Wednesday, June 18, 2014

NGA Tells Sheriff Not to File Charges, Instead Tries to Profit from Greyhound Neglect Case

A greyhound puppy at the Vonderstrasse
farm in Kansas, 2012
Last week the National Greyhound Association (NGA) announced it was revoking the membership of Shane Vonderstrasse, after an inspection at his Arkansas breeding facility found greyhounds "not receiving proper care and adequate shelter." The NGA is a lobby group that represents greyhound breeders.

In its statement, the NGA indicated that it was "accompanied by local law enforcement" agents during the inspection. It also quoted Executive Director Gary Guccione, who claimed this incident is proof the industry effectively polices itself:
"This was an unusual case that required NGA's immediate action and full attention ... NGA representatives and members responded to the situation swiftly and effectively." 
As usual, the NGA is only telling the public part of the story. The full truth is shocking, and proves that the NGA's top priority is protecting greyhound breeders, even those who have committed acts of serious animal neglect.

According to an official Incident Report from the Izard County Sheriff's Office, a large number of dogs were in distress when the Vonderstrasse inspection occurred. Citing a witness, the Report states:
"There was 141 dogs that were alive and 2 were deceased (sic) ... some of them had to be nursed back to health ... the dogs that were dead had died from lack of food and water. He said Mr. [redacted] only had financial ability and means to house 50 to 60 dogs."
NGA Executive Gary Guccione,
photo from Facebook, 2013
The report also indicates that Vonderstrasse had at least one previous incident involving animal welfare, and the NGA "had a problem with [name redacted] a short time back in Abilene concerning greyhound dogs and had to pick up a number of the dogs at that time." This previous incident has also been mentioned in recent industry discussions.

After the dogs were rescued, the Izard County Sheriff's Office asked the NGA if it wanted to press charges against Vonderstrasse:
"I asked [name redacted] if they wished for the state to press charges on [name redacted] for this incident. He told me I needed to talk with Gary Guccione [partially redacted] to see if they wished to press charges."
Incredibly, three days later the NGA responded by telling the Sheriff's Office not to charge Vonderstrasse with animal neglect:
"He stated that he did not wish to pursue charges because he believed they 'got all they were going to get' from [name redacted]. [name redacted] also said he would not be willing to come to Izard County to testify in Court."
As outrageous as that admission is, the next revelation in the Incident Report is even more troubling:
After being rescued, Lady Wire and her four young
puppies are being auctioned off on Friday
"He also stated he did not want people knowing that he was not willing to do so."
Unfortunately, this story has one more sad chapter. After being rescued, some of the Vonderstrasse dogs were given to adoption groups. But at least 23 dogs from the case are being auctioned off to the highest bidder by the NGA on Friday. The auction list includes a nine-year-old fawn greyhound named Gable Eris. Three years ago she was sold to Vonderstrasse for a mere $400, and after everything she has been through she deserves a break.

But there will be no retirement for Gable Eris if the NGA gets its way. She is on the auction block so the industry can make a few more dollars off of her sad life. She is joined by seven other female greyhounds to be used for breeding, including an eight-year-old red fawn greyhound named Lady Wire. Lady Wire is being auctioned off with four young puppies that are only a few weeks old. Her puppies were born nine days after Lady Wire was removed from the Vonderstrasse farm.

Enough is enough. The NGA should be seen for what it actually is: a lobby group that covers up for greyhound breeders, and prevents them from being held accountable for their actions. It puts out press releases, while at the same time actively enabling greyhound cruelty and neglect.


  1. I am disgusted with The NGA. Who are these people REALLY. Just another group wanting to profit from the abuse of animals. Another DIME should not be donated to this group. They're all good-for-nothing thieves.

    1. The NGA is a registry, not a lobby group. Who are you ignorant people? Especially this Carey Theil?

    2. Actually Garu, you are the one who is misinformed. The NGA is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)6 trade association. The IRS regulations define this, in part, as "an association of persons with a common business interest." Many 501(c)6 organizations, including the NGA, are heavily involved in lobbying efforts.

  2. Feel free to tell the NGA how you feel about this auction on their facebook page where they advertise the dogs

  3. I am horrified! What can be done? We need to stop ALL greyhound abuse!

  4. Not mentioned above is this item that came out when the initial seizure of dogs was made in May:

    1. The Arkansas Times is the only media outlet in the state that has consistently covered greyhound welfare issues. We are grateful for their good reporting!

  5. Would someone start a PETITON, PLEASE!!!!! This is too much, they were clearly bribed and need to be exposed AND punished! There has to be some consequence to this!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Are these dogs not covered under animal cruelty laws? They should be.

  7. I left a message on the NGA FB page - everyone needs to do that. This is what I wrote:
    Stop the auction of the Shane Vonderstrasse dogs in Izard County, Arkansas - It is bad enough NGA/Gary Guccione refused to direct the Sheriff to press charges, but to profit from the sale of these neglected dogs is reprehensible. Gable Eris and the other dogs should go to adoptive homes or sanctuaries where they can live out their years. SHAME ON NGA!!

  8. Amazing how we, as humans, can continue to think of endless ways to be cruel. It makes me sick to read this, but it comes as no surprise. This will not stop until it is no longer a viable legal way to make money.

  9. Just sent NGA an email telling them what I think of their organization, their official who chose to turn a blind eye and every other putrid greyhound organization around the World who puts greed way ahead of animal welfare. Disgusting organizations they all are!

  10. Disgusting that the owner was not charged. Sad to think that the poor dogs who went through that are now going to be auctioned to whomever has the money. The bitches mentioned in the article have been bred enough.

  11. I am so did disusted by this whole thing!!! Isn't there anything that can be done??? I thought we were done with this appalling sport ( and I don't even like calling it that!)At least we are in Massachusetts. I would help with anything that coauld be done. This makes me sick and I can only hope that these monsters get the sane treatment some day.

    I would foster one of if I could Anything to get them out of there!!!