Question 3 volunteers Rally on the Boston Common (GREY2K USA Worldwide)
Massachusetts was the third state to authorize pari-mutuel wagering on greyhounds.1 Since its legalization in 1934, dog racing was opposed by anti-gambling activists who brought three ballot questions in the 1930's and 1940's to try and shut down the industry.2 Then in 2000, the all-volunteer Grey2K Committee was formed to ban dog racing for the greyhounds' sake. Unfortunately, the measure lost by a margin of 51% to 49% on that year's ballot.3 Not to be stopped, non-profit GREY2K USA was formed in 2001 and passed an injury reporting law for greyhounds in 2001.4 The resulting records would prove the cornerstone of all future efforts. Five years later, the Committee to Protect Dogs was formed by GREY2K USA, the Humane Society of the United States and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to support the Dog Protection Act of 2006.5 Unfortunately, the question did not reach the ballot until 2008.6 On November 4 of that year, Massachusetts citizens went to the polls and approved the Greyhound Protection Act by a margin of 56% to 44%. Question 3 passed in twelve of fourteen counties, and the Bay State became the first to prohibit dog racing by citizens' initiative.7
Learn more about dog racing in other U.S. states
Learn about dog racing around the world
Christian Science Monitor, “Three Bay State Dog Tracks Divide 200 Nights of Racing”, April 4, 1941.
Donald B. McCammond, “Bay state voters to act on liquor and racing,” Christian Science Monitor, October 24, 1946.
- Sean P. Murphy, “Dog racing foes again seek ban,” The Boston Globe, June 10, 2007, boston.com (accessed November 15, 2017).
- Mass. Chap. 139, “An Act Providing For Improvements to the Horse and Greyhound Racing Industry in the Commonwealth and the Regulation Thereof,” November 17, 2001, malegislature.gov (accessed November 15, 2017); Laura Krantz, “Group seeks to end greyhound racing worldwide,” The Metrowest Daily News, October 13, 2013, metrowestdailynews.com (accessed November 15, 2017).
- Sean P. Murphy, “Dog racing foes again seek ban,” The Boston Globe, June 10, 2007, boston.com (accessed April 2, 2014).
- The Committee to Protect Dogs. Yes on 3 Fact Sheet, Somerville: The Committee to Protect Dogs, 2008.
- Stephanie Ebbert, “Mass. Voters approve dog racing ban,” The Boston Globe, November 4, 2008, boston.com (accessed November 15, 2017).