The life of a racing Greyhound/ La vida de un Greyhound de carreras

Fact and Fiction -- Traducción al español ¡ próximamente!

Myth: "A Greyhound Dies On the Track Every Three Days... "

The out of state animal rights lobbying group claims 438 deaths of Florida greyhounds from May 31, 2013 through September 30, 2017.  That's 52 months or 4.333 years.  This equates to an average of 101 deaths per year.  One death every three days, according to them, would mean 122 per year, which by my calculation is a 20% overstatement.  What they don't say, because they don't know, is how many dogs were actually at tracks over this 52 month period, and how many may have passed due to natural causes.


Yes- these numbers include natural causes, however that is not readily shared by those with an agenda. Cancers, strokes, congenital issues making an appearance all have an impact on this statistic, convenient or not. 


We know that dogs come and go throughout the year as some retire and others begin their official careers, so the population at any given time of 8,000 dogs might be as many as 12,000 if the annual turnover rate were 50%, or 10,000 at 25%.


To be conservative, using the 8,000 figure and the average of 101 deaths per year, that’s a 1.26% mortality rate.  That percentage may drop to 1% or less if the actual number of dogs is higher.  


The 688 participants in the recent survey I circulated to greyhound pet owners reported 1,506 greyhounds resided in their homes in the year 2017.  Of those, there were 21 deaths reported for greyhound pets younger than 6 years of age, or 1.39%.  It is worth noting that the number does not discriminate between natural causes and racing accidents.


The survey also asked participants for the overall number of pet greyhounds they’ve ever had in their homes, and how many had died prior to reaching 6 years of age.  Out of 3,710 greyhounds, 167 died before age 6 - or 4.5%.


While the pet survey is anecdotal and not independently verified, I have no reason to believe the numbers reported are false.  


Clearly any fatality in a young greyhound is heart wrenching and, in many cases, preventable.  The tragedy is the refusal of the legislature to enact and by out-of-state animal rights groups to support the Greyhound Safety Act year after year, which contrary to what is said, does include injury reporting.

Myth: Racing Is Banned in 40 States

This is incorrect. Currently, Idaho is the only state which bans dog racing--any dog- even Dachshunds, as it turns out. The rest of the states do not allow wagering.

(source:   https://legislature.idaho.gov/statutesrules/idstat/Title54/T54CH25/SECT54-2514A/ )

Myth: The Dogs Are Drugged

Greyhounds are forbidden from having  ANY kind of substance in their system at the time of a race. Recently, there was a story out of Florida regarding the presence of cocaine metabolites in tested greyhound urine. While the origin of the contamination is unknown, it is likely incidental by way of contact with a contaminated individual, as the testing will detect even trace amounts. (source: https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/180401a.aspx)


An impartial Florida judge twice found these tests to be inadmissible based on the lack of adherence to proper collecting procedure (therefore exposing samples to the possibility of environmental  contamination, rendering all tests invalid:

(source:  http://floridapolitics.com/archives/252312-racing-dog-drug-testing)

Some of the most compelling evidence of tampering or contamination is in the lab values themselves- to achieve such values, the dog would need to be exposed to a particle 25,000x smaller than a grain of sand.


Recently, we in the Greyhound community were made aware that one of the urine samples which tested positive for cocaine metabolites was sent for additional testing at a California Veterinary School with the chain of custody undisturbed. A Meat ID test was run and this test showed no evidence of canine DNA. The Urine. Did. Not. Come. From. A Dog. 


Giving a dog stimulants would not give them an advantage- there are too many variables in a race, and the effects of the stimulant would wear off hours before the race. Why risk the health of your dog, or your livelihood for something so foolish? You wouldn't. 


