Greyhound Decoupling Bill Would Save Lives and Money, Say Advocates

Categories: Animals

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Greyhound racing seems like something straight out of 1955 -- a track full of dudes in dapper hats all smoking cigarettes and bitching about their wives. It's over the hill; old school; a blast from the past (in a bad way -- like segregation).

The stats support racing's decline -- it's been outlawed in all but seven states (of which Florida is one) and tax revenue has decreased by 98 percent since 1990. Basically, it's jumped the shark. Yet, the practice still lingers, largely due to antiquated legislation that forces gambling establishments to continue if they want to offer other forms of gaming.

Enter greyhound decoupling, legislation that would end the dysfunctional relationship between dogs and slot machines. It's now on the table in Florida, and the The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) is urging people to show support.

See also: Bills to End Greyhound Racing Moving Forward Through State Legislature

If you're unfamiliar with the ins and outs of greyhound racing, it's an ugly business.

Thousands of greyhounds are bred for racing each year, but only a handful make it to the track, says ARFF Communications Director Don Anthony. The others are discarded, IE, killed (or "who knows what happens to them; it's all done behind closed doors," Anthony says).

Of those who do make the spotlight, they only race for an average of two years. Once they've outlived their profitability, they're discarded, too. Not to mention the dogs who succumb to devastating injuries from racing, including broken limbs, being pushed into electrical wires, collisions and heat stroke, among others.

Courtesy of ARFF
Rescue groups like South Florida's Friends of Greyhounds can only re-home a fraction of the dogs in need.

The decoupling legislation would allow tracks to decrease their race offerings while still maintaining slot machines and other, more profitable gaming options. More games, fewer dogs.

Racing doesn't reap profits for anyone -- even the state, Anthony says. Florida lost more than $3 million on greyhound racing last year. So why the hell are we still doing it?

"This is one of the very few times when animal advocates and greyhound track owners are on the same page. Everybody wants to cut the number of dog races. They want to make money, and we want to cut the tragedy of dog racing. The goal is the same."

ARFF is asking Miamians to contact State Senator Gwen Margolis via email ( or phone (850-487-5035) and urge her to vote for this bill. They offer the following example:

"Dear Senator Margolis, I am a resident of District 35. I am calling to ask you to please SUPPORT the decoupling of greyhound racing from other forms of gambling.This is a common sense proposal that will save greyhound lives."

The legislators are only in session for 60 days from March through May (workaholics), so time is short.

"If all of these things don't pass by the first week in May, when the legislative session ends, we'll have to wait for another full year before it can possibly be put on the legislative agenda again," Anthony says.

(There's also a bill that would require the state to keep track of racing injuries (which is already a requirement in every other state but Alabama), and ARFF urges support for that as well.)

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These people have absolutely no idea about the racing industry. The greyhounds are cared for and treated better than most general public dogs and cats. True there are injuries and a few bad ones; just LIKE every sport. WHY are all the injuries and deaths basically IGNORED in the human sports world. All these sports should also be banned just like they want to do with the racing industry. The greyhounds are doing what they were bred to do and LOVE to do. NO ONE makes them run. They do it because they want to run. The decoupling bill may cause the deaths of hundreds of greyhounds. PLEASE tell the senators to NOT pass the decoupling bill IF YOU LOVE THE GREYHOUND breed.

Alexander Fernandez
Alexander Fernandez

No PETA member am I but you're spot on. Let's get rid if this travesty once and for all.


The possibility of a greyhound sustaining an injury during a race is less than one-half of one percent. Greyhound racing is pretty safe.

Nothing happens "behind closed doors". Most kennels and breeding farms will allow visitors to come in and see how everything works.

The thought that only "a handful make it to the track" is absolutely incorrect. The ones that aren't fast enough and those and don't have an interest in the chase are adopted. All of them. Greyhounds retired from racing are either adopted, or returned to their registered owner. All of them.

Handle (the amount bet) and attendance are up this year in Florida. And as the economy continues to grow and improve, so will greyhound racing.


@ra144 This is profoundly incorrect: "The ones that aren't fast enough and those and don't have an interest in the chase are adopted. All of them." A bigger lie I have NEVER heard.


@ra144  If any of your nonsense was true, then tracks would be increasing the number of races. This legislation will not stop them. It will only stop FORCING them to run more races than they want. Capiche?

And of course not "all of them" are adopted, just as not all of the dogs in shelters are adopted.

You must make money off the dogs to manufacture this many lies! LOL


@yuktrude @ra144  If you have any evidence that healthy greyhounds are being euthanized then you should immediately notify the authorities. Otherwise, it sounds as if you're talking out of your a$$.


@fiberman3 @ra144  Honest, hardworking people don't need to lie. Animal rights extremists do.

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