NGA RESPONDS TO HSUS PROPAGANDA IN KC STAR

The Kansas City Star has published NGA’s response to an HSUS attack on greyhound racing in Kansas published in the January 7 edition. The op-ed piece by HSUS legislative director Kelly Kultala opposed the re-authorization of greyhound racing in Kansas.

NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland responded that Kultala’s column was misleading and made “outlandish claims” about greyhound racing. Here’s the full text of the letter as edited by the Star and published on January 25.

Racing dogs

A Jan. 8 op-ed made several misleading references to “subsidies” for racing greyhounds. (7A, “Dog racing not the answer for Kansas’ budget”). The money allocated to purses in Kansas, as in several other states, comes from special-purpose taxes imposed on gambling dollars and specifically dedicated to racing purses.

It also makes outlandish claims as to the operation of greyhound farms and kennels. It should be obvious that greyhounds must receive the best possible care to perform at maximum potential on the track.

Greyhound breeding farms and kennels are operated at, and held to, extremely high standards. We not only have to meet state and local regulations, but we also enforce our own rigorous standards through unannounced inspections. We ban violators for life.

It cites injury numbers that are absurdly inaccurate. The fact is that injuries occur in less than one-half of 1 percent of all racing starts nationwide, and the majority are minor enough to allow the greyhounds to return to racing in a matter of weeks.

Even when an injury prevents a return to racing, the greyhounds can transition seamlessly to life as a pampered family pet. In fact, more than 95 percent of all racing greyhounds are either placed in adoptive homes or returned to their owners as pets when they retire.

Studies show that reopening Kansas racing facilities would generate some 4,000 jobs, about $200 million in annual wages and $23 million in annual state and local revenue while piping much-needed money to ranchers, farmers, horse and dog breeders and the services they use and employ. It is a win-win situation for Kansas.

Our legislators should not let extreme animal-rights propaganda get in the way of bringing these huge benefits to the people of our state.

James Gartland

Executive Director

National Greyhound Association

Abilene, Kan.

 

 

NGA CALLS FOR SENSIBLE, FAIR GREYHOUND DRUG TESTING POLICY

The National Greyhound Association (NGA) is calling on the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, to work with the greyhound racing industry to promulgate and publish “a sensible, veterinary-based drug testing regimen that protects greyhound health, ensures the integrity of the sport, and provides a fair basis for consistent compliance and enforcement.”

The call comes in response to a December 22 ruling by Administrative Law Judge Lawrence P. Stevenson, who found that state regulators acted illegally earlier this year when they suspended the licenses of two greyhound trainers after the dogs tested positive for traces of a cocaine metabolite. The trainers petitioned the state to invalidate the suspensions, in part because the testing was based on procedures the DPBR was ordered to discontinue in 2015.

The judge found that the positive tests were the result of improper urine sampling procedures that were never officially adopted as state law. The state’s failure to officially promulgate and publish the drug-testing rules effectively invalidates any pending enforcement actions.

Attorney Jennifer Rosenblum, who represented the suspended trainers, said Judge Stevenson has yet to rule on another issue raised in the petition, the contention that the state has failed to establish and publish sensible threshold levels for the substances showing up in trace amounts. A ruling on that count is expected in January.

“Class I violations are being reported for incredibly low trace levels of environmental contaminants that can easily be transferred to greyhounds from the people and objects around them,” Rosenblum said. “Because the Department has never adopted or published acceptable thresholds for any substances, even the tiniest trace amounts are being treated as major violations. That’s not responsible regulation, and it defies common sense.”

NGA Executive Director James Gartland said his organization welcomed the judge’s ruling, and is eager to work constructively with Florida regulators to develop a more responsible drug-testing policy based on sound veterinary science.

“Humans and animals, including greyhounds, can easily pick up trace amounts of cocaine and other drugs from their environment,” Gartland said. “The state should consult with veterinary experts to develop sensible policies that distinguish between trace amounts resulting from environmental contaminants and higher amounts that suggest intentional doping to affect greyhound performance.”

Gartland concluded, “What we have now is a sloppy, careless mess of unadopted, unpublished and inconsistent procedures that produce unfair results. That’s why the judge ruled as he did. Now we have an opportunity to create a much better policy that is fair, professional and based on common-sense standards. The NGA strongly supports that kind of regulatory approach.”

AGC RESCINDS ONE OF TWO GAPY AWARDS

In light of new information received since the announcement of the 2017 Greyhound Adoption Program of the Year (GAPY) honors last week, the AGC Board of Directors has voted to rescind the award given to the Atlanta, Georgia group. The other GAPY award winner, Maritime Greyhound Adoption Program of New Brunswick, Canada, is not affected by the action.

