you think it means.

        • Terry

          August 13, 2019 at 9:48 pm

          if it isnt Theil puppet running his ignorant mouth. Fred why dont you go spew your BS elsewhere, no one really agrees with you except the scam organization you belong to

          • Fred Barton

            August 14, 2019 at 7:08 am

            Almost 70% of the voters in Florida agree with me.

      • Willard

        August 16, 2019 at 7:44 pm

        Sabrina. The state of Iowa distributes $5.6 million of taxpayer cash to the breeders and groups associated with dog racing there. Plus they charge just $1 single dollar per year for rent for the land and the same for the facilities. Most of that disappears next year.

        You are wrong.

        And soon racing in Iowa will end, 2 years from now. They just went public about their expected lack of dogs for their short season.

        We probably have seen the last of Texas already.

        Almost all gone!

        • Willard

          August 18, 2019 at 10:46 am

          Hey Sabrina, did the fact that you were totally wrong chase you away?

          The pro-racing crowd are so pitiful. They just call others harsh names and run and hide on-line.

          The reason the vote was lopsided was that the public easily saw through their slander and misstatements. They blame others for their losses rather than themselves.

          Texas dog racing will be gone within one year. Iowa within two. All within 4. The greyhounds can then run as pets from day 1 and be bred for health rather than speed only. Yes, they love to run.

Comments are closed.


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