A Dying Industry
"Dog racing is dying throughout the country. It doesn't seem to make sense to open another track when it is a dying industry."
- Governor Terry Brandstad, Des Moines Register, February 26, 2014
"We're seeing a dying industry, and we are tired of supporting this industry."
Bo Guidry, Vice President and General Manager, Bluffs Run dog track, January 15, 2013
"If you look at the economics of the situation, any other business would have closed a long time ago."
- Dubuque, Iowa Mayor Roy Buol on the state of the dog racing industry, December 10, 2013
"Can greyhound racing by itself, stand-alone, survive? I don't believe so."
- Dan Adkins, Vice President for Mardi Gras Casinos, which owns two dog tracks, Charleston Gazette, September 4, 2013
"When it comes down to brass tacks it's about keeping costs as low as
- Racing supporter Tommy Lyons advising trainers on how to offset
dog racing losses, Irish Times, June 6, 2013
"That leaves a sad question lingering in the air: Which dog will be the last to die in a show that nobody's watching?"
- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Editorial, May 2, 2013
"The greyhound racing business is on its last legs .... The market for
racing is small, and the dogs themselves pay a high price for racing."
- Charleston Daily Mail, Editorial, February 21, 2013
“The only time there’s a large crowd of people watching dogs is when people get up from the poker tables to smoke.”
- Izzy Havenick, owner of two Florida dog tracks, 2012
"Dog racing is matter of fact dead."
- Jim Carney, lobbyist for Caesars Entertainment which owns Bluffs Run Greyhound Park, Des Moines Register, February 2, 2012
"We're going to keep on running. But I'm telling you, there's no money left in the racing. If you want to keep us going, you've got to give us the slots."
- Owner of Raynham Greyhound Park George Carney urges Massachusetts lawmakers to approve slot machines at his aging facility. Boston Globe, December 19, 2007
"It's the trend nationwide. It's very much what's happening across the country. There is less interest in greyhound racing than there used to be."
- Dog track spokesman David Calef justifying the suspension of live racing at Hinsdale Greyhound Park. Brattleboro Reformer, July 21, 2007
A Life of Confinement
“The dogs have become a commodity. They spend most of their time confined, apart from a little bit of exercise … it is a miserable life.”
David Neale, Animal Welfare Director at the Animals Asia Foundation, South China Morning Post, January 15, 2012
"When so many greyhounds are kept in close quarters, as they are throughout the racing industry, any disaster or disease will sicken, injure or kill many, or all of them."
- Editorial. Fort Myers News-Press, June 4, 2005
"When they come back in, they don't have to be coaxed into their cages. They jump right in."
- Greyhound trainer Steve Sarras. Boston Herald, October 31, 2000
"Many of the officials are known to be heavy gamblers … the stewards themselves have no formal qualifications."
- Dr. Ted Humphries, former member of the Greyhound Racing New South Wales, Australia, veterinarian advisory committee, ABC News, October 16, 2013
"The department does not have sufficient funding to regulate the parimutuel industry in a safe manner."
- Arizona Dept. of Racing Director Geoffrey Gonsher on the effect of awarding $44 million in tax breaks to state racetracks over six years. Arizona Daily Star, June 2, 2007
Drugs in the Dog Racing Industry
"Eighty per cent of greyhound trainers are looking for something to dope their dogs."
- Australian greyhound trainer Christos Arletos, ABC News, October 16, 2013
Subsidizing Dog Racing
"We know of no other type of business that receives subsidies like those awarded to the dog and horse racing industries."
- Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register, Editorial, February 23, 2013
"We need to stop propping up the greyhound racing industry and we need to let that industry stand or fall on its own."
- Florida State Representative Dana Young, WTSP Channel 10 TV News, January 17, 2012
"The reality would be that it is a bad business plan to subsidize something that has no long-term future."
- Iowa State Representative Kevin Koester, after voting for a bill to end greyhound racing subsidies, Des Moines Register, February 8, 2012
“Dog racing in Iowa has become a state-subsidized pastime, and it is probably just a matter of time before the state decides it has had enough.”
Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Editorial, February 8, 2012
"It's time to end the debate and get the state out of the dog-racing business. The state subsidy to the kennel owners cannot be defended."
-Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Almond. Providence Journal, February 24, 2002
"I've never heard of a commercial enterprise getting a limitless, endless subsidy of this kind."
-Common Cause of Rhode Island Executive Director H. Philip West, on a multi-million dollar subsidy greyhound kennels in Rhode Island received. This subsidy was derived from slot machine profits. Providence Journal, March 19, 2000
"How many businesses in Massachusetts get to charge off against the state ... to put up drapes or pave parking lots?"
-State Representative Daniel Bosley. Boston Herald, May 8, 2003
"We solidly support the budget amendment proposed by Rep. Reed V. Hillman, R-Sturbridge, to end Massachusetts' $5 million-a-year welfare program for private horse and dog racetracks. Even in the best of times, government subsidies for this moribund industry would be ill-considered."
-Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Editorial, February 7, 2003
"We say: Let the state's gambling industry, which rakes in well over $100 million a year, subsidize greyhound racing if it believes it is so important. Why should taxpayers be required to prop up such a profitable (and often cruel to animals) industry?"
-Providence Journal, Editorial, February 14, 2002
"If the Legislature makes one change to gaming laws this year, it should pass decoupling."
-Panama City News Herald, February 7, 2014
"Requiring facilities to offer racing that the public no longer supports doesn't make sense. Eliminating the requirement won't hurt anyone, but it will help greyhounds avoid a fate they don't deserve."
- Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Editorial, January 31, 2014
"Dogs should not be abused and kept running in so many races just to keep the card rooms operating. If they can't afford to do it right, the tracks should be shut down and their card rooms limited to the size and sites that exist today."
