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Public Awareness

"Until man extends the circle of his compassion to all living things,
man will not himself find peace..."
Albert Schweitzer

The Myth of Neutrality.
by Melani Nardone.

Neu-tral-i-ty (n) The state or policy of nonalignment with, support or favour of either side in a dispute, war or contest.
In my travels, I have found that most groups active in Greyhound rescue and adoption who refer to themselves as "neutral" on the subject of greyhound racing are anything but. These groups may have begun with noble intentions, but can no longer be considered neutral, for their practices clearly favour and promote dog racing.
Historically, groups that chose neutrality did so for a variety of reasons, including a fundamental belief in the basic premise that there is an ongoing controversy that demands they take sides. For reasons that seem unfathomable to me and the majority of the thinking public, neutral Greyhound adoption groups believe that dog racing, an activity responsible for decades of documented animal suffering, exploitation and death, is controversial, rather than patently wrong. What could possibly influence an animal welfare group to adopt such a disturbing and dangerous ethical position in light of such overwhelming evidence? The same sociological factors that shape an individual and/or group in the development of any belief:

• Occupying the mythical middle ground will enable one to maintain a friendship with everyone.
• A preoccupation with a desire to please, and/or discomfort with peer/social disapproval.
• Denial that abuse takes place because the person/group is not aware of the existing evidence, or is aware and cannot cope with the responsibilities associated with defence of a position.
• Someone who has a vested financial or other interest in misguiding or lying to followers.
• Fear of reprisal if one were to tell the truth or complain about the poor physical condition of Greyhounds they receive for adoption.
• Fear of taking a stance against an opponent thought to be more powerful, i.e., "I'm not the soapbox type."
• Rationalization that whatever is being done is better than nothing.
• Perceived lack of empowerment to effect change.
• Naïveté about the exploitation and disposition of animals used by man/woman for his/her economic benefit.
• Undeveloped empathetic abilities.

To understand how such forces could determine a group's ideology, let's take for example the organization and running of a hypothetical non-profit Greyhound adoption group, "Mounds of Hounds" (MOH).
MOH is founded by two individuals, Ms. X and Ms. Y, one of whom adopted her first Greyhound from a local adoption group; the other adopted her greyhound from a track adoption program while living in another state. Both adopters agree they need to start up a rescue group in order to deal with the volume of Greyhounds grading off from the local dog track. Both founders have some inkling that some Greyhounds die every year, but no knowledge or documentation of "all this abuse people speak of." It makes them uncomfortable to even talk about it, so they don't. They form a board of directors that consists of five individuals. Our two founders, plus a former member of the racing industry who claims to have never put down a dog unless he had to, a dog-loving volunteer from a local shelter and an individual who inherited his Greyhound from a relative who died years ago. The board member who once raced his dogs frequently emphasizes to the other board members how important it is to not get involved in the "politics" of Greyhound racing. After all, he stresses, "we're only interested in placing retired racers aren't we? Let's keep our opinions to ourselves." Several board members concur, concerned that they may not be able to get dogs if they speak out against racing. One board member sums up the majority opinion as "catching more flies with honey than with vinegar." The shelter volunteer, a Ms. Z, does not agree and expresses concern that this philosophy may be deceptive to the public. A vote is taken and the board decides to incorporate into its bylaws, a statement that the group is neutral and that no volunteer shall be allowed to dwell upon any negative or unsavoury aspects of Greyhound racing.
They draft an adoption application, guidelines and lots of rules. They soon file for their non-profit status and decide that one of the board members' homes will be the future site of the adoption kennel, "Grounds For Mounds of Hounds."
Within three months, Ms. Z grows increasingly impatient with the board members who will not allow her to distribute pamphlets at tabling events that contain greyhound death statistics. She confronts the board at a meeting but feels intimidated by the other members who accuse her of sounding "extremist." Ms. Z resigns in a huff. She is replaced by a woman, Mrs. T, who only recently adopted a Greyhound from MOH, but who has had Greyhounds for years. Mrs. T adopted all of her previous Greyhounds from a local, rival group that she once was quite friendly with, but now openly criticizes. The board enthusiastically allows Mrs. T to handle all the public relations for the group.
The business of adoption proves rigorous and time consuming for MOH. Volunteers come and go, but the core group grows and does well, averaging the placement of 4-5 greyhounds a week. The local track allows MOH to come and pick out the dogs they want from a holding pen once a month and reimburses the group for travelling expenses. MOH befriends several racing kennels who give them the small, young, female dogs they can place easily.
Each new zealous adopter is encouraged to volunteer for the group, and many do. Most of the new volunteers do not know that MOH considers itself neutral. Those that do know about the group's position dismiss it as "not important, in light of all the good work they do." Hundreds of new adopters are not told the facts about Greyhound racing and know nothing about what goes on behind the scenes in the industry. The local town's folk speak well of the group.
Local papers do articles about the group's success in placing "all their Greyhounds." In early newspaper articles, much of the emphasis tends to be on what wonderful pets greyhounds make. If reporters ask about rumoured abuse, the group alleges they know nothing about it and have never witnessed anyone abusing a Greyhound. As the years pass, an increasing number of print articles and letters to the editor appear in the town's paper about how the racing industry is cleaning up its act.
Like the place mat in the diner that invites people to name what's wrong with this picture, most people can easily spot the situations and relationships within this fictional greyhound adoption group that could reinforce a "neutral" position. But is such a group really neutral, or should it realistically be referred to as supportive of racing? It's time that everyone involved in Greyhound rescue and adoptions consider the ramifications of their policies. The ethical consequences of a neutral position are far reaching and inevitably contribute to the continued suffering and destruction of this gentle, wonderful dog.
One can start being an advocate by merely telling the truth.

by Melani Nardone.

REGAP would like to thank Ms. Nardone of the Greyhound Welfare Foundation and Greyhound Protection League for providing the second part of this thought provoking essay. In part 1, the Myth of Neutrality (Fall/Winter 1998), the author discussed the possible reasons why a group might believe it beneficial to label itself neutral on the subject of dog racing despite the existing evidence that dog racing is inhumane. In the second of this two part series, Ms. Nardone points out the inherent dangers of assuming that a neutral philosophical position is benign.
Many greyhound advocates consider the definition of the phrase "neutral adoption group" an enigma, for they know there is no real neutrality going on: behaviour clearly favors dog racing or it does not. The average person unfamiliar with what goes on behind the scenes in greyhound racing however may genuinely wonder what the fuss is all about. After all, who cares what a group's philosophy may be as long as they're still accomplishing something worthwhile by saving greyhound lives, right?
While it may be true that any sincere effort made by any group to find homes for unwanted Greyhounds is admirable, neutral adoption groups undermine all their good work by passively and/or actively assisting an industry responsible for the immense suffering and destruction of greyhounds by either innocently or purposely engaging in the following behaviour:
Neutral groups are likely to perpetuate myths to the public that have no basis in truth or refrain from giving any information at all. The result? The public has no way of knowing that there is anything wrong with dog racing, or that there is anything we can do to stop/prevent it.
An example would be telling adopters that all greyhounds are "well-taken care of" when Greyhounds continue to come to most adoption groups with signs of both physiological and psychological neglect. Rescued Greyhounds are frequently loaded with ticks and fleas, worms, have ill-kempt coats, often have gum and tooth disease, a multitude of scars and more serious conditions such as the presence of tick borne diseases and broken limbs. Behaviourally, Greyhounds tend to be socialized to a limited range of experiences and exhibit behaviour indicative of having been live lure trained. Many adopters unwittingly bear the burden of responsibility by putting in the extra time and effort to both socialize the dogs, as well as guard against their predilection to kill perceived prey animals.
Another misconception is telling the public that the numbers of greyhounds being killed yearly has been drastically reduced by an industry that places animal welfare concerns above all else. In this instance, neutral adoption groups reiterate racing industry propaganda that is designed to convince the public that they have sincerely changed their ways.
The truth is, animal welfare concerns could never supersede the economic bottom line if greyhound racing is to exist. Disposition figures have been declining yearly due to a number of other factors-primarily competition from an increase in alternate forms of gaming such as casinos and economic pressures forcing many breeders and dog-men out of the business. Though there are industry people who do care about the disposition of their dogs, such an attitude is not the norm and there are not enough of these people to make a difference. The economic bottom line insists that they too eventually cooperate or get out of the business.
The sin of omission - Not giving the public any information whatsoever about why there is a need to rescue and adopt out Greyhounds suggests that the problem of dog racing is manageable. When groups give the message that they are only concerned with adoption (and all else is well), the public is likewise convinced that dog racing is a reality we must live with.
Groups taking a neutral position on racing is caused and prolonged by the acceptance of dogs, goods or services from industry members in exchange for silence or for helping to spread industry propaganda. The cycle of misinformation and rationalization continues while the industry survives on this assistance.
There are some adoption groups who take money/dogs/benefits from certain Greyhound racing industry members and then feel obligated to not speak out about industry abuses for fear of losing these "resources." Especially prevalent is the fear that certain industry members will no longer "give them dogs" if they speak out against racing (what does this say about an industry who would rather see the dogs die than give them to adoption groups?). Such groups are scared into a vicious silence = compliance = reliance cycle. Some groups believe they cannot change the system and do not feel empowered enough to even try. Others have come to rely on other benefits they derive from the industry and decide that silence is not such a bad "trade off," rationalizing that at least they are able to save some dogs by their silence.
No one is thinking about the big picture.
This bartering of silence for dogs, or goods for propaganda constitutes a form of free public relations for the Greyhound racing industry and tends to deceive the public. This behaviour serves to encourage the breeding (and eventual death) of more unwanted greyhounds.
The ramifications of neutrality are far from benign. Particularly in those areas of the country where there are no other Greyhound adoption groups that oppose racing or who are educating the public, the resultant humane awareness quotient remains devastatingly low.
If, in addition to saving the dogs that need saving, neutral adoption groups are simultaneously working toward further establishment and legitimisation of dog racing in our society, then they are on a dangerous treadmill, sabotaging their own efforts in the long run and ensuring the future breeding/destruction cycle of Greyhounds. If for every life that is saved, we watch helplessly as another is lost, the cycle will never be broken. A commitment must be made so that both a meaningful service is rendered to the Greyhounds and no compromise of ethical principles takes place. The goal of any responsible rescue organization should be to address and eradicate the need for the group's existence.