GREY2K DRUG REPORT MERITS “NO CONFIDENCE,” AGC SAYS

AGC Communications Coordinator Jim Gartland said today that Grey2K’s most recent attack on greyhound racing should be taken “with a grain of salt.”  He made the comment in a statement responding to the Grey2K document, “No Confidence: Drugs in the American Greyhound Industry,” published yesterday. Here is the complete text of the AGC statement:

The pseudo-report released today by Grey2K, “No Confidence,” is aptly named, since the public should have no confidence in the data or conclusions expressed in it. As usual, Grey2K has manufactured an issue where there is none.

It is noteworthy that Grey2K could point to only 847 positive drug tests over a ten-year period. To put that number in context, out of more than 6,000,000 racing starts in the past ten years, a total of 847 greyhounds tested positive for drugs. That’s a .0001percent rate of positive tests–less than a ten-thousandth of one percent.

Grey2K hypes the significance of the 71 positive cocaine tests, but when examined against those 6,000,000 racing starts over ten years, that incidence rate is even lower–it’s .00001, or less than a one-hundred thousandth of one percent.

Grey2K also deliberately failed to mention that these tests showed no major drug presence but merely traces of cocaine or cocaine metabolites, most often attributable to contact with and transfer from human handlers, just as U.S. currency contains trace amounts of cocaine left behind by the people who handle it.

The fact is that there has never been a single documented instance where a racing greyhound’s performance was found to have been measurably enhanced by the ingestion of illegal drugs. In fact, veterinarians tell us that a drug dose large enough to significantly enhance a greyhound’s performance would probably kill the dog.

The steroid issue is similarly bogus. The steroids used to control estrus and manage reproduction in female greyhounds while they are actively engaged in racing bears virtually no resemblance to the high-powered drugs used by athletes and body builders. They are administered in a very low dose under veterinary supervision, have no performance consequences and no negative side effects for the dogs.

Grey2K’s “No Confidence” report presents data without context and conclusions without evidence. It is designed for one purpose and one purpose alone–to attract media attention and raise money. The media and the public should take it with a grain of salt.

 

AGC ANNOUNCES 2017 GAPY AWARD WINNERS

The American Greyhound Council (AGC) has recognized two outstanding greyhound adoption programs as the 2017 Greyhound Adoption Programs of the Year (GAPY). They are Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta, located in Stone Mountain, Georgia; and Maritime Greyhound Adoption Program (MGAP), located in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta Founder Carl Viener said he got into greyhound adoption by accident. In 1980, he found a stray Italian greyhound and couldn’t locate its owner, so he began visiting Victoryland in Alabama to learn more about greyhounds. He fell in love with the breed and the rest, as they say, is history.

Viener said he and his small brigade of volunteers typically place 90-100 greyhounds a year, and have adopted out over 6,000 greyhounds since the organization was founded. The group is based out of a kennel facility at Viener’s home, and the dogs are housed there until they are moved to their forever homes.

Most of the greyhounds placed through the Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta program come from Jacksonville and other Florida tracks, according to Carl. The majority are placed in adoptive homes within a 100-mile radius of Stone Mountain so that volunteers can provide support and assistance to the new owners.

When he learned that Adopt A Greyhound Atlanta was one of the two GAPY Award winners for this year, Viener said, “I’ve been waiting for years for this. I’ve seen the greyhound racing industry evolve over the past 20 years, and I’ve seen how committed they are to greyhound adoption.”

More than sixteen hundred miles north of Stone Mountain, Maritime Greyhound Adoption Program Founder Deb Levasseur and her volunteers place over 100 greyhounds a year throughout Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces.

Levasseur, a Certified Canine Behavior Therapist, founded MGAP in 2003 because she and other local greyhound adopters recognized the need for an adoption group in the area. Her expertise in canine behavior has informed the approach that MGAP takes in preparing greyhounds for life as pampered and beloved family pets.

MGAP utilizes a system of foster homes and positive behavior training for greyhounds entering the adoption system to help ease their transition from the track to home life. Levasseur said this process helps ensure that every greyhound is placed in a home that’s a good fit for the dog’s unique disposition and temperament. The dogs learn how to live with children and other animals, climb stairs, and cope with family life.

Deb said she is especially proud of MGAP’s online training program. After prospective greyhound owners complete a screening interview to qualify for adoption, they receive free access to a comprehensive online training course that covers virtually everything they need to know about building a successful relationship with their new pet.

