GREY2K USA and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals held a press conference Thursday, reporting that 74 racing greyhounds died in Florida between May 31 and Dec. 31.
The report, titled “The Final Lap,” summarizes Greyhound Death Notifications that were obtained from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering. The state began requiring greyhound death reporting on May 21.
The Grey2K/ASPCA press release added: “I’m disappointed that Florida is one of only two states in the United States that doesn’t require greyhound injury reporting,” said Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood). “We must ensure that those who seek to benefit from racing greyhounds are held accountable for the neglect, poor treatment and abuse of these elegant animals. Greyhounds deserve to live healthy lives.”
Daytona Beach Kennel Club and Derby Lane reported 12 deaths each. Flagler (Magic City Casino) reported six and Palm Beach Kennel Club five. Mardi Gras had been racing for only one month. (The report didn't point out, because there isn't enough data, whether this time period was a particularly grim period, or whether this number of deaths is usual and prevailing.)
The release continued: “This report illustrates the urgent need for more stringent laws to protect greyhounds and prevent these unnecessary deaths in the future,” said Ann Church, vice president of state affairs for the ASPCA. “Greyhounds are gentle, loving dogs, and the ’sport‘ of dog racing is cruel, costly and quickly losing support nationwide.”
The groups also released a two-minute video titled “No Sunshine,” which contains footage from the final races of four greyhounds who died at Florida tracks in 2013.
Both dog racing owners and Grey2KUSA are encouraging the state legislature to "decouple" racing and gambling, meaning that racing would not be required in order to offer slots and pokers. Some horse racing and dog racing owners argue that decoupling would cripple their businesses, and others argue that decoupling would go against the spirit of the statewide slot referendum passed in 2004, with casinos being a way to help prop up ailing pari-mutuels.
To download “The Final Lap”, and to view “No Sunshine”, go to GREY2KUSA.org/FLdeaths.