Greyhound Breeders Use Adoption as a Weapon in Bid to Save Cruel Dog Racing
In state legislatures across the country, bills to reduce or eliminate greyhound racing are moving forward. This is wonderful news for greyhound advocates, and is further proof that the end of dog racing is inevitable.

This positive momentum, however, has once again caused greyhound breeders to resort to the worst kind of scorched-earth tactics. The most egregious example of their desperation is from Iowa, where dog racing supporters are now telling people not to adopt greyhounds from any organization that speaks up for the dogs.

In the current edition of its newsletter, the Iowa Greyhound Association (IGA) published a rambling, full-page diatribe urging greyhound adopters to support the continuation of the industry. This is not surprising, because the IGA represents greyhound breeders. They have a direct financial interest in defeating the common sense legislation now pending in the Hawkeye State, which would both end greyhound racing and eliminate millions in annual subsidies dog racing supporters now receive.

What is shocking, however, is the means that greyhound breeders are using to try to preserve their multi-million dollar subsidy. To start with, the IGA tries to use the personal connection greyhound adopters have with the dogs they have rescued to perpetuate the cruelty of greyhound racing:

"Look at your pet. Now look ahead to the future and your current pet is gone. You want another greyhound. But all there are to choose from are AKC registered greyhounds and they are like $2,000 for a puppy! They still have some racing in Ireland and Australia, but whoa ... JetPets is expensive."

I suppose if this were a television drama, we would be seeing dark storm clouds and listening to dramatic music just about now. Continuing with the IGA sales pitch
"You also loved to buy your heart hound collars for the holidays, a nice bed and a comfy coat. You loved buying all things greyhound. You loved the discussion groups, even though the fighting got to you once in a while. And shopping at Dewey Beach! That was the greatest vacation ... ever. Now it is all over. The tracks are gone ... the farms are gone. All the adoption groups are gone."

After all this emotional nonsense, the IGA then tries to close the deal:
"This is reality. This IS the way it will be if YOU make bad choices. Don't be a sheep."

Finally, the IGA makes the most shocking statement of all:
"Do not adopt from groups who are against the industry."

For decades, greyhound breeders have used these dogs for their own personal financial gain. For most of the industry's existence, they simply killed the dogs when they were no longer profitable. In recent years they have started to pawn dogs off on adoption groups, allowing the dogs to find homes and have a second life. This is certainly an improvement, but does not address the underlying problems in the industry, including the cruel housing system the industry uses and the large number of dogs that are injured while racing.

Now, the same greyhound breeders who have asked adoption groups to clean up after them want the rescue community to be thankful. Even worse, they want to cut off adoptions by any group that has the courage to speak up for the dogs. This manipulative behavior should not come as a surprise, but is shocking nonetheless. This political tactic could directly result in greyhounds not being adopted, an outcome that is apparently not important to the IGA.

Dog racing is cruel and inhumane, and is going to end. When it does, thousands of greyhounds will no longer endure lives of confinement and suffer serious injuries. Further, I have a feeling that many of the people who currently rescue greyhounds are looking forward to the day when they no longer have to clean up after irresponsible greyhound breeders. I'm sure they have many other important things in their life they would like to do, and other noble causes to pursue.

It's also important to note that the greyhound breed has existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years, long before the dog racing industry. The notion that greyhounds are dependent on this cruel industry is pure nonsense.

The end of greyhound racing will be a victory for everyone who cares about dogs. Beneath their manipulative tactics, even the greyhound breeders know this. That is why I am confident their political tricks will not work. In the end, the greyhounds will overcome.

Think it's harmless to go to the races?
Think here.

Greyhound Advocacy and Adoption – A History
By Susan Netboy
(Excerpt from Spring/Summer 2008 issue of GCNM News)

Looking Back

Today, as we lovingly indulge our pet greyhound’s every need, care for foster dogs, schedule time for meet and greets and all the other tasks involved in greyhound adoption, it’s difficult to even imagine that less than two decades ago 50,000 of these magnificent, docile creatures were summarily killed every year. Those were the days when the climate was such that the president of the American Greyhound Track Operators Association could unabashedly say to People Magazine, “The animals must be disposed of. It’s an economic thing.” At the time, there was not a breed of dog in America who was more in need of advocacy than the racing greyhound.

Astoundingly, for the first 70 years of dog racing that was the prevailing attitude held not only by those in the greyhound racing industry, but also by the majority of humane societies who considered the greyhound to be a dangerous, unadoptable animal. Consequently, dog pound incinerators in the vicinity of dog tracks were choked with the bodies of unwanted greyhounds; research facilities were provided a steady supply of victims donated or sold by members of the dog racing industry; and the services of kill-truck drivers were in constant demand. At some tracks, the bodies of losing dogs were stacked up in plain view outside the kennel compound. Few outside the racing industry knew, and no one cared.

During the 1980s, the betting public had become enthralled with the speed of the long dog. Politicians and state governments also had a stake in the sleek racing dogs – cash and lots of it. Wallowing in campaign contributions from wealthy track owners, legislators instituted an open-door policy to any palm-greasing racing lobbyist who came calling. State governments reveled in the new-found source of revenue for state coffers – never giving a moment’s thought to the greyhounds who just kept dying.

Society was primed for the meteoric rise of dog racing in America. At its height in 1990, 61,000 greyhounds were brought into the world to keep a steady stream of “fresh hides” (as they were crassly referred to), readily available for North America’s 60 dog tracks. Everyone involved was making money and the over-breeding of racing greyhounds was the lynchpin to success. Sadly, the silence of the animal-welfare community had provided the industry with an unfettered path to unprecedented over-breeding and nationwide expansion. But the heightened interest in greyhound racing invited a new kind of breeder into the industry’s midst – the small-scale “backyard” greyhound breeder. The kind who developed a personal relationship with their pups. The kind whose income did not depend solely on the success or failure of their most recent litter. The kind who, eventually, could not stomach euthanizing another healthy three-year old dog that they had raised from puppy-hood. The kind whose advocacy for the racing greyhound would contribute to a movement that would ultimately bring a multi-billion dollar industry to its knees.

The Advent of Greyhound Advocacy and Adoption
During the latter half of the 1980s, a few fledgling advocacy/adoption groups emerged in various parts of the country. The struggles were many, creating interest in the greyhound as a pet, refuting misconceptions about greyhound temperament. And a host of other challenges, not the least of which was money. These were folks who by and large had no connection to the racing industry and wanted no part of it, except for the dogs. Having seen the worst of the worst, they spoke the unbridled truth about the plight of the racing greyhound. It was a time before there was pressure from the racing industry to expunge the words “rescue, save and advocacy” from the vernacular. A time when everyone involved in greyhound adoption considered themselves advocates for the dogs – including the handful of greyhound breeders who were pushing for reform.

The pro-adoption breeders ultimately opted to form a new greyhound adoption organization, but their numbers were few so relationships were fostered with rescue organizations outside the industry. The big hurdle would be to obtain permission and financial support from the greyhound racing industry. The industry was quick to recognize the dangers posed by adoption and the intrusion of outsiders, but slow to grasp the fact that its very survival would depend on its response to this new concept. If this fledging effort for industry-supported adoption was to be considered, concessions by adoption groups would have to be made. The code of silence that had long been the industry’s standard of acceptance would have to be met. Although the language adopted was not quite that explicit, it accomplished the purpose: In return for an annual grant of $1,000 per chapter, each would have to agree to operate in support of the industry and issue no negative quotes about greyhound racing to the news media. Money in exchange for silence – not a wholly unreasonable demand - especially from a business that could ill-afford scrutiny. The stipulation became known as “neutrality” or what one might call “the thin grey line” between those whose focus would be strictly limited to finding homes for greyhounds, and those who believed that little change would occur without the freedom to speak about the stark realities facing tens of thousands of racing greyhounds. Ultimately, everyone found a niche where their efforts could make a difference.

