Track Owners And Animal Shelters Prepare For The End Of Dog Racing In Florida – WUFT News


The gates open and lengthy legs stretch onto a dust observe. The greyhounds dash at over 40 mph towards the robotic rabbit main the pack, determined to be the primary to achieve it.

After a long time of canine racing at tracks throughout the state, they may cease chasing come Jan. 1.

That’s when Modification 13 takes impact in Florida. Handed with 69 p.c of the vote in a statewide election in 2018, the modification to the state structure prohibits wagering on stay canine races held in Florida and can ultimately force the closure of 11 racetracks.

Canine racing is now unlawful in 41 states – and the 2 remaining tracks in Florida will quickly have their final stay races. The last one at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg is about for Dec. 27, and the Palm Seashore Kennel Membership can have its remaining one on New 12 months’s Eve.

Isadore Havenick, 42, nonetheless fondly remembers the Flagler Canine Monitor in Miami. Like most racetracks in Florida, it was household owned and he principally grew up there. Havenick went usually to the observe as a baby, and years later, he walked the canine and even introduced a number of races.

“I’m an animal individual,” he mentioned as his mastiff named Kitty snored beside him, and a surprisingly quick tortoise sped round his home.

For 40 years, canine racing was his life.

“It was time,” Havenick mentioned in regards to the observe ending its stay racing in June 2018, 5 months earlier than the vote on Modification 13.

“Canine racing wasn’t doing in addition to different types of playing,” he mentioned.

Prior Florida legislation required companies to carry canine races with the intention to additionally present different types of playing. Havenick mentioned his household’s observe held over 400 races a yr to fulfill the requirement.

In 2017, the state’s enterprise {and professional} regulation division permitted West Flagler Associates, the group that operates Magic Metropolis On line casino and the Flagler Canine Monitor, to replace dog racing with jai alai and maintain their machines and poker tables.

The Sarasota Kennel Membership, like different tracks, opted for every day simulcasting to maintain its poker site working. In simulcasting, greyhound races throughout the nation are streamed for wagering.

After 90 years of stay racing, its final canine crossed the end line on Could 4, 2019. Since then, there’s been dialogue of the 24-acre observe turning into affordable housing.

The Orange Park Kennel Membership hosted its final live race on Dec. 5.

Grey2K, the worldwide anti-dog racing group, led the cost for Modification 13.

“Let’s not lose sight of the lots of of hundreds of canine that went by means of these tracks, that lived in cages, that got dangerous medicine, that suffered accidents and died,” mentioned Carey Theil, Grey2K’s govt director.

“I don’t know that there’s one other problem that actually united individuals on the left with individuals on the best, individuals from the panhandle with individuals from South Florida,” Theil mentioned.

Some say an unintended consequence of Modification 13 has been stopping an inflow of canine going to greyhound adoption companies and shelters. Every canine observe has anyplace from 500 to 1,000 canine, in keeping with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Nonetheless, tracks and breeders aren’t giving greyhounds to shelters who communicate negatively towards canine racing, in keeping with one shelter proprietor who is raring to seek out new houses for the canine and re-home them. He requested to stay nameless in order to not anger the observe homeowners and breeders.

Since 2013, 493 canine have died on racetracks nationwide, Kitty Block, president and CEO of The Humane Society, mentioned in a blog post. Of these canine, 94% had been three years or youthful. The canine often spend 20 to 23 hours of their day in crates, Block wrote.

Theil mentioned he was glad to see years of behind-the-scenes work repay in 2018.

“I feel it was a victory for everybody within the state who cares about canine,” Theil mentioned.


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