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.
THE RAMIFICATIONS OF NEUTRALITY.
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,
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
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
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
"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 again...click here.
Greyhound Advocacy and Adoption A History
By Susan Netboy
(Excerpt from Spring/Summer 2008 issue of GCNM News)
Today, as we lovingly indulge our pet greyhounds every need, care for foster dogs, schedule time for meet and greets and
all the other tasks involved in greyhound adoption, its 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. Its 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 moments 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
Americas 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 industrys 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 industrys 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 couldnt 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 wasnt 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 days 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 didnt 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 arent being
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
publics 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 industrys 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 dAlene, Cherry Lake, Tucson, Summerfield, Dowling Park, Ballinger and
Pensacola seared the plight of the racing greyhound into the entire countrys 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 cant 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 didnt 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 didnt matter that their
derogatory epithets didnt represent the truth which, as they say, is the first casualty of war.
But it wasnt 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 industrys 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
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 industrys 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
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. Its 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 anyones guess, but considering the tone of the editorial which essentially demonizes greyhound welfare advocates, one must wonder whats going on here.
Its 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 years 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 (www.greyhounds.org), Joan Eidinger of Greyhound Network News (www.greyhoundnetworknews.org), Christine Dorchak and Carey Thiel of GREY2K USA (www.GREY2KUSA.org) 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 dont 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 harms 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 (www.gcnm.org) 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 Didnt 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
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 Americas 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 Owners 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.
Guardias 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, its become abundantly clear that many people are confused about whos 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 publics 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
dont 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:
And the #1 sign you are dealing with a pro-racing group/person:
- 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 theyd 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 thats 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.
Their favorite comment is, Were neutral on the racing issue and want to avoid politics. (This statement is akin to saying youre
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
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, dont 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 sheeps
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 Americas 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 Gorees 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 Americas
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 theres 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
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 nations 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, thats 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 everyones minds at ease
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 theres 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
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 Gorees decision to consort with the Juarez track owners.
Judging by the calls and emails we have received, there are many GPA people troubled by Gorees handling of and involvement
in this issue.
Response to GPA's Rebuttal on Greyhounds
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 Americas 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 Americas 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. Becks 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 couldve 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
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 its 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 email@example.com
(be prepared for a canned response telling you to listen to his weekly radio show) or to Candy Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also pass on your concerns to email@example.com (this is the email address for the greyhound racing industrys 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 publics 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 Kevins testimony before the Kansas State Legislatures 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. Mans best friend: a dog. Please let our best friends be dogs in Kansas.
For updates on HB 2508 please visit http://www.greyhoundcentral.org/redefine/.
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 NGAs 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
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.
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.
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.
Perfect Pet Theory:
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.
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
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
End Tucson Greyhound Racing, and
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