In the early 1990s most members of the racing industry were complacent with the status quo. They took care of business in the same way they had for generations – separate the chaff from the wheat and get rid of it in the most expeditious manner. After all, you couldn’t succeed in greyhound racing with a farm or kennel full of losers; besides, there had been no negative consequences to that business model for decades. But times were changing… greyhounds were seen walking on-leash down city streets, wagging their tails and offering kisses when greeting strangers and romping with children in backyards. Some were even graying from the novelty of old age. The public began to take notice that racing greyhounds were not just a commodity; they were loving, affectionate pets. It seemed that with every pet greyhound that stepped into the limelight, the allure of greyhound racing dimmed bit by bit.

But it wasn’t just the general public who began to notice.

The Mainstream Media Gets Involved
For 70 years the dog racing industry had enjoyed a free ride completely beyond the scrutiny of the mainstream press. Sports writers had extolled the attributes of the day’s big winner and written glowing promotional pieces about their local dog tracks. The sub-culture beneath the glitz and glamour of the clubhouse had never been explored. Now, the press was brimming with curiosity. Fueled with press releases, statistics and information provided by greyhound advocates, inquisitive reporters were beginning to ask questions – questions for which the industry didn’t have any viable public-relations responses. And the most stinging inquiry of all: “What is the fate of the tens of thousands of greyhounds that aren’t being adopted?”

The floodgates had opened. Over the next five years, hundreds of adoption articles appeared in newspapers across the country, and each included a reference to the number of greyhounds that were destroyed annually. Major media pieces focused on the plight of the racing greyhound – Life Magazine, The Miami Herald, Inside Edition, CBS News, People, National Geographic, Penthouse, Tucson Citizen, CNBC, The Crusaders, I Witness Video, The Boston Globe, CNN, the Associated Press. And greyhound abuse cases that had previously been relegated to a few lines on page 58 were fodder for headline news. The public’s long slumber was finally over; but unfortunately the nightmare for the majority of racing greyhounds would continue for many years to come.

The public scrutiny forced change within the racing industry as more people came to recognize that the old way was no longer acceptable. In some areas of the country, trainers began to hold onto dogs until they could be taken in by an adoption group. And although the industry’s financial support for adoption was minuscule, and limited to industry-friendly groups, it did indicate that the racing industry was beginning to come on board.

The tipping point in terms of major industry change occurred in 1992, after the Chandler Heights, Arizona, massacre took center stage in newspapers all over the country. The public outrage that surfaced after the discovery of 143 greyhounds who had been shot to death shook the industry to its core. This, along with a number of other high-profile abuse cases – dead and dying greyhounds in Key West, Yuma, Coeur d’Alene, Cherry Lake, Tucson, Summerfield, Dowling Park, Ballinger and Pensacola – seared the plight of the racing greyhound into the entire country’s consciousness. It also forced an American Greyhound Council spokesperson to issue the following declaration to his people: “We must face up to reality. We have a terrible image. And we can’t expect that image to be whitewashed by rhetoric or tokenism.” Roger Caras, president of the ASPCA, was the first to test the sincerity of the statement. The ASPCA came away with an AGC grant of $100,000 that was earmarked for adoption groups – irrespective of their position on greyhound racing – though these monies were not distributed among all eligible groups.

The Greyhound Adoption Movement Flourishes
Adoption organizations of all stripes flourished and multiplied throughout the country. Everyone pulled together for the sake of the dogs, especially during track closings and other crises. The threat that adoption groups who dared to speak out against the racing industry would not get access to greyhounds proved utterly ineffective. The reality was, and is, that trainers need to move losing dogs in order to make room for potential winners. Most trainers didn’t really care who took them off their hands. An increasing number of trainers welcomed the opportunity to be a part of something genuinely positive for the dogs. And out of it emerged a few true industry heroes; people who would hold dogs for adoption regardless of cost, inconvenience and pressure to opt for other alternatives.

Almost all adoption groups shared a common goal: To save as many greyhounds as possible. We became a part of a movement that over the next 15 years would unfold as the most successful single-breed rescue effort in history. With adoption numbers rising, and a decline in industry profits forcing a decrease in breeding, fewer greyhounds were being destroyed. The racing industry boosted financial support for adoption programs affiliated with race tracks and emphasized its concern for the welfare of the dogs. But in spite of these efforts, redemption for the dog racing industry remained elusive; particularly as evidence of greyhounds in research facilities, and other cruel means of disposal, continued to surface.

By the mid-nineties, it was evident that the greyhound racing industry had more to worry about than its tarnished image. The entire gambling industry was changing. Indian gaming, riverboat and off-shore gambling were booming, leaving dog racing little more than a few scraps of the gambling pie. Profits were down from one end of the country to the other, and the downward spiral was apparent at all levels of the industry. Dog tracks and breeding farms were cutting their losses and shutting down. The expansion of simulcast venues failed to adequately reverse the downward trend. Now the press was focused on the financial decline of the dog racing industry.

The Call to Arms
Double-edged as it may have been, greyhound adoption provided the only positive publicity the industry had experienced in years. But there was imminent danger in the increasing power of adoption groups. If the various groups ever united in the recognition that to a large degree the very fate of the racing industry was in their hands, a decades-old way of life would come to a crashing halt. The interface between adoption and advocacy would have to be dealt with. In 1997 the American Greyhound Council and the National Greyhound Association signed on with a public relations firm that represented the fur industry and animal research corporations. Their expertise was in advising clients in the animal-use business who found themselves mired in controversy. Their adeptness at justifying the indefensible was legendary.

Talking points and catch phrases were formulated. Buzz words like “extremists, terrorists and animal-rights whackos” were introduced to characterize the opposition. It was a virtual declaration of war, designed to discredit and marginalize greyhound welfare advocates. From a cold-blooded business perspective, it was a smart move on the part of the racing industry. Pressure from a relatively small number of greyhound advocates had been amazingly effective, and one can hardly blame the industry for trying to defend itself. In the desperate struggle for survival, it really didn’t matter that their derogatory epithets didn’t represent the truth which, as they say, is the first casualty of war.

But it wasn’t enough to have industry spokespersons engaging in name calling; industry-controlled adoption organizations would also have to take up the call to arms. To remain in the industry’s good graces, track adoption programs, satellites in non-racing states and other like-minded organizations would have to take on the defense and promotion of the dog racing industry.

The Great Divide
Compliance was not difficult to establish, especially with the scare tactics and wholesale nonsense that was injected into the rumor mill: “All the dogs will be killed if anyone speaks out against racing. Greyhound racing is a ‘political’ issue; non-profit organizations are not allowed to have an opinion. Greyhounds will become extinct without dog racing.” Leadership for this new adversarial approach to greyhound adoption was not hard to come by. Those working in the trenches were so overwhelmed trying to save dogs that they never looked up to notice what was going on at the top. Some were more than willing to become water carriers for the industry. A witch hunt to ferret-out and blacklist “anti-racing” adoption organizations failed to silence the opposition, or to prevent access to the dogs, but it did serve to fracture the adoption movement and fuel hostilities. Eventually, the middle ground and the comfort of “neutrality” were erased – everyone was pigeon-holed as either “pro-racing” or “anti-racing.” And the rhetoric was ramped up on both sides of the issue.

The racing industry experienced a certain amount of relief as the century came to a close. The press had tempered its focus and adoption stories had become passé. But the hard-core animal-rights community who had no connection to greyhound adoption, and had previously stayed out of the fray, still smelled blood in the water. A frontal assault against dog racing was launched in the year 2000 with a ballot initiative to ban greyhound racing in Massachusetts. Fearing this threat was a harbinger of 21st century values, racetrack owners from all over the country poured millions of dollars into a campaign opposing the ban. Although the initiative failed by a razor-thin margin, it forced everyone in the adoption community to further refine their positions. Some stood shoulder to shoulder with the industry in vocal opposition to the ban; others lent both vocal and financial support in favor of the initiative.

A Look at the Future
The industry was right. The 21st century did bring change and none of it has proven beneficial to greyhound racing in America. Additional track closings have reduced the number of dog tracks to 34. The industry’s assertion that “nearly all ‘adoptable’ greyhounds are adopted” continues to be undermined by the discovery of greyhound bodies and the disappearance of designated pets from racetrack kennels. And so, the interminable haggling over numbers and terminology drones on. However, the final chapter will not be written by either “pro-” or “anti-racing” factions, but rather by the very force that once served as an excuse for killing greyhounds – the harsh, cold-hearted reality of bottom-line economics.

The live-racing product which brought so much wealth to a few, and so much misery and death to hundreds of thousands of greyhounds, is nearing the finish line. The goose that laid so many golden eggs for greyhound breeders is now laying poker chips and slot machines for track owners whose interest is money, not greyhounds. It’s only a matter of time before state governments change gambling laws, and release the racing greyhound from its servitude to state government. At least casino patrons are willing victims of corporate greed and state budget deficits.

