A video released this week by Greyhound advocacy group Grey2K USA shows horrifying injuries incurred at the Tri-State Racetrack in Cross Lanes, West Virginia—highlighting the suffering of racing dogs across the United States.
“According to newly obtained state records, at least 3,208 greyhound injuries have been reported at this track since 2005, and nearly 200 dogs have died. Further, it’s likely that the actual number of injuries is even higher, as the state still refuses to produce several months of records,” Grey2K said in an email to supporters.
Grey2K Executive Director Carey Theil told West Virginia’s Charleston Daily Mail that "in terms of the raw number of injuries, this is the largest we have seen for a single track by far."
Though ASPCA racing specialist Ann Church called Tri-State Racetrack’s injury record “appalling,” she emphasized that the injuries were not at all uncommon. “This is what happens at all Greyhound racing tracks, and that is why we are making the end of racing a priority within the ASPCA.”
Shocking undercover video footage recently released by GREY2K USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending Greyhound racing nationwide, clearly depicts muzzled greyhounds confined to small, stacked cages in dark rooms for extended periods of time. The video, filmed in August 2010 at Arizona’s Tucson Greyhound Park, also confirms that the dogs are fed meat from diseased animals to reduce costs and are denied proper exercise and human interaction.
The Tucson Dog Protection Act, passed in 2008, mandates that dogs housed at Tucson Greyhound Park be let out of their cages for at least six hours per day and cannot be fed raw, diseased meat. The ASPCA has taken immediate action, demanding that the city of South Tucson ensure compliance with that law.
“As disturbing as this video is, it’s sadly not surprising,” says Ann Church, ASPCA Senior Director of Government Relations. “The footage only underscores what we already know: Greyhounds endure lives of terrible confinement. The ASPCA is grateful to GREY2K USA for capturing these inhumane conditions and raising awareness about the inherent cruelty of dog racing.”
In 2010, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire passed laws prohibiting Greyhound racing, and 25 Greyhound tracks have closed in the U.S. since 2001. The ASPCA urges Arizona legislators to follow suit and outlaw dog racing in their state.
“Greyhound racing is a dying industry nationwide,” says Church. “There is nothing entertaining about dog racing when you know that these animals are suffering.”
On Wednesday, April 14, the New Hampshire State Senate voted nearly unanimously to pass the Greyhound Protection Act (House Bill 630) to permanently ban the racing of Greyhounds in the Granite State. The bill had already passed the state’s House of Representatives in March, so it now goes to Governor John Lynch, who is expected to sign it into state law.
Thanks for this legislative victory are due in part to the New Hampshire-based members of the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, who sent 267 emails to their state senators urging support for the act, and to Senator Sheila Roberge, who took the Senate floor to tell the tragic story of Amber, a Greyhound who lost her life in a violent track accident. Amber was one of nearly 1,200 dogs injured while racing in New Hampshire between 2005 and 2008—these injuries included broken legs, paralysis, cardiac arrest and head trauma.
The ASPCA opposes dog racing, which is an inherently cruel form of entertainment. Racing dogs are confined for 20 hours or more a day in small cages, often wearing muzzles; they are bred excessively in the quest for good runners, with the “excess” puppies killed or otherwise discarded; they suffer from inhumane transportation as they’re shuttled from state to state for racing purposes; and they regularly endure serious and fatal injuries.
The nine states that have banned dog racing are: Maine (1993), Virginia (1995), Vermont (1995), Idaho (1996), Washington (1996), Nevada (1997), North Carolina (1998), Pennsylvania (2004) and Massachusetts (2008, effective 2010). For more information about the plight of racing Greyhounds, please visit ASPCA.org/dogracing.