|Greyhound Industry Spokesman Sam Burdette|
"It is the policy of the West Virginia Racing Commission to report instances of animal cruelty, mistreatment, neglect, abuse or abandonment to the appropriate local law enforcement authorities for possible criminal prosecution pursuant to West Virginia Code § 61-8-19."One would think that greyhound breeders would enthusiastically support this proposal. After all, they claim to have a zero tolerance policy for greyhound cruelty. Actions, however, speak louder than words. Rather than support this proposal, greyhound breeders from all over the country are flooding the West Virginia Racing Commission with comments against it. In a shocking display of self interest, greyhound breeders are arguing that the industry should be self-policed, and incidents of cruelty should not be referred to law enforcement.
This wrongheaded lobbying effort was started, in part, by dog race supporter Jan Vasquez. On Facebook Vasquez urged greyhound breeders from across the country to contact the Commission and oppose the policy:
"Flood the Commission with support from racing people for policing their own."Similarly, after GREY2K USA President and General Counsel Christine Dorchak testified in support of the policy, National Greyhound Association member Robert Gross posted a similar message:
"I commented that I was glad they brushed her off and sent her running back to Massachusetts."This dismissal of the Commission's proposed animal cruelty policy was then followed by a heinous personal attack on Dorchak by former greyhound trainer Don Conaster:
"Too bad she wasn't at the Boston Marathon!!"His hateful statement was posted only a few months after the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and injured hundreds of others. Dorchak is an avid runner and has competed in the Boston Marathon on seven occasions.
Sadly, this kind of neanderthal thinking about animal cruelty is common in the greyhound industry. Just last month, West Virginia Greyhound Breeders and Owners Association President Sam Burdette defended the actions of a trainer who lost his license due to greyhound abuse. When he was shown video footage of greyhound trainer Christopher Bever hitting dogs, Burdette said:
|Greyhound trainer Christopher Bever hitting dogs|
"He acted quick, and a little bit rough I thought, but I understand why he reacted so quick. You're showing the dog what you want the dog to do and that's the way you handle dogs and the only way you can handle dogs."This rationalization of greyhound cruelty is far outside the mainstream. By contrast, the Charleston Daily Mail Editorial Board spoke up for common sense when they wrote on July 12:
"Teachers, doctors and others are required by law to report suspected child abuse. The people who oversee horse and dog racing in the state should report any animal cruelty to local prosecutors."We can't let greyhound breeders get away with this. If you haven't already, please contact the West Virginia Racing Commission now and voice your support for the proposed animal cruelty policy. If enough people speak up for the dogs, we can win two victories. We can ensure the passage of a new greyhound protection. Meanwhile, greyhound breeders have already shown the world how they really view the dogs they claim to care for.