-Tampa Bay Times, Editorial, February 21, 2014
"We want the Legislature to pass a bill to remove the requirement that Horseshoe (Casino) continue
live greyhound racing. If it's not viable, they should not be required by the state to keep losing money."
- Council Bluffs Councilman Al Ringgenberg, The Daily Nonpareil, January 14, 2014
"The law should be changed, not necessarily to ban dog racing outright, but to allow the casinos to drop the fig leaf."
- Charleston Daily Mail, Editorial, February 21, 2013
Killing Unprofitable Dogs
"What I do; it's a matter of economics … I get the vet to come down here and euthanize the dogs."
- Phil Green, Greyhound Racing New Zealand Board Member, TV3 News, November 13, 2013
"We believe at present it is around 3,000 greyhounds a year that are euthanised [in New South Wales]." - Brent Hogan, CEO, Greyhound Racing NSW, Australia, November 9, 2012
"I don't know what purpose it serves the public to track the number of dogs that are euthanized."
-New Hampshire Pari-Mutuel Commission Director Paul Kelley. Fox 25, February 3, 2003
"This isn't an isolated instance of a 'rogue trainer,' as racing proponents put it; this is systematic disposal of and cruelty to the animals on which the entire dog racing industry depends."
-Mobile Register Editorial about the Robert Rhodes case, May 24, 2002
"We've seen this before ... they're overbreeding, because they're trying to get superdogs. These dogs were not unhealthy, just slow."
-Baldwin County District Attorney David Whetstone, after an Alabama man named Robert Rhodes admitted killing thousands of greyhounds for $10 each. New York Times, May 23, 2002
A Lack of Transparency
"The figures just don't exist and that's a problem with the system we had established."
- Jim Leach, CEO of Greyhound Racing New Zealand, acknowledging that the racing industry does not know how many greyhounds are killed, TV3 News, November 13, 2013
"I was obstructed almost from the start with Greyhound Racing. They simply did not want oversight."
- David Landa, former Auditor General of Greyhound Racing New South Wales, Australia, ABC News, October 16, 2013
"There's a lack of national published data so we don't have exact euthanasia figures to draw from. That's another problem with the industry, this lack of transparency."
- Dr. Jade Norris, RSPCA Scientific Officer, ABC News, October 16, 2013
"No cumulative annual records are available that we're aware of on disposition, whelped, where they race, where they end up, etc."
- Gary Guccione, Secretary-Treasurer of the National Greyhound Association, e-mail to a greyhound adoption advocate, November 16, 2011
"The greyhound industry seems to be rife with abuse of the rules."
-Iowa Assistant Attorney General Steve Reno. Dubuque Telegraph Herald, July 13, 2003
"They're cheating their investors ... they're going ahead with their meeting tomorrow, trying to squeeze out the other shareholders."
-Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, after Wonderland Greyhound Park Charles Sarkis and others attempted to take their company private in the expectation that slot machines would be legalized at their racetrack. Boston Herald, March 19, 2003
"You're showing the dog what you want the dog to do and that's the way you handle dogs and the only way you can handle dogs."
- Sam Burdette, President of the West Virginia Greyhound Breeders and Owners Association, defending greyhound abuse
"The greyhound industry is the most violent industry you could ever imagine. The conditions that the dogs live in are horrendous and the treatment that they get at the end of it is unbelievable."
- George Anderson, chairman Northern Ireland's Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary, June 28, 2013
"There is no other dog out there that has been through what a retired greyhound has been through. They don't know what being a pet is all about. They don't know how to use stairs; they've never seen windows; they're not used to being petted; they're used to having a job. It's like having a puppy that's full-grown."
- Hartford Courant, Emma Palmacci, Connecticut Greyhound Adoption, June 11, 2007
"A broken leg is like, we just look at it as like a three month injury; it's not the end of the end; it's no big deal."
- Greyhound trainer John O'Donnell, WBZ Radio, October 2008
Dog Racing and Community Values
"Greyhounds are very gentle animals, which makes it easy for the racing industry to take advantage of them, but like all animals, they deserve to be treated humanely."
- Ann Church, Vice President of State Affairs for the ASPCA, press release, September 4, 2013
"Animal welfare scandals, shonky management practices and allegations of criminal involvement have caused considerable community concern in recent years."
- John Kaye, Greens MP in New South Wales, Australia, Sydney Morning Herald, August 28, 2013
"Public attitudes to animal welfare have changed, and the greyhound industry cannot afford to continue to treat animals in the way they have done historically."
- Professor Elizabeth Synman-Van Deventer, Faculty of Law, University of the Free State. South African Gambling Review Report, 2011
Legalizing Slot Machines at Dog Tracks
"Animal racing was a fig leaf to mask the real goal - legalizing full-blown casino gambling, which the state has since done."
- Charleston Daily Mail, Editorial, February 21, 2013
"No track can survive without slots anyplace in the United States."
-Gary Piontkowski, track owner and former Massachusetts State Racing Commission Chairman, 2012
"Hopefully the Legislature and the Kansas Racing Commission will allow us to open the building and install slot machines... that's what we would like to do so that we could generate some revenue in order to subsidize live racing."
- Dog Track Owner Phil Ruffin. Pittsburg Morning Sun, February 26, 2004
"The demand for racing remains weak for various long-term reasons, and [legalizing gambling machines] does little to address the fundamentals ... what you've done is make a lot of casinos that happen to have animals running around in circles."
- University of Nevada, Reno Economics Professor Dr. William Eadington, speaking to the Racing and Gaming Summit. Daily Racing Form, December 18, 2002