This is what happens when a much more substantial dog is "injected with cocaine" as some have alleged Greyhounds are: 

(source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/philadelphia-kids-accused-of-injecting-dog-with-cocaine/)


And here: apparently cocaine intoxication in again, much more substantial dogs, is a highly researchable topic. "Injected cocaine," as some activists allege, causes convulsions and death in 42 minutes on average. (source: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/736704 )



Myth: The Dogs are Killed When They Can't Run Anymore

This is 2018, not 1970. Forty years ago, this may have been true for some places as higher numbers of Greyhounds were bred with a luke-warm adoption market at best. The average person was not aware of how wonderful Greyhounds could be as pets, succumbing to the false information that was spread about their capabilities as pets by members of the public. As late as 1982, citizens in Massachusetts campaigned against Greyhounds being allowed in public-- because they were "vicious animals," allegedly. Other issues with adoptions at the time were the legalities- in our quite litigious society, a racing owner could be held liable for the Greyhound's actions even after they were in an adoptive home. There were many individuals that adopted out Greyhounds as early as 1957; trainers, vets offices, and meet and greets were avenues for adoption. Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, FL was the first in the nation to start an official adoption program in 1982, and Seabrook Greyhound Park in NH followed close behind. Hundreds of Greyhound adoption programs have come into existence since. Read more history here:

(source: https://greytarticles.wordpress.com/adoptionrescue/early-greyhound-adoption-pioneers/")


Right now in 2018, some adoption groups have waiting lists; It is not common but also not unusual to see a "special" dog who was held  long-term by their trainer until a suitable placement could be found. 


Thousands of families every year find out that Greyhounds make excellent pets- most would describe it as a lifestyle. When just 7-8,000 Greyhounds are born every year, it leaves little to no wiggle room for even the craftiest of animal rights activists to substantiate their claims of thousands upon thousands killed. Indeed, the number born vs. the number at the track is different, and here is why: first, stillborn pups are counted as births. Second, Greyhound pups are not immune to being injured by their mothers, being born a little different, or having a medical condition not compatible with racing. Some others are found to have no interest in chasing and it is evident before going to the track. Adoption programs in close proximity to farms in the Midwest do see Greyhound pups, a year and under, and adopters line up for them. The likely reason "you never see a Greyhound puppy" is because they are snatched up quickly.


The National Greyhound Association has fantastic Facebook posts which depict dozens of Greyhounds each week leaving to different parts of the country to find their forever homes. The posts include pictures of the new retirees and thanks the dedicated group of trainers, kennel help, farm owners, adoption reps and Greyhound enthusiasts who take their time to help out. 

Myth: They Are Forced to Run!

 You can not force a Greyhound to run. Anyone who knows Greyhounds knows that the dog's desire to run or not is a personal choice. A dog that finishes eighth is just as satisfied as the winner; contrary to accusation, losing dogs are not punished-  there is no rhyme or reason to this- after all, even the best dogs lose races.  Also, we love our dogs. 

Myth: "The Dogs are Just Dollar Signs"

To whom? out-of-state animal rights organizations' payrolls and zero contributions to Greyhound adoption? 


As for the rest of us, not so fast. There are no statistics on this topic, and no way to quantify the love and respect between trainer and dog, but consider this example: When Hurricane Irma hit Florida, trainers were prepared for the worst. Faced with the logistical impossibility of evacuating their dogs in the heat and gridlocked highways, trainers stocked supplies, tightened up their kennels, sandbagged, and moved in with the dogs. They aren't dollar signs, friends, they are family.


Myth: The Dogs Eat RAW, diseased, rotten, 4D meat... and also starved.

Each trainer has their own recipe-Greyhounds are fed a mix of cooked chicken, pasta, veggies and high quality kibble with the other half of the mix consisting of meat labeled unfit for human consumption.  By law, slaughterhouses must put additives such as coloring or bits of charcoal to discourage human consumption. The food is very safe, as most meat products are, so long as the cold chain is not disrupted between slaughterhouse and kennel. 


 The FDA states that there is no evidence that the use of this meat poses any threat to the animals who eat it; many people who feed RAW to their pet dogs use this meat. 

( more here: https://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074712.htm )


The truth of the matter may lie in your own dog's food bowl. I try to avoid what-about-isms as much as possible, but if your dog food has "meat byproducts" in it, you are likely feeding deceased zoo animals, road kill and euthanized shelter animals to your pet-- and yes-- your pet food also contains the same "meat, unfit for human consumption."


https://www.reuters.com/article/products-smucker-co/smuckers-sued-over-alleged-euthanasia-drug-in-dog-food-idUSL1N1R11ZL


Finally, the idea of Greyhounds being starved for any reason defies logic. If a 70 lb dog eats 2.5 lbs of high-protein feed a day, you could equate that to feeding a 180 lb human approx. 6.42 lbs of high protein food each day. They have a name for that, its called an eating contest!

