Thursday, June 27, 2013

Greyhounds Win Victories, but the Best is Yet to Come

Rescued greyhound Flak living the good life in Texas.
Across the country state legislatures are adjourning, ending what has been the best session for greyhounds in at least three years. Several states passed important greyhound protection laws, while others rejected attempts to prop up the cruelty of dog racing.
  • Proposals to revive greyhound racing were rejected in Texas and Kansas, while a bill to encourage the legalization of dog racing in Hawaii was defeated.
  • Lawmakers defeated a bill that would have required the Texas Racing Commission, a regulatory agency, to promote greyhound racing.
Each of these victories is important. Taken together, they reflect a growing consensus that greyhound cruelty is a serious issue that deserves legislative attention. They also suggest that the dog racing industry, which was once a legislative force to be reckoned with, has lost much of its influence.

GREY2K USA was actively involved in every one of these efforts. We joined other animal protection groups, grassroots volunteers, state regulators, and compassionate lawmakers to make sure that the greyhounds were given a voice. In fact, this legislative session is a textbook case of how we approach our work as a non-profit greyhound protection organization.

First, we extensively research greyhound racing until we know the industry better than it knows itself. Second, we collaborate with other humane organizations and grassroots volunteers. Finally, the coalitions we form engage in the public arena and call for positive changes to help greyhounds.

This recipe for success works, and our victories this year bode well for future greyhound protection campaigns. As Frank Sinatra once sang, the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Greyhound Trainer Who Denied Treatment to Injured Dog Should be Charged With Animal Cruelty

Earlier this month, the Charleston Daily Mail reported that assistant greyhound trainer James Grace had his state license revoked after a greyhound named Kiowa Dutch Girl suffered a broken leg and was denied veterinary care. The newspaper's story was based in part on information from GREY2K USA.

We are grateful that the Daily Mail shed light on this case, and also that the West Virginia Racing Commission took action against Grace and another individual. However, this should not be the end of the story. After examining the full case file, it's clear that Grace should also be charged under the state law against cruelty to animals.

In a sworn statement to state regulators, Grace admitted that he made the decision to not provide Dutch Girl with veterinary care. Incredibly, he tried to rationalize his poor choice by claiming that he was doing the best thing for Dutch Girl, and said that he has seen many other injured greyhounds be denied treatment:
"I know the dog owner, Kay Smith who owns a lot of dogs, and Bob Mackey the kennel owner, or the GPA wouldn't pay for the surgery ... I've been working with greyhounds for 35 years and I've seen many breaks over the years where dogs were not taken to the vet and they healed naturally and given away as pets."
Meanwhile, Dutch Girl suffered for at least three days before state officials intervened. According to a sworn statement from a witness:
"The whole rear (right) leg was swollen, she couldn't even get out of the cage. I had to lift her up and carry her out to go to the bathroom, and when her leg touched the floor she cried, and she was constantly panting as if she was exhausted."
West Virginia law states that it is illegal to intentionally withhold "medical treatment, necessary to sustain normal health and fitness or to end the suffering of any animal." In the coming weeks, we will encourage the proper authorities to investigate this case and take further action. All individuals who willfully neglect greyhounds must be held accountable in a court of law.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What Will Greyhound Race Promoters Say Next?

For years, greyhound breeders have personally attacked GREY2K USA and our supporters. These attacks are an intentional strategy designed to protect the cruelty of greyhound racing. One of the top supporters of the dog race industry, Rory Goree, admitted this last year when he wrote:
"Keep pressing grey2k - force them into defense mode - do not allow them to play offense. Make them spend time and resources defending themselves instead of attacking the industry."
Thankfully, this cynical strategy is having absolutely no impact. While greyhound breeders spend all of their time attacking us, dog racing continues to decline. Gambling on greyhound races has now dropped for nineteen consecutive years.

That is why, most of the time, we simply ignore this nonsense. Dog race promoters can attack us all they want, while we stay focused on the task at hand. I also suspect that greyhound breeders believe they can somehow intimidate us with these caveman tactics. But instead, these personal attacks only inspire us to work even harder for the dogs.

Once in awhile, though, it's worth taking a moment to diffuse some of the most egregious lies that dog race promoters spread about GREY2K USA and our work.  For example, in recent days greyhound breeders have been circulating a phony chart which claims that GREY2K USA's two founders receive as much as 42% of all expenditures in compensation.

There is, however, one problem with this claim. It is completely false.

To arrive at these phony figures, greyhound breeders magically invented hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenditures that don't exist. Specifically, they nearly doubled salaries for every year over a six-year period by including statements that were filed with the Massachusetts Secretary of State, Lobbyist Division. Because GREY2K USA fights for greyhound protection laws, we are required in some states to register as lobbyists. Some of these states also require that we report part of our salaries. These are not additional expenditures, they are the same expenditures that we publicly report every year. To arrive at their phony figures greyhound breeders pretended as if these were additional expenditures, which is simply a lie.

But their deception doesn't stop there. After creating these phony expenditure figures, they began to circulate them on the internet with sensational messages like:
"WOW! They are the ultimate greyhound profiteers!!!"
Of course it's deeply ironic that attacks like this, based on made-up phony numbers, would come from people who actually do profit from the suffering of greyhounds.

Here are the facts.
  • GREY2K USA leadership earns a salary that is less than half the median salary for small non-profit Chief Executive Officers.
  • In 2011 our opponents, the National Greyhound Association, spent $346,854 on salaries on benefits. That is more than double what GREY2K USA spent during the same period.
The bottom line is that we are an efficient, effective non-profit organization that is winning the fight over dog racing despite being heavily outspent.

These dog race promoters can make up all the phony numbers they want, and attack us until the greyhounds come home. It will have no effect on our campaigns, and will not save their cruel industry. These personal attacks should be seen for exactly what they are: the last gasps of a dying industry that doesn't realize its fate is already sealed.