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Greyhound Racing in Florida will end soon. What will happen to thousands of hounds?

From Nathan Parrow (not Richard Bennet) of Southern Cody Design (I was given permission to share)

“Why it matters to know what you’re voting for.

Last night the voters of Florida chose to “protect the dogs” by passing a constitutional amendment to put an end to greyhound racing in the state of Florida. And for the majority of people in Florida that’s where your education on the subject began & end. Here’s what you didn’t know – nowhere in this amendment was any provision to actually take care of the dogs. Now nearly 8,000 greyhounds will be displaced as early as this coming January, and no later than 2020, with no plans whatsoever in place.

Adoption groups operate on a shoe-string budget as it is. Every once in a while, you get those people that think adoption groups are in this for the money. Those of us that work in adoption know this is such a joke because of all that goes into taking care of these hounds. The adoption group we belong to has a $250 adoption fee. This covers the dogs getting updated on their shots, their spay/neuter, dentals, etc. On top of that we supply leashes, collars, and muzzles. Then of course there is food and heart worm preventative. How long a dog will be with a group is anyone’s guess. We’ve had dogs go in a week, others that have taken a year (or more) to get adopted. In that time we’re feeding the hounds, giving them heartworm meds, washing bedding, providing shelter for them, and all the other routine things that go into taking care of a pet. So that’s money on laundry detergent, money for cleaning supplies, money for water/heat/electric, and so on. I know other adoption groups whose vetting costs exceed $250 per dog. Others may get a better rate than others, but it’s safe to assume on average a vetting is going to cost around $250.

In the course of the next year there will be 8,000 active racing greyhounds that need to find homes. This isn’t including those on the farm or in training right now that were bound for Florida. You need to truly understand the scope of this situation. Using those averages from above we are looking at the following for those 8,000 dogs:

Vetting (average of $250/hound) $2,000,000
Food (for 1 month/hound) – $640,000
Transport (average of $50/hound) – $400,000

Just to get the dogs to the adoption groups, get them their vetting, and feed them for a month is going to cost upwards of $3,000,000. Want to low ball it? Okay. Let’s say vetting is only $200, transport is $25, and you’re only spending $10/week to feed each hound (good luck on that!). You’re still talking nearly $1.9 million dollars to get these hounds taken care of.

I would consider the adoption group we belong with to be one of the larger ones. We adopt between 100-150 greyhounds a year. That might not seem like much, but in the greyhound world it is. This is in no way boasting – we’re blessed to have a far-reaching volunteer base. A majority of groups are small, close-knit groups composed of a few very hard-working individuals. Those groups may only be able to take 5-10 hounds at a time. Over 100 greyhound adoption groups came out against this amendment passing. Naturally there are groups out there that are opposed to racing, and others that continue to remain neutral on the subject. I honestly don’t even know how many adoption groups are currently active in the united states. Even if there were 300 groups out there, which I seriously doubt there are, you’re asking all of those groups to take on 25-30 dogs each and coming up with over $10,000 to take care of the dogs. And don’t forget that dogs will still be retiring from the other tracks located in the U.S. while all this is going on.

For all of you that were angry with adoption groups siding with the racing community, for all of you who cried out for the end to this “cruel industry”, where are you going to be 2 months from now? Are you going to be donating your time? Your money? Opening your home to fostering? Or are you going to do what all those in Florida did – feel good about yourself for a few hours and then turn your back on the community just like Grey2K, the Humane Society, ASPCA, PETA, and all the other so-called animal rights groups do?

I know a lot of our friends are freaking out right now. Me? Not so much. Why? Because we’re going to do what we always do. Find a way to get the job done on our own. Because we are the ones that truly care about these dogs. We’re the ones that have sacrificed our time and money. We’re the ones that give up entire weekends to do a couple adoptions, or go help clean the kennel. We’re the ones that have driven hundreds and hundreds of miles to transport hounds. In the end we will be the ones to come through for them.

For those there that can’t adopt or foster, know how invaluable donating your time is for adoption groups. Even if it’s holding a leash at a meet & greet, helping transport hounds, donating money or cleaning supplies – it all matters. Tracks have gotten closed in short order in the past, but nothing on this scale has ever happened before. We will need help.

Right now I’m emotionally exhausted like everyone else. I’m done with my rant. Thank you to everyone out there that has given so much in the past few months to fight this nightmare. I don’t know what tomorrow or next week holds, but know we will be here to help in any way we can, and we will get the job done.”

About Marcia Herman

I have been obsessed with retired racing greyhounds since 1980 when we started acquiring our first three greyhounds via word of mouth before adoption groups actually existed. After doing all manner of greyhound activity for 16 years, The Greyhound Project asked me to create a magazine for greyhound adopters and groups which I eagerly did. When life got in the way for nine years and I didn't do much in the greyhound world, I decided to start Greyhound Articles Online in 2010 which is self-explanatory. It still exists. Now I've decided to post musings and recollections about a fascinating life in greyhounds. Greyhound folks might like to read musings of a longtime fan of retired racing greyhounds. If not, I will have fun recollecting 40 years of musings.


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