The greyhound has inspired respect, devotion and admiration for its natural inclinations to race, run and win. Lawmakers swayed by lobby groups, like Grey2K and casino owners, fail to see what is in the best interests for the breed and an established industry.
The Spectrum Gaming Group Gambling Impact Study found pari-mutuels employ over 7,000 Floridians and provide $200 million in state revenue. These jobs and income would be lost, businesses destroyed and left to face hardships, should live-racing requirements for permit holders be eliminated or reduced.
The racing community is comprised of family businesses; food suppliers, veterinarians and the kennel establishments. Greyhounds receive care around the clock 365 days a year. Stocking, feeding and caring for a kennel is no small task. The dogs are fed, watered, turned out for play and potty time several times a day. The hounds are groomed, massaged, whirlpooled, checked over for soundness, weighed to make sure they maintain an optimal weight, and then exercised. Provincially produced feed and supplies are ordered. Bedding needs to be changed, kennels disinfected and water freshened daily. There are super sized boxes of dog cookies and pots of homemade stews to feed in the canine dormitory, all purchased at other Florida businesses. The kennel crates, a term defined by state government statutes, are large enough for a greyhound to stand, turn and stretch out. The kennel crates meet or exceed standards put forth by the HSUS & Florida mandates on greyhound welfare.
To own, train or handle the racing greyhound, applicants are highly scrutinized by the state through an application process, fingerprints and an FBI background check. This process results in added fee revenue to the state & local police. Transgressions by racing professionals result in hefty fines or termination. The risk of injury rating in greyhound racing is .01-.03 percent. The National Collegiate Athletic Association reports human sports have a rate of injury anywhere from 4 to 35 percent. As with the NCAA, injuries that can occur in greyhound racing can be as simple as a pulled muscle or bruising.However, once the greyhounds are weighed in, they are in the custody of the track and the state. If there are any catastrophic injuries that occur during the race, it is the track management's obligation to look into the safety reports and adjust protocol. The kennel owners provide healthy dogs. Safety should be shared by all aspects of the industry.Other factors, such as age and ability, play into the equation.
With well over 200,000 greyhounds in homes, the industry maintains one of the highest pure-bred adoption rates in the country. The fact that so many well-adjusted greyhounds are seen at pet stores and dog parks is a testimony to the success of collaboration between adoption and racing.
Greyhounds sell for an average $6,484 and have been purchased for upwards of $80,000. It goes against logic that anyone would willfully destroy something with that much value, monetarily or emotionally. The racing community gives the greyhounds to adoption groups, at zero cost and usually accompanied with a donation, because they know the greyhounds will get the home they deserve.
The race kennels are Florida small businesses. They live, work and spend their dollars in their neighborhoods. Eliminating the live-racing requirement would squeeze them hard.The racing industry is full of compassionate people who want to work and raise their families in Florida. It is vital for Florida's economic health to adhere to the current requirement of live racing tied to the track-turned-casino permits.