The Sun Sets on Dog Racing in Florida

January 5, 2021


This month, a victory for animals secured two years ago finally went into effect. On Election Day 2018, voters in the state of Florida overwhelmingly cast their ballots in favor of ending Greyhound racing. The state’s 11 active dog tracks were given until December 31, 2020, to phase out operations. This means that as of this week, Greyhound racing in the Sunshine State is nothing but a shameful historical footnote.

Racing Greyhounds endure lives of near perpetual confinement, suffer severe injuries and often die on the tracks. They spend most of their lives in cages, being fed USDA-rejected meat and performance-enhancing drugs. At the time of the 2018 vote, an estimated 8,000 racing Greyhounds were captives at Florida tracks.

Organized dog racing hit its peak of popularity in the mid-1900s, but this industry’s fortunes have seen a dramatic decline over the past few decades. In some states, including Florida, dog racing’s continued existence has been made possible only through arcane, unfair gambling laws and government subsidies. Thanks to investigations and the dedicated work of animal advocacy groups like GREY2K USA, the dark side of this “sport” has been exposed and the public will no longer tolerate the atrocities routinely inflicted on its canine victims.

We thank our supporters in Florida who helped shut down their state’s Greyhound tracks and free the dogs, and we thank GREY2K USA and The Humane Society of the U.S. for their leadership during the 2018 ballot campaign. There are only a handful of active dog tracks (approximately five) left in the U.S., and it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to weather the effects of COVID-19 and resume normal operations in the future. This abhorrent industry, which has long been dying, may very well end for good in 2021.

If you’d like to get involved in passing laws that improve animals’ lives, please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade now and we’ll alert you when legislation is moving in your state!