On July 29, 2022, Iowa greyhound breeder Jon Stidham was ordered to spend 15 months in prison, pay a fine of $7,500 and forfeit $527,510 in proceeds from illegal drug sales. Months earlier, he had pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally selling hundreds of thousands of doses of performance-enhancing drugs for greyhound racing dogs. Stidham, a longtime Board Member of the Iowa Greyhound Association, was convicted of conspiracy to deliver, distribute or dispense methyltestosterone, an anabolic steroid used by the greyhound racing industry as a way to suppress estrus and prevent a loss of race days. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to introduce misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with intent to defraud. Stidham also sold DIY medical kits as well as whips for use in breeding and racing kennels. Read more here.
There are no greyhound racetracks remaining in Iowa. The Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque, which announced its intention to close with the cessation of subsidies in 2022, held its last race on May 15, 2022.1
Greyhound racing in Iowa is regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission which enforces pari-mutuel wagering rules. In 2017, a total of $1,281,104 was wagered on live greyhound racing at Iowa’s Dubuque track, a decline of 41.7% from 2007.2
There were once thought to be as many as sixty greyhound farms in Iowa.3 These breeders historically received subsidies which have come from the state's gambling profits, amounting to almost $14 million annually.4 However, a $72 million casino buyout adopted in 2015 finally eliminated this subsidy arrangement, but called for “cessation” payments to industry participants. Approximately half of the buyout was allocated to breeders and trainers affected by the closure of Council Bluffs in December 2015. The other half was awarded for the continued operation of the Iowa Greyhound Park through the year 2022.5 Thankfully, a portion of the funds was also directed to assist with greyhound welfare and to promote adoption of dogs released from racing. In October 2021, greyhound breeders announced that racing would end on May 15, 2022 with the exhaustion of the subsidy program. Adoption groups stood ready to absorb the dogs.6