“It’s so important for new greyhound owners to know what to expect,” Deb noted. “We cover everything from the basics of feeding, nutrition and grooming to more advanced things like house and yard training, setting boundaries, and helping your greyhound avoid separation anxiety.”

“We’re really thrilled to receive this award,” said Levasseur. “It’s very special to get honored for doing something you love to do. And the donation will be greatly appreciated too!”

Each of the GAPY award-winning organizations will receive a donation of $1,000, and a plaque for permanent display.

AGC President Bill Lee paid tribute to the award winners and added that every adoption group makes an important contribution.

“This year’s winners are both exceptional, but every group nominated had a great story to tell,” Lee said. “And for every group that gets nominated, there are dozens more who haven’t yet been nominated but continue to do the great work of greyhound adoption, day in and day out. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

 

 

 

NO MORE GREYHOUNDS TO BLOOD BANKS, NGA SAYS

The National Greyhound Association (NGA) has issued a new policy that, effective immediately, outlines the organization’s parameters and guidance with regard to the use of NGA registered greyhounds for the purpose of blood donation. NGA Executive Director, Jim Gartland said that the policy is long overdue.

“Although this policy has been drafted and adopted based on recent events, it has been a long time coming and we intend to fully see it through going forward,” he said.

Members of the NGA and associated adoption groups will be expected to comply with the policy and will be held accountable for any breach of its rules.

* * * * * * * * * *

 NGA Blood Donor Policy for NGA Members

The NGA Board mandates that members refrain from direct involvement with, or directly supplying animals to, animal blood donation facilities and animal blood donor colonies.  NGA members found in violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action by the Board up to and including termination of membership.

If an NGA member would like their greyhound to be considered for use as a blood donor, this can be done through pre-approved adoption programs affiliated with legitimate, sanctioned blood banks, a list of which can be obtained through the NGA.

NGA Blood Donor Policy for Adoption Programs

Any greyhound adoption program must be pre-approved by the NGA to use greyhounds for the purpose of blood donation prior to adoption and can only be done in conjunction with legitimate, sanctioned blood banks.

The adoption program must establish a written, contractual relationship in which the adoption program and the blood bank agree that any greyhound used for blood donation will only be used for a limited period of time, not more than 18 months and not to exceed the 7th birthday of the greyhound. The greyhound adoption program and the blood bank must agree that all documentation relating to the blood donor, including blood draw information, is available for inspection by the greyhound adoption program or a representative of the NGA at any time.

The blood bank must provide the adoption program, or any other named facility, all documented information on blood draws every six months. Prior to the donation period, the greyhound will be spayed or neutered, receive a full medical and dental exam and treatment and must obtain proof of clearance. This must be done by either the greyhound adoption program or the blood donation facility with the adoption program being responsible to forward this documentation to the NGA.

After the donation period, the greyhound will receive a full medical and dental exam and treatment with photographs and proof of clearance. This medical treatment must be done by either the greyhound adoption program or the blood donation facility with the adoption program being responsible to forward this documentation to the NGA.

The adoption program that makes the arrangement for the greyhound blood donor is then obligated to place the greyhound into an adoptive home after the donation period. All documentation regarding greyhound blood donors must be sent to the National Greyhound Association for review and filing. The adoption program is required to keep a copy of these files for seven (7) years and files must be available for inspection by designated NGA members at any time.

Any deficiency or violation in this policy by the adoption program may lead to termination from the program and/or from receiving NGA greyhounds for the purpose of adoption going forward. All adoption programs affiliated with blood donor programs must reapply for approval every two years.

BLOOD BANK GREYHOUNDS WARMLY WELCOMED BY ADOPTION GROUPS

A group of 151 greyhounds transferred out of a pet blood bank in Cherokee, Texas, have been warmly welcomed by adoption groups in Texas, Arizona and other southwest locations. The effort was jointly coordinated and funded by the Texas Greyhound Association (TGA), the National Greyhound Association (NGA) and the American Greyhound Council (AGC).

“We have been impressed with the overall excellent health and condition of these greyhounds,” said TGA President David Peck. “The dogs were checked by a veterinarian for tick-borne illnesses and any other health issues before their release, and the blood bank is providing those records to help adoption groups avoid unnecessary veterinary expense where possible.”

NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland said that dozens of adoption groups from around the country volunteered to take blood bank greyhounds. Preference was given to groups within a relatively short travel distance to minimize transport time.