Myth: Greyhounds Have Bad Teeth Because of Neglect and Poor Diet

Greyhounds have one of the driest mouths of any dog; in other words, they do not drool or produce saliva at the rate others do.  Other dolichocephalic, or long-nosed breeds, are similarly susceptible to dental problems.


Greyhounds can develop poor dentition based on genetics alone, however the soft diet can be a contributor; plenty of fresh water and bones to chew on in the kennel seek to mitigate this problem. 


FACT: Should efforts by animal rights organizations succeed in ending greyhound racing in Florida 3,000 people will directly lose their jobs and another 7,000 may face job loss, lay off or go out of business. Aside from kennel employees: Feed and equipment suppliers, tellers, wait staff, janitors, transporters, leadouts, state officials, laboratory technicians, etc.  


A single kennel costs between $80,000-$100,000 per year to feed; keeping this in mind, it is unconscionable that out of state animal rights lobbyists and the authors of Prop 67 make no provisions for the care of displaced Greyhounds should the bill pass.

FACT: The state of Florida and the out of state animal rights group trying to end racing in Florida do not actually have any provisions for the care of the  8-10,000 Greyhounds that will lose their 'jobs' overnight. It is irresponsible at best to say that because  a couple of adoption groups said they would take dogs, that all  of the displaced Greyhounds would be absorbed quickly.  The adoption and racing communities will come together to care for the dogs, my question is what will you do? As the out-of-state animal right lobbyist group leaves the state will you adopt a greyhound or two? Will you donate to your local greyhound adoption group? So ask yourself a simple question: Why is a proposal written by a purported greyhound "welfare" organization contain no mention of greyhound welfare? Some legislators and activists have even brought up turning the Greyhounds over to local animal shelters. The state of Florida euthanizes hundreds of forgotten family pets every single day. Regardless of the good work shelters do (there is no denying that!), this is not a viable solution and not something we can support.


(http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/wildlife/pinellas-animal-shelters-will-share-statistics-in-effort-to-reduce/1261583)

(http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-broward-euthanasia-continues-20150424-story.html)

(https://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/animal-shelter-euthanasia-2/)


FACT: You are reading this because you are concerned about what you've heard about our Greyhounds. We genuinely Thank you for your concern. As animal lovers in the industry, we find it inexcusable that your concern and love for animals is exploited, and that your money is taken by groups who do nothing to help animals. There is no money to be made and no perks to be acquired by holding the public accountable for the 350 pets per day euthanized in Florida at the cost of hundreds of dollars each, or why the city of Los Angeles is euthanizing, as of 2012, 72,000 pit bulls every year. 


If you are reading this, the odds are pretty good that you have a kind heart and want to help animals. Allow me to suggest walking or cuddling those scared, attention-starved creatures at your local animal shelter, cleaning their cages, filling their water bowls. Volunteer to transport dogs out of high kill shelters to rescues. Foster. Adopt, if you can. Fund raise or collect food. Volunteer with low-cost spay/neuter clinics, or with trap-neuter-release programs for feral cats. That is where you are needed! Thanks for checking in, but we are doing fine. 


Which one is a racing greyhound? know your propaganda!

Nope. This is an AKC Greyhound. While beautiful, quite different.


No... es in Greyhound de AKC. 

Nope.. This is a Staghound.


The use of other breeds, or pictures from other countries either hints toward a lack of knowledge about Greyhounds or outright deception to the unknowing public, both of which are morally reprehensible.


A retired racing Greyhound. 



Nope. A Lurcher.

No, es un Lurcher.

Nope... A Spanish Galgo-- a breed which desperately needs help--- in Spain. Many in or around the Greyhound industry have adopted galgos or volunteered overseas with galgo rescue. 


We want to maintain a positive and educational tone to this site, however we find it important that the public critically examines information presented: to date, no animal rights groups have encouraged anyone to "see for themselves," but many trainers will bring curious people into their kennels to do just that.

Try again.. this is a whippet. 


Part of being an informed voter is being able to critically evaluate information given to you- but what if that information is incorrect, at best? A "Greyhound Person" can spot their breed from a mile away, but what about you? Lately, we've been seeing photos circulating of other breeds in terrible situations, in other countries even, being passed off as US racing Greyhounds. The voter, sadly, is often none the wiser.