As greyhound lovers, should we not all welcome that day? The day when we no longer face the heartbreak of saving some and leaving others behind; when the greyhound no longer needs the voice of an advocate, because he has the same chances for a long and happy life that every other breed enjoys. And when that day comes, the magnificent greyhound breed will – just as it has for centuries – survive the transition and continue to grace our sofas and bring love and joy into our lives.

About the author: As a founding member of Northern California Sighthound Rescue, Susan became involved in greyhound rescue in 1986; she briefly worked with Greyhound Pets of America in the late 1980s. Her first encounter with the greyhound racing industry evolved out of an effort to obtain the release of racing greyhounds from Letterman Army Institute of Research and eleven other research facilities in California and Arizona. The resulting revelations about the system of dog racing and the state of greyhound welfare left her with an indelible impression – silence was not an option. In 1991, she founded the Greyhound Protection League, a national advocacy voice for racing greyhounds and Greyhound Friends for Life, a California greyhound rescue organization.

Copyright 2008 Susan Netboy

Celebrating Greyhounds Magazine Takes Aim at Greyhound Welfare Advocates
by Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
(Excerpt from Spring/Summer 2007 issue of GCNM News)

Last year I wrote a letter to the editor of Celebrating Greyhounds (CG) Magazine regarding their increasing number of articles promoting Greyhound Pets of America (GPA), the adoption group which promotes greyhound racing. Rather than publishing my letter in their “CG Readers Speak Out” column, editor Cindy Hanson lashed out at myself and two other greyhound welfare advocates in their most recent issue by publishing a scathing editorial. What triggered this is anyone’s guess, but considering the tone of the editorial which essentially demonizes greyhound welfare advocates, one must wonder what’s going on here.

It’s no secret to anyone who can read, that CG Magazine has an agenda which promotes the national greyhound adoption group with ties to the racing industry, Greyhound Pets of America. Clearly, CG Magazine has become yet another marketing tool for the greyhound racing industry.

Celebrating Greyhounds Magazine and GPA have apparently been collaborating for years. Hoping to take the spotlight off their connection with the dog racing industry, their method is one commonly used in manipulative advertising and other schemes – distract and redirect.

Ignoring the fact that thousands of greyhounds will die through the years as race tracks struggle to stay solvent and continue breeding a surplus of racers, CG and GPA have been accusing greyhound advocates for complicating matters by wanting to prevent suffering of the dogs.

Some of our readers subscribe to CG Magazine, but many have cancelled their subscriptions in a show of support for the welfare of the racing greyhound, which can only be served by those determined to break the silence about the abuses inherent in greyhound racing.

Shamelessly, GPA groups encourage their members to attend dog races by hosting their annual get-togethers at dog tracks and various other racing facilities. This year’s national GPA meeting is being sponsored by three dog tracks.

How can these people, in good conscience, solicit money from greyhound adopters who are unknowingly supporting their pro-racing activities? My guess is that if there were full disclosure of GPA and CG Magazine agendas, they would have considerably fewer supporters/subscribers.

As they continue their crusade to mislead the public about their connections with the racing industry, they get increasingly more creative with their methods. Most recently, CG Magazine glorifies Rory Goree, President of GPA, who claims to have risked his life rescuing greyhounds from Juarez.

This inexcusable charade has got to stop. Glossy photos and cute stories appeal to the masses until they grasp the significance of a publication whose purpose is to subliminally promote racing.

In the meantime, those of us who commit ourselves to protecting greyhounds will undoubtedly be targets for continued attacks from those who are protecting the image of racing instead of its victims.

Saving Greyhounds - Is Adoption Enough?
by Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
(Excerpt from Fall 2006/Winter 2007 issue of GCNM News)

Finding homes for greyhounds is a noble cause. However, this goal is complicated by the fact that greyhounds, because of the dog racing industry, are the most persecuted breed of canine. More greyhounds die annually than any other single breed of dog. The sheer numbers bred and “retired,” combined with the severity of injuries while training and racing, result in the destruction of tens of thousands of greyhounds annually. Despite the existence of over 200 greyhound adoption groups across the U.S., we still cannot quell this annihilation.

Many adoption groups subscribe to the theory that as long as they find homes for some of the greyhounds, they are doing their part and that no other involvement is warranted. Nothing could be further from the truth. Taking an active position to protect greyhounds from exploitation will, in the long run, accomplish more than just the Band-Aid approach of finding adoptive homes for them.

Adoption and advocacy are compatible missions and the ultimate objective should be to end the current and future suffering and destruction of racing greyhounds. If all greyhound adoption groups were to join together in demanding change within the industry, the movement would command more respect. As it stands now, some of the largest greyhound adoption groups are pandering to the racing industry rather than working to eliminate the conditions responsible for untold suffering of racing greyhounds.

Greyhound advocacy groups monitor and hold accountable an industry unable or unwilling to enforce its regulations. People, who were once naïve about the term “neutral” in describing their position on greyhound racing, are beginning to realize neutrality is not an option when it comes to preventing the continued suffering of racing greyhounds. Emancipated from adoption groups which promote and defend the dog racing industry, many individuals are now joining the ranks of those of us who pledge to protect the dogs.

Susan Netboy of Greyhound Protection League (, Joan Eidinger of Greyhound Network News (, Christine Dorchak and Carey Thiel of GREY2K USA ( have for years been blazing a trail for other advocates to follow. Exposing atrocities, corruption, and people with bad intent, these organizations are at the forefront of the national movement to educate people on the plight of the racing greyhound.

In the state of Kansas, racing greyhounds have been declassified as dogs so that they don’t fall under the protection of animal cruelty statutes. This kind of legislation, particularly in the state that is home to the Greyhound Hall of Fame, is a blatant indicator of the lack of compassion for the dogs who are the very backbone of the racing industry.

These laws must change, but they will not unless advocates lead the way. GREY2K USA board member and Vice President of Kansas City Retired Greyhounds as Pets, Kevin Neuman, is spearheading the campaign to change this law in the next Kansas legislative session. GREY2K USA believes the key to protecting racing greyhounds is to end dog racing by changing laws, and they are hard at work doing exactly that.

Greyhound Protection League (GPL) recently reported the disappearance of approximately 190 greyhounds from the Tucson Greyhound Park (TGP). The track was paying a Colorado trainer $150.00 per dog to remove them from the premises. Asking for no proof of where he was taking the dogs, TGP employees helped him load the dogs onto trailers headed for parts unknown. As of this date, approximately 8 of those dogs have been accounted for.

During hearings with the AZ racing stewards in charge of the inquiry on the missing dogs, the Colorado trainer has been unable to provide documentation of where he took the dogs. Thanks to Greyhound Protection League, a reward for up to $15,000.00 has been offered for information leading to the recovery of the dogs. The story has gained national media attention and has revealed one of many reasons this industry must be monitored by greyhound welfare advocates.

The penalties for such transgressions within the dog racing industry are minimal. Relatively small fines and short suspensions are commonplace. The above-mentioned Colorado trainer has been in trouble before, but previous disciplinary actions by the state racing departments have failed to deter his continued illicit dealings. If not for the greyhound advocacy groups working together, few, if any of these cases would be investigated or pursued by the dog racing industry.

Adoption alone is not the answer. Fortunately, for the greyhounds, there are many of us so committed to the plight of the racing greyhound that we are immersed in multiple efforts to protect them. Scrutinizing an industry that is hopelessly myopic in its view of what constitutes compassion for animals, should be the goals of all who claim to have concern for the welfare of racing greyhounds.

Please support organizations whose purpose is truly that of keeping greyhounds out of harm’s way. Help us help the greyhounds by doing everything possible, not just scratching the surface of what can be done. Visit the websites listed above to find out what you can do to help. Please read “Public Awareness” on the GCNM website ( for articles that can help you understand why advocacy is so important for our beloved greyhounds.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Juarez Dog Track Closes Again: How Many Greyhounds Didn’t Make It Back Alive?
by Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
(Excerpt from Summer 2006 issue of GCNM News)

Greyhound Pets of America (GPA) – a national greyhound adoption group with ties to the racing industry – is publicizing the return of 126 greyhounds to the U.S. from the Juarez Racetrack. That 126 greyhounds survived their stint at the Juarez Racetrack is cause for celebration. The sad news is that there are still no records being produced to account for the number of greyhounds that went there to begin with. These records could have provided a safety net to guarantee the return of every greyhound transported into Juarez.

Last summer, GPA president, Rory Goree, volunteered that GPA would “catalogue” the greyhounds going into Juarez, Mexico, in order to allay fears among greyhound welfare advocates that many racers would never return. Problem is, those of us interested in counting heads cannot locate this catalogue nor has anyone professed to know where it is being kept.

National furor arose last year after 8 greyhounds (later, the number rose to 10) died while being transported in searing desert temperatures from Tucson, AZ, to the then-newly-reopened Juarez Racetrack. Rather than joining the national effort to discourage sending more of America’s racing greyhounds to Juarez, Goree chose to facilitate the acquisition of racers by promising to find adoptive homes for every greyhound that went to Jose Maria Guardia, owner of the Juarez dog track. Sounds good on the surface.