“It takes a lot of hands on deck to manage the relocation of so many greyhounds,” Gartland said. “Thanks to the hard work of the adoption community, the greyhound racing associations and the folks at the Pet Blood Bank, these dogs are on their way to loving homes, in good health and ready to begin their new lives as family pets. “

BLOOD BANK GREYHOUNDS SET FOR IMMEDIATE TRANSITION TO ADOPTION PROGRAMS

The greyhounds housed at the Pet Blood Bank in Cherokee, TX, will be transferred into adoption programs starting this weekend under a joint effort by the Texas Greyhound Association (TGA), the National Greyhound Association (NGA), the American Greyhound Council (AGC), the blood bank facility, and several regional adoption groups, including the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas (GALT).

Russ Baker, attorney for the Pet Blood Bank, said all greyhounds at the facility will receive medical and dental examinations so that any health issues can be identified and addressed before the dogs enter adoption programs. The greyhounds have received regular veterinary care during their time at the Pet Blood Bank, and most appear to be in good health.

Baker said the blood bank will close its doors after the greyhounds have been removed, a development he blames on the extreme animal rights group PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

PeTA sent various media outlets an “undercover” video purporting to show greyhounds in ill health at the blood bank. The video has not been independently authenticated, and Baker said it grossly misrepresents blood bank operations. Law enforcement authorities and representatives of the TGA inspected the facility and confirmed that the greyhounds there appeared generally healthy. That didn’t stop PeTA, Baker said.

“The Pet Blood Bank’s decision to close was a business decision. Despite the fact that all inspections have verified that the greyhounds were healthy and receiving proper care, PeTA has continued to harass and threaten our clients. Their actions have caused our long-standing customer relationships to be terminated,” Baker said. “It’s clear that this animal rights attack was not about the truth but about raising funds through misrepresentation. PeTA created a controversy where none existed; it’s how they operate.”

PeTA has become famous for controversial campaigns , including ads comparing meat lovers to serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer and likening the consumption of chicken to the Holocaust. The organization also has been caught up in a controversy regarding its so-called pet shelter and adoption center, which since 1998 has euthanized, on average, nearly 86 percent of the pets housed there, according to media reports and state records.

In contrast, greyhound racing associations report that more than 95 percent of all registered greyhounds are adopted or returned to their owners as pets when they retire.

“We’re confident that every greyhound at the blood bank will be on its way to a loving new home within the next few days,” said Gartland. “We appreciate the cooperation of the blood bank management in helping us achieve that outcome.”

 

TEXAS GREYHOUND ASSOCIATION PROBES PET BLOOD BANK CONDITIONS

The Texas Greyhound Association (TGA) is investigating the care of retired racing greyhounds at a central Texas pet blood bank  in response to the release of a PeTA video that purports to show unhealthy greyhounds living in poor conditions at the facility.

The TGA has issued the following statement on the probe:

Although we are well aware of PeTA’s reputation for distorting the facts to raise money and get media coverage, the Texas Greyhound Association (TGA) takes any matters relating to greyhound welfare very seriously. We are currently investigating the allegations made against Pet Blood Bank Inc. A TGA representative visited the facility yesterday to conduct an initial inspection and found no signs of the serious neglect shown in the PeTA video. At the same time, a representative of the sheriff’s office arrived, and after inspecting the facility, indicated that he saw no evidence of seriously problematic conditions. The operator of the Pet Blood Bank advised us that he believed the video may have been taken several years ago when the facility was under previous ownership.
 
However, we are not yet satisfied. We are working with the sheriff’s department to arrange an independent veterinary inspection of the facility and the dogs housed there to get a  more in-depth understanding of the situation. Once we have completed that process and have all the facts, we will determine what further actions may be necessary.
The sheriff of San Saba County, where Cherokee, TX is located, also issued a statement after visiting the blood bank facility, according to a report on the website of KXXV-TV, the ABC affiliate in Central Texas. The statement read as follows:
“It has come to the attention of the Sheriff’s Office of a story on the internet that there is a business in our county that has animals (Greyhounds) that are being abused and neglected. A Deputy went to the reported location and met with the owner who gave him free and unlimited access to the facility. The Deputy could see that all animals had food, water, and shelter and could find no signs of abuse or neglect and the animals appeared to be healthy. Also on scene was an Inspector with the Texas Greyhound Association would also found the story to be baseless. The Deputy then tracked down the Veterinarian who has been on location to check the animals within the recent months and he had never observed anything that would cause concern. The Sheriff and his Deputies take very seriously reports of abuse