FL—Dog Racing Decoupling & Injury Reporting
ASPCA Position: Support Decoupling and S.B. 742 and H.B. 933, mandated reporting of racing injuries.
Action Needed: Please call your state representative and state senator in the Florida Legislature to express your support for decoupling dog racing from other forms of gambling in the state of Florida and for mandated injury reporting.
The “sport” of dog racing is cruel, costly and collapsing all around the United States. Recognizing that the dog racing industry is fundamentally incapable of treating its Greyhounds humanely, many states have already banned this exploitive form of entertainment. In fact, Florida is one of only seven states in which dog racing still exists.
On February 19, 2014, Greyhound advocacy group GREY2K USA released a report (made possible through funding from the ASPCA) that exposes how deadly this so-called sport is for the dogs forced to race. During the last 7 months of 2013, 74 racing Greyhounds died: An average of one dog dying every three days. This information is new because 2013 was the first year that the State of Florida required deaths to be reported.
Untold numbers of dogs have died at Florida tracks over the years. They died from catastrophic injuries, illnesses, electrocution and heat stroke—all because they were forced into a life of racing when they should have been somebody’s pet.
With your help, we can eventually end dog racing in Florida, home to 12 dog racing tracks (the most in the U.S.!). Current state law requires businesses with gambling licenses to operate Greyhound tracks if they want to offer any manner of gambling. This forced union of two unrelated forms of gambling makes no sense and inflicts unnecessary cruelty on Greyhounds, who spend their racing lives confined, suffer terrible injuries, and often are killed once they are no longer profitable.
Once this mandate is removed through a process called “decoupling,” dog racing will be reduced substantially and thousands of dogs will be freed from constant confinement and suffering.
What You Can Do
Please call your state senator and state representative to discuss the problem of Greyhound racing in Florida. Your elected officials are not likely to act unless they know that this issue is important to voters.
The legislative session starts officially on March 4 and will only meet until May 2—we need you to begin getting involved now. Tell your state senator and rep of your support for decoupling and mandated injury reporting in your own words (you do not need to cite a bill number), or use these talking points:
- Florida is only one of 2 states that does not mandate that injuries to racing dogs be reported. We want that transparency, as it has led to fewer injuries and deaths in other states.
- Making dogs race in order to allow slot machines makes no sense. This forced union of two unrelated forms of gambling inflicts pain on the dogs and does not benefit the tracks. Businesses should not be forced to hold races when they lose money and the animals suffer.
- You oppose dogs being forced to spend about 20 hours each day confined to small cages where they receive inadequate veterinary care and substandard food.
- Greyhound racing is a dying industry. Since 2001, the dog racing industry has been cut in half with the number of states that conduct racing reduced from 15 to 7 and the number of tracks conducting racing also halved. More dog suffering is not going to save this industry.
Thank you for your help getting these gentle and loving dogs out of their cages, Florida.