Hoping to deflect nationwide criticism of his role in dealing with Guardia, Goree promised that GPA would microchip and record every greyhound that was slated for racing in Juarez. GPA chapters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, announced their support of this plan and showed their solidarity with Guardia by sitting down to dine with him for a night at the races in Juarez. Other GPA chapters were siding with the majority of greyhound-lovers in objecting to what appeared to be a cozy arrangement for Guardia to get spent racers from the U.S.

Live greyhound racing in Juarez discontinued in December 2005. Not until several months later did GPA announce this. Why this information was not immediately announced by GPA remains a mystery, especially since their El Paso chapter president was said to have been doing frequent inspections of the Juarez racers and their kennels.

GPA is mum on details surrounding everything except for their broadcast that 126 greyhounds are coming back to America. When contacted, GPA representatives state that the dogs from Juarez are posted on their website, however they evade direct questions about records regarding the racers that were shipped to Mexico to begin with.

From research being done by greyhound watchdog groups, it is clear that the list of dogs on the GPA website does not constitute all the dogs that went south last summer. Information regarding every dog shipped to Juarez has proven impossible to find, although each shipment of dogs was known to have been documented at some point.

Why would GPA not produce this infamous catalogue of greyhounds sent to Juarez? These documents would validate claims that their only concern was for the safe return of all greyhounds in Juarez. Until these records surface, there will continue to be unrest among greyhound welfare advocates.

Juarez Racetrack Owner’s Name Surfaces in FBI Investigation: Drug Trafficking Connections Suspected
by Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
(Excerpt from Summer 2006 issue of GCNM News)

A former FBI chief was indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury after allegations of various involvements with Jose Maria Guardia, owner of the now-defunct Juarez, Mexico greyhound racetrack.

Failing an FBI polygraph test in 2003, Guardia has been under suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering activity. His attempt to revive greyhound racing at the Juarez racetrack last summer has been controversial in that he was getting greyhounds from the U. S. In past years, greyhounds did not fare well at the track in Juarez. Upon the first closure of the Juarez track several years ago, the greyhounds rescued from there were in abysmal condition.

Guardia’s pipe dream of creating a “Las Vegas-like resort in Juarez, capable of handling $20 billion in bets daily” has collapsed and the racetrack has closed for a second time.

The Lie of Omission:
How It Hurts the Greyhounds

by Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
(Excerpt from Winter/Spring 2006 issue of GCNM News)

Since our last newsletter, it’s become abundantly clear that many people are confused about who’s who in the greyhound rescue world. Everyone in the adoption arena proclaims they are in it to help the greyhounds. Some go so far as to deceive the public with cutesy names for their programs - names that suggest the group is strictly in it for the good of the dogs. Misperceptions abound. Time to confront the truth: There are many groups and individuals who are selling out to the racing industry and misleading the public, while they extol the virtues of their own good deeds.

There are books and magazines and plenty of websites that cash in on the public’s naïveté, hoping to profit in any way possible from their supposed commitment to the welfare of the racing greyhound. Sadly, the confusion results in the manipulation of many innocent people who don’t realize they are actually assisting the racing industry in marketing its sport. Those who are unknowingly duped into giving money and/or donating time to a cause that ultimately perpetuates the racing industry are understandably perturbed when they learn the truth.

The following should clear the air:

Top ten signs that a group/person is associated with the racing industry are:

  • 10. Their website encourages the watching of dog races by providing video clips on the site.
  • 9. They write/promote/sell publications that malign the animal rights movement. These publications deftly avoid any subject which may cast a bad light on the racing industry.
  • 8. They speak at conventions for members of the National Greyhound Association (I can assure you they’d never invite a true advocate for greyhound welfare to speak at any racing industry conference).
  • 7. They attempt to steer conversations toward only the good characteristics of racing greyhounds, often going so far as to say racing is what makes them such good pets.
  • 6. Comments from the public regarding the senseless killing of healthy greyhounds are met with resignation and a quick attempt to redirect the conversation back to what good pets they make.
  • 5. They sponsor events at racetracks which are designed to attract the interest of the uninformed.
  • 4. They tend to sugar-coat any subjects regarding racing or the conditions in which the racers are kept.
  • 3. Health and behavioral problems are rarely, if ever, attributed to the training and racing environment (this is true particularly of veterinarians who work closely with the industry, as it is in their best interest to downplay any negatives associated with racing since that’s from where part or all of their compensation comes).
  • 2. They rely heavily on stories of greyhounds whose lives were transformed by adoption, thereby avoiding the subject of the thousands that die every year.
And the #1 sign you are dealing with a pro-racing group/person:
Their favorite comment is, “We’re neutral on the racing issue and want to avoid politics.” (This statement is akin to saying you’re neutral on such issues as domestic abuse or sweatshops employing young children against their will.

Which brings me to a quote by Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Keep in mind that any group/person associating with the industry in any way is being compensated in some form by the dog racing industry. If you wish to help the greyhounds by getting at the root of the problem, don’t be manipulated by tactics based on avoidance of the most important issue at hand: Why should any healthy racing greyhounds have to die?

Without those of us who address the adverse conditions that affect the health, behavior, and ultimately, the lives of racing greyhounds, the greyhounds would have no voice. To conceal the facts about the darker side of racing is to allow the killing and abuse to continue. Those who are busy polishing the image of dog racing often criticize those of us whose only concern is for the dogs.

So, who should be getting help here, the people who exploit the dogs or the people who protect them? Let your conscience be your guide when you write your checks or make purchases that supposedly benefit the greyhounds - for there are many wolves out there in sheep’s clothing. If you really want to know where someone stands on the issue of dog racing, ask them to commit to either a “yes” or a “no” when asked if they are against racing. Neutrality is not an option when there are lives at stake.

Greyhounds in Juarez
by Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
(Excerpt from Winter/Spring 2006 issue of GCNM News)

In our last newsletter, we discussed the debate over sending racing greyhounds to Juarez, Mexico, after their careers have ended in America. Already a highly charged subject, our newsletter article generated considerable criticism and denial from the national president of Greyhound Pets of America (GPA), Rory Goree. GPA is America’s largest greyhound adoption network and is closely associated with the racing industry. Mr. Goree and the New Mexico GPA chapter started a campaign requesting GPA members nationwide email GCNM with objections to the article we published.

From an organization of over 10,000 members, we received a paltry 6 emails complaining of the article published in our newsletter (four of the six came from people who are in Goree’s immediate circle of associates). Others wrote to ask questions and to emphasize that, although they are members of GPA, they were not in favor of the state of affairs surrounding Goree and the owners of the Juarez track.

The Juarez dog track has an unsavory history; a reputation of mercilessly killing the losing racers and of sick, flea-infested racers coming from the track when it was first shut down several years ago. Greyhound welfare advocates and witnesses to the cruelty that was commonplace many years ago fear that the same practices will resume, now that the track has reopened. So it was with good cause that protests mounted over the plan to ship U.S. racers to the very track that was unable to provide humane conditions for the dogs who raced there in years past.

For those of you who missed the article in our last newsletter, the following should bring you up to date: When America’s racing greyhounds can no longer win on our tracks, they are either killed or sent to adoption groups for placement. Unfortunately, due to the glut of racers coming off the American tracks, adoption programs have never been able to find homes for all of them. Thousands of greyhounds are killed every year and now there’s a new threat - a second “career” in Juarez.

After 10 greyhounds died of heat stroke while being transported to Juarez from the Tucson, AZ racetrack, a universal plea from greyhound advocates went out on the Internet for everyone to denounce the plans to send any greyhounds to Mexico. Rather than join the ranks who opposed the shipment of racers to Juarez, Goree and his closest associates chose to make a deal with the Mexican track officials. Goree attempted to deflect criticism of the deal with a promise to “catalogue” every greyhound that went into Mexico, and guarantee the safe passage of every greyhound back into the U.S. from the Juarez track.

Juarez reopened its dog racing track almost two years ago and has been procuring greyhounds who could no longer win money in the States. The track owner, Mr. Jose Maria Guardia, has been paying for the dogs, but who is receiving the money and how much is exchanging hands, remains a mystery.

According to the handful of GPA insiders who have been dealing with Mr. Guardia, their main concern was to get the greyhounds out of Mexico. The rest of our nation’s greyhound adoption groups, however, were objecting to the plan from the start - fearing for the fate of the greyhounds once they crossed the border into Mexico.

To this date - after many requests from various parties - GPA has not produced the records to assure the rest of us that they are doing what they promised. What they have done is artfully dodge questions and put up a smokescreen around their activities. They have boasted on their clearly pro-racing websites of their involvement in the return of three greyhounds from Mexico.

Yes, that’s right, only three greyhounds in almost two years. To those of us who rallied to prevent the dogs from going there in the first place, it is unconscionable that anyone should be celebrating this trickle of dogs returning from the Juarez track. Since GPA agreed to be stewards for the racers going to Juarez, the logical thing for them to be doing at this point would be to concern themselves with the welfare of the racers remaining there.

Goree and his small group of supporters from New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas have been maintaining an uncharacteristically low profile recently. Requests to GPA officers for information regarding the dogs currently in Juarez continue to go unanswered. They choose to withhold information from inquirers, rather than produce the information that could absolve them of any hidden agenda in working with the Juarez dog track.

On the GPA New Mexico website, they quote the GPA/El Paso representative as saying, "To put everyone’s minds at ease… I went to the [Juarez] kennel today. No new dogs. No plans for new dogs. No crates for new dogs. No anything for new dogs. So no new dogs."

This leaves the most disturbing question of all: What has happened to all the other greyhounds that have been shipped to Juarez since they reopened? Are they still racing? The same group of dogs cannot be repeatedly run without injury, illness, and/or death, which is why there’s such a high turnover of racers at American tracks.

Celebrating the return of three greyhounds from Mexico, GPA continues to avoid the subject of how many greyhounds actually went to the Juarez track. Until Mr. Goree produces records fully documenting each and every greyhound that has been transported into Juarez from the U.S. and until every single one of them returns, there should be no accolades and no festivities.

Meanwhile, those of us who advocate for the racing greyhounds shall continue our struggle to scrutinize the actions of those who appear to be more concerned for the well-being of the dog racing industry rather than the welfare of the glut of dogs it produces. We are dismayed at the cavalier attitude of Goree and his associates in their continued stonewalling - especially considering time is of the essence if we are to save the greyhounds that have gone south, across the border.

It is important to note that not all GPA members are supporting Goree’s decision to consort with the Juarez track owners. Judging by the calls and emails we have received, there are many GPA people troubled by Goree’s handling of and involvement in this issue.

Response to GPA's Rebuttal on Greyhounds in Mexico...

Anyone who reads our newsletter (GCNM News) or website and knows my history as a writer, knows I do my homework. My interviews and research are done thoroughly. An article published in our Fall 2005 GCNM News regarding sending American racing greyhounds to Mexico, prompted GPA National and GPA/New Mexico to publish a rebuttal which is based largely on semantics and relies heavily on avoiding certain facts they prefer to keep obscured.

GPA groups and their agenda became a focus of mine after interviewing Darren Rigg, the first president of GPA/California ( the interview is published in our Summer 2004 issue of GCNM News and can be found on our website). This revealing and candid interview with Rigg was the impetus for further investigation into what GPA groups really do, who finances their programs, and what ties exist between them and the dog racing industry. My conclusion is that GPA, although they claim to be "neutral" on politics, is that they are anything but. A glimpse at their websites, national and local, exposes their agenda.

So-called "neutral" groups generally do not publish information that is in any way politically motivated, however GPA sites have distinct undertones of advancing a political cause: that of the National Greyhound Association - the governing body of greyhound racing - and any organizations affiliated with it, such as the American Greyhound Council.

The latest target for GPA websites is David Wolf, Director of the greyhound adoption/advocacy group, NGAP (National Greyhound Adoption Program). GPA's fixation on Wolf is evident in that they are publishing anything negative they can find about him. This should not be the goal of a "neutral" group. Their actions only prove their agenda is suspect. (Interestingly, the stories about David Wolf mysteriously disappeared from the GPA sites after we published this response on our website!)

GPA groups operate on a basis of not honoring full-disclosure policies. GPA groups must agree not to make negative statements about the racing industry. This is an outright manipulation of the public's perception of racing and its inherent cruelty. Their excuse is that the various trainers, breeders, and owners of racing greyhounds will kill greyhounds rather than turn them over for adoption if anything bad is said about greyhound racing (this in itself is a very negative comment about the character of the people involved in racing). If the racing industry stopped giving dogs to adoption groups whose philosophy differs from theirs, the number of racers destroyed would proliferate. The racing industry has exceptional marketing and PR people who know this would be devastating to their industry and they will not allow it to happen.

The article in the Fall 2005 GCNM News to which GPA objects is regarding their efforts to work with the Juarez, Mexico track. It is our opinion (and that of all greyhound welfare advocacy groups) that GPA should be working to keep greyhounds OUT of Mexico to begin with. They say they have no control over the shipment of greyhounds into Mexico, but like anything else in this world, if enough people join forces, change will happen and injustices can be thwarted. GPA has chosen not to unite with greyhound welfare advocacy groups in objecting to the transport of greyhounds to Mexico. They have instead chosen to collaborate with the owner of the Juarez track to make it easier for him to get racers, by promising to find homes for them.

There are still thousands of healthy greyhounds destroyed annually in the U.S. - GPA hasn't been able to prevent this. The racing industry is hemorrhaging greyhounds, so why isn't GPA working with the rest of us who diligently endeavor to end further suffering rather than just apply a Band-Aid by finding homes for the lucky ones who aren't killed? GCNM finds homes for greyhounds AND advocates for their right to not be exploited. There is no reason why every greyhound adoption group shouldn't be doing the same thing unless they have another agenda besides protecting the racing greyhound.

Please scroll down through the articles subsequent to this statement for more information regarding GPA groups (See "Adoption: What Went Wrong") and further information about what racing greyhounds must endure as a result of the cruel industry of dog racing.

Thank you for visiting our site.

Judy Paulsen, Founder
Greyhound Companions of New Mexico

All these articles have been written after tedious research.

Sending America’s Greyhounds to Mexico:
Will Microchips Protect Them from Abuse?

by Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
(Excerpt from Fall 2005 issue of GCNM News)

A highly charged debate has been raging on the Internet and over phone lines for the last several months. It all began with the re-opening of the Juarez, Mexico dog track. The debate was fueled with reports of eight greyhounds that died of heatstroke while being transported from Tucson, AZ, to the Mexican track. Adding fuel to the debate, a national greyhound adoption group, Greyhound Pets of America, constructed a plan to support the Mexican track by shipping American racing greyhounds to their country.

Dogs do not fare well in third-world countries. To believe racers taken to Mexico will be treated humanely is as absurd as the argument that proponents for this plan are using. It is common knowledge that squalid conditions in which most Mexican citizens live are what drives them to risk their lives to illegally cross the border into America. The impoverished nation has low standards for treatment of humans and NO animal welfare standards.

Presumably in response to the high volume of objections received from people concerned for the safety of the racers once they cross the border, the National Greyhound Association (the governing body for the dog racing industry) has placed a temporary ban on exporting American racing greyhounds to Mexico. However, in a bizarre twist of events, the largest national greyhound adoption group, Greyhound Pets of America, has decided to support and encourage the exportation of greyhounds to Mexico. Rory Goree, President of GPA National and Candy Beck, President of the New Mexico GPA chapter (New Mexico Greyhound Connection ) have been busy defending their position to the multitude of protesters.

Goree and Beck have been attempting to deflect criticism of the plan to send America’s slowest racers to Mexico by saying the greyhounds would be brought back into the U.S. upon retirement, for placement into adoptive homes. They suggest that microchipping the greyhounds will give them control over the disposition of the racers; however, they fail to address the neglect and abuse to which these dogs will be exposed while racing in Juarez.

Beck and her husband were invited to join Jose Maria Guardia, owner of the Juarez track, for an evening of dining and dog races early this past summer. The Becks returned from Mexico with glowing reports on conditions at the track and the hospitality shown them by track officials. Beck’s comments posted on her website were explicitly positive and reflected no concern for the fate of the dogs, whatsoever. She did, however, comment that it could’ve been a little cooler in the area where they were being entertained by Mr. Guardia as they dined and watched the dog races.

Guardia has been immersed in various scandals involving alleged money laundering and his ties to Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro. Guardia aspires to be “first off the block” with plans to open a Las Vegas-like resort in Juarez, capable of handling $20 billion in bets daily.

The actions of GPA in collaborating with Mexican track officials to transport greyhounds to Juarez is incomprehensible and lacks the compassion and concern most greyhound rescue programs have exhibited in objecting to this travesty. One well-known greyhound welfare advocate is currently under attack by racing-industry proponents for saying the dogs would be better off euthanized than suffering during transport to and racing in Mexico. Most anyone with a conscience and even a shred of compassion would agree that racers who fail to perform well in the U.S. should be given the most humane treatment possible; euthanasia being a more benevolent alternative than neglect, abuse, injury or death at the Juarez track.

It is abundantly clear that there are not enough homes for all retired racers in the United States - otherwise, why would there be thousands slaughtered annually on our own soil? For GPA representatives to argue that they will retrieve every greyhound shipped into Mexico and place them in loving homes is preposterous. Does this mean that more of the dogs coming off U.S. tracks will be euthanized instead of the Juarez dogs, just to prove they can place those lucky enough to leave Mexico alive? Unless Mrs. Beck or Mr. Goree has intentions of moving to Juarez to oversee operations at the track, it is irresponsible for them to favor a plan to ship greyhounds to what was and still is considered a “dumping ground” for unsuccessful racers.

Sending losing racers to Juarez, Mexico should not be an option. Hoards of Mexicans trying to escape their own country are testimony to what life is like in a third-world country struggling to take care of its citizens. If it’s deplorable for humans, imagine what it will be like for animals who are nothing more than a source of entertainment.

The proposal to send racing greyhounds to Mexico is unanimously objected to by all greyhound welfare advocacy groups in America and also the American-European Greyhound Alliance, Inc. GPA is not considered a greyhound welfare advocacy group; they are an adoption coordinator for the racing industry, plain and simple. Their support of the plan to send greyhounds to Juarez, Mexico speaks volumes for where they stand on the rights of racing greyhounds.

If you want to express your feelings regarding this shameful act, we encourage you to contact Rory Goree at (be prepared for a canned response telling you to listen to his weekly radio show) or to Candy Beck at You can also pass on your concerns to (this is the email address for the greyhound racing industry’s main office in Kansas - the state where greyhounds are not considered dogs!)

Greyhounds Not Dogs??
by Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
(Excerpt from Spring 2005 issue of GCNM News)

In a bizarre statement to a journalist, the executive director of the National Greyhound Association (NGA), admitted the Greyhound racing industry does not consider racing Greyhounds as “pets” and they “should not fall under pet protection laws.” The NGA, the governing body for Greyhound racing, is based in Abilene, Kansas. Efforts of concerned Kansans to introduce legislation which would change the current Kansas Pet Animal Act (S.S.A. 47- 1701) to include Greyhounds in the definition of “Dog,” generated national attention in March this year. The story was broadcast on national networks, including CNN.

As it stands now, under Kansas law, Greyhounds are excluded from being classified as dogs, thereby making them exempt from animal cruelty statutes or other laws which protect companion animals. The current Kansas Pet Animal Act states: “Dog” means any animal which is wholly or in part of the species Canis familiaris but does not include any Greyhound, as defined by K.S.A. 74-8802 and amendments thereto. The Kansas Pet Animal Act defines “Greyhound” as “any Greyhound breed of dog properly registered with the National Greyhound Association of Abilene, Kansas.”

The racing industry, its supporters, and associates have been doing their best to deny this law benefits them in any way. Their frenzied rhetoric in response to the nationally run story can only be interpreted as an attempt to once again manipulate the public’s perception of the NGA as an organization that truly cares about the welfare of the racing Greyhound. Years of abuse and killing of Greyhounds cannot be ignored when one closely examines the meaning of a law so blatantly designed to exclude racing Greyhounds from laws designed to detect abuse or other issues which could affect the health and safety of racers.

Kevin Neuman, of Overland Park, KS, is spearheading the campaign to, “Protect Greyhounds just like collies or German shepherds, or any other breed of dog.” Kevin is an officer of the national Greyhound protection organization, GREY2K USA, and helps rescue Greyhounds through his local group, KC REGAP. GREY2K USA has recently been leading efforts in states such as Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Oregon to end the cruelty of Greyhound racing.

In Kevin’s testimony before the Kansas State Legislature’s House Agriculture Committee, his conclusion was, “There are thousands of Kansans, and millions of people around the world, who know a Greyhound is one of the most intelligent, sensitive, calm, and loving creatures on the planet. During our ten-plus years of Greyhound advocacy, my wife and I have found our best friends to be Greyhounds. Man’s best friend: a dog. Please let our best friends be dogs in Kansas.”

For updates on HB 2508 please visit

Injuries Biggest Threat to Greyhounds
by Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
(Excerpt from Spring 2005 issue of GCNM News)

The governing body for pari-mutuel dog racing, National Greyhound Association (NGA), has been encouraging Greyhound rescue/adoption programs to take heart in the fact that fewer racing Greyhounds are being destroyed annually. The NGA’s pledge to reduce the slaughter of Greyhounds and to find homes for every "adoptable" Greyhound is admirable but disregards the greatest threat to the welfare of the racing Greyhound – injuries and deaths while training and racing.

The Greyhound racing industry has been unsuccessful in creating a racing/training environment that would eliminate or significantly reduce injuries and deaths among racers. Poor track conditions and collisions with the mechanical lure and its electrical components pose a serious threat to racers – causing mutilations, electrocutions and various injuries.

Racers should be examined by a veterinarian at the track before and after races, but these examinations (if performed) are cursory and sometimes not even done as demonstrated this year in Florida when there was no track vet even employed by the Naples-Ft. Myers Greyhound Track for a period of time. This incident legitimizes the concern of Greyhound welfare advocates that racing Greyhounds at numerous tracks across the U.S. may be receiving little or no veterinary evaluation. States are required to maintain records of injuries during races; however one must question the accuracy of these documents if veterinarians are not present or not consulted at the time of a suspected injury. Trainers often hasten their racers away immediately after each race in preparation for the next group to race. The racers can then quickly be taken to the transport trucks and injuries may not be detected or assessed until much later.

Injuries, no matter how serious, are often tended to by trainers or helpers with no formal training, then the racers are returned to their crates with no veterinary attention at all. Wrapping broken legs with or without splints and foregoing necessary evaluations and radiographs to properly assess the extent of the injury is commonplace. Avoiding the expense of consulting a veterinarian and disregarding the pain and suffering of the dogs requiring medical attention assures the profit necessary to cover salaries and basic expenses at the kennel.

Improperly set broken bones and lack of veterinary care appears to be prevalent among racing kennels in every state. Evidence of this is in the numbers of dogs needing extensive veterinary attention once they are released to adoption programs. The burden of the expense is then placed on adopters or the placement programs since seldom is financial assistance offered from owners, trainers, etc. to assist in obtaining veterinary care for these dogs. Many more retired racers could be placed into homes if abnormally high veterinary bills were not a concern for prospective adopters. Adopting a retired racer with the possibility it may need corrective surgery due to inadequate veterinary care subsequent to a racing injury is enough to discourage even the most eager potential adopter.

Even in a home environment and under the most guarded circumstances, Greyhounds get injured. The injury rate is significant when multiple dogs are running between 35 and 40 miles per hour and a mishap occurs on a track. As long as there is dog racing, there will be countless deaths and injuries these noble creatures will endure. The public outrage over the number of racers destroyed at the end of their racing careers should also be directed toward the inhumanness of the overall "sport" of racing due to the suffering it creates. A line must be drawn between entertainment and cruelty. Hopefully, as the public becomes more educated about the perils racing Greyhounds face, fewer people will support or ignore an industry that disregards the safety and welfare of the canine athletes it exploits.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." ...Mahatma Ghandi

Greyhound Adoption:
What Went Wrong

by Judy Kody Paulsen, Founder
Greyhound Companions of New Mexico

Greyhounds love to run, but most of all, Greyhounds love to please their human companions. And to a fault, they are loyal and willing to do almost anything asked of them. Running comes naturally to Greyhounds. But living in crates for up to 22 hours a day, then being stuffed into a box from which they must lunge to chase an artificial lure, was not their lot in life thousands of years ago. Once considered a breed too noble to be the "property of serfs and slaves," the Greyhound has been reduced to a mere disposable commodity.

Purchasers of racing Greyhounds often never see the dogs they buy, and sadly, the dogs' ultimate destination is unknown to these owners. Some owners don't have any interest in the fate of their dogs, while others carefully keep track of the dogs' journey through the system. This is no easy feat as demonstrated by a most disturbing case two years ago wherein an Iowa man assured owners he was placing their Greyhounds in adoptive homes, but in actuality was selling the dogs to a cardiac-research facility. Most owners had no reason to suspect their dogs were being used in research that ultimately concluded in their demise. This man had been a reputable racing-kennel owner for years and had given his word that the retired racers were being placed into loving homes.

Is this an isolated incident or is this the tip of the iceberg? As Greyhound adoption groups proliferate, so does the problem of determining their agenda. It is easy to proclaim that compassion for the animal is their driving force, but it is equally as easy to have other motives that are not immediately apparent. Owners of racers who trust that their dogs will go to responsible adoption programs have little time (and often no motivation) to investigate the groups to whom the dogs are dispersed. Wisconsin is currently the only state that requires Greyhound adoption agencies to register with state regulators. In other states, all a group has to do is say, "We find homes for retired racers," in order to have access to the surplus of racers coming off the tracks daily.

Retired racing Greyhounds are sometimes exposed to worse conditions and exploitation than what they experience in the racing industry. Most retired racers are released to adoption groups reproductively intact and capable of breeding. This invites the unscrupulous to experiment with various ways to utilize the unique qualities of the racing Greyhound.

Ranchers and farmers covet the retired racer as a working dog capable of controlling the coyote and rabbit population. Built for speed but fragile, they are poorly equipped to maneuver through hole-pitted, rough terrain and barbed wire fences without incurring serious injury. Coyote-hunting Greyhounds often perish during the hunt, but are considered expendable since there is an unlimited supply through the racing industry. When they are no longer useful as hunters, they are either shot or left in the desert injured to fend for themselves and die a slow, agonizing death. Ranchers and farmers with a conscience will make the drive to the animal shelter to deposit the dogs they consider useless.

The fleetness of the Greyhound has attracted breeders from across the board to try their luck at the "perfect" Greyhound-cross. We have seen Greyhounds used to produce "fast guard dogs" when crossed with breeds such as Rottweilers - but this goal often eludes the breeder when the pups take on the famous non-aggressive Greyhound attitude. We know of one Greyhound that was used for breeding to a sled dog in hopes that the pups would carry the sled and owner across the finish line in record time. The breeding program was abandoned and the Greyhound was sold when all the pups had the typical short, thin Greyhound coat; certainly not adequate protection from the extreme cold that sled teams must endure.

Regulating adoption groups is one way to decrease exploitation of Greyhounds, but eliminating the source for the dogs considered useless by the racing industry is a far more effective approach. Can the dog-racing industry police its trainers, kennel owners, track veterinarians, adoption groups, etc., and ensure the safety and humane treatment of the dogs prior to, during and after their racing careers? Thus far, it seems evident that concealing abuse and neglect in the racing industry is more prevalent than providing protection for Greyhounds from the unethical practices that abound as a result of pari-mutuel dog racing.

The most recent attempt by the industry to inhibit the spread of information revealing the darker side of dog racing is to repudiate any adoption group that takes an anti-racing stance. The racing industry's retaliation is in the form of offering various benefits, including monies, to groups who promise to make only positive comments about the racing industry - regardless of what they may witness to the contrary. Conversely, they penalize anti-racing adoption groups who are genuinely concerned for the welfare of the dogs, by denying them access to Greyhounds needing homes. They have chosen instead to crowd retired racers into often sub-standard conditions with adoption groups who adhere to their vow of secrecy in exchange for funding.

Such attempts at manipulating the public's perception of dog racing are counter-productive to efforts to reduce the numbers of Greyhounds being destroyed. Selecting only pro-racing or "neutral" adoption groups to place the surplus of retired racers significantly reduces the chances for a large percentage of Greyhounds to find homes. Over-crowding of a select number of adoption groups' kennels and foster homes where the dogs may wait extended periods for an adoptive home is simply denying these dogs the loving homes they deserve as quickly as possible.

Greyhound Pets of America (GPA), which professes to be a "neutral" (being neither pro- or anti-racing) adoption organization, is the nation's largest Greyhound adoption group with numerous chapters and sub-chapters across the U.S. This organization answers to the National Greyhound Association (NGA), the governing body of pari-mutuel dog racing. One large California-based Greyhound adoption group severed ties with GPA after being pressured by the National Greyhound Association to cease talking in public about negative aspects of Greyhound racing.

GPA President, Rory Goree, in a recent speech, proposed a plan to end "unnecessary Greyhound deaths" - which leads one to wonder what constitutes a necessary Greyhound death. Mr. Goree states that GPA's mission is to ensure every "adoptable" Greyhound finds a loving home, but he fails to address the reason there are so many unadoptable Greyhounds produced by the racing industry and what happens to them. These statements could easily be interpreted as rhetoric designed to camouflage what the racing industry appears to ignore: No matter how many Greyhounds they manage to find homes for, there will always be those who die mutilated in racing accidents; suffocate during transport; lie injured to perish in crates as a result of receiving little or no veterinary attention; and the list goes on and on.

Without a doubt, there are opposing opinions and philosophies about the humaneness of Greyhound racing and what to do about it, but one question should remain at the forefront: Why should any animal have to endure any suffering before it is given the chance at having a loving, adoptive home?

Ultimately, dog-racing proponents and their associates will unwittingly reveal the terrible truth about dog racing: The racing Greyhound is the loser, no matter where it places at the finish line.


A Home for Every Greyhound?

Those of us involved in finding homes for retired racing greyhounds would like to see every greyhound in a safe, loving home. Unfortunately, reality is painting a more dismal picture. Organized greyhound adoption dates back about twenty years and yet the racing greyhound is still being destroyed in numbers far greater than any other single breed of dog. The number of greyhound adoption programs across the United States has proliferated to approximately 200, yet the daunting task of finding homes for every greyhound too slow or too broken to run has remained frustrating and ineffective.

The National Greyhound Association has yet to develop an effective policy for overseeing those responsible for the welfare of the animals that create the very backbone of their industry (pari-mutuel dog racing). The following facts are evidence that adoption alone does not suffice as a solution for ending the suffering of all racing greyhounds.

The Numbers Game:

Fact: Greyhounds must be bred in large numbers in order to produce only a few exceptional racers.

Fact: The number of greyhounds destroyed is next to impossible to determine. There is virtually no way the NGA could be aware of every greyhound bred for racing. Inexperienced breeders hoping to find that "one in a million dog" have gone out of business in the infancy of their breeding programs due to the lack of finances to "finish" a dog. These dogs are often not registered with the NGA, so there would be no way of knowing what happens to them.

Fact: Many of the dogs that never make it to the track are destroyed or are given away unsterilized, which opens the door for breeding by untrained individuals wanting to try their luck at producing racing dogs or coyote or rabbit hunters (which is yet another unfortunate destination for unsuccessful racers).

Fact: Information disseminated by the NGA pertaining to the number of greyhounds destroyed each year and the number placed into adoptive homes is misleading. Using the few surveys they distributed years ago, their statistics regarding the number of dogs being placed by adoption groups is pure speculation and likely overestimated. And for reasons given in above "Facts" they cannot possibly know the massive numbers of greyhounds actually being destroyed. Their claim that the number of greyhounds being bred each year is declining, must be regarded with skepticism.

The Perfect Pet Theory:

Fact: Retired racing greyhounds can be perfect pets, but to imply that they do not have special needs as a result of the training/racing environment is to invite complications when an adopter observes behavior inconsistent with that described commonly in greyhound adoption literature. Racing greyhounds are raised, trained, and kept in environments that are very different from the home atmosphere most pets are kept in. This can create any number of difficulties for the unsuspecting adopter during the initial adaptation process and long into the period when most pets would be settled and predictable as companions. Often, greyhounds that come off the track will see more than one adoptive home as they are returned from one, two or three homes that are unwilling or unable to accommodate the peculiarities of a retired racer.

Fact: Retired racing greyhounds have often been exposed to conditions while in training and racing that can produce an animal that may need more veterinary attention than non-racers. Dental problems arising from the soft diets they are fed at the track; various illnesses resulting from the bacteria and parasites commonly found in their environment; injuries from running and just the overall stress of training, can combine to create a compromised immune system. The greyhound is generally a very sensitive dog that is easily affected by changes in its surroundings or stress in the adoptive home.

Fact: Greyhounds that have been adopted are being surrendered to various animal welfare agencies and returned to adoption programs in unacceptable numbers. This would suggest that adequate adopter screening procedures are not being enforced, and perhaps the retired racing greyhound is being casually placed into homes that are not appropriate for this unique, sensitive dog. Educating potential adopters is crucial in ensuring the greyhound is going into a well prepared home. See Greyhound Behavior & Health.

The Grim Truth:

Fact: Cases of abuse and neglect of greyhounds by trainers and breeders are underreported due to fear of retaliation by industry peers. The relatively small number of cases reported usually come from those who have defected from the industry in abhorrence of industry injustices and grotesque abuses witnessed.

Fact: Because greyhounds are generally docile by nature, they are prime specimens for research and veterinary teaching schools. The number of greyhounds turned over to these institutions has been greatly underestimated as demonstrated by a recent disclosure that over 900 greyhounds had been surrendered by trainers to a Colorado veterinary school in one year. The figures had been previously reported to be in the range of 300 until greyhound rights advocates uncovered the grisly truth. The dean of this veterinary school admits they destroy 500 greyhounds per year that are not even used for any teaching purposes.

Fact: After their association with the racing industry was exposed, the Colorado university agreed to eliminate their practice of destroying the glut of dogs coming off the Colorado race tracks; however, it is interesting to note that the number of dogs now available to adoption programs in that area is nowhere near the large numbers once being turned over to the university — where are those dogs? Are they being shipped off to other areas where they can be disposed of without the media attention and heightened public awareness that now exists in Colorado?

Fact: Throughout the racing seasons all across the US, slow and injured dogs are loaded onto "kill trucks" to make room for better performers in the kennel. Some are euthanised, others are less fortunate and are shot or bludgeoned to death.

Fact: Greyhounds are transported long distances during the heat of summer in trucks without air conditioning. There have been tragic reports of trucks reaching their destination only to open the compartments and find dead or dying greyhounds as a result of exposure to extreme heat.

Fact: Other species of animals are destroyed as a result of the dog racing industry, besides dogs. Methods for training the most successful racers involve the torture and mutilation of animals that are used as "live lure" to heighten the prey instinct of the greyhound in training. Dogs trained by this method are considered ineligible for competing on most tracks; however, track officials often turn their heads to allow these more aggressive, crowd-pleasing dogs to compete.

For information on how you can help and details on some of the abuses within the industry, refer to GREY2K USA, End Tucson Greyhound Racing, and Greyhound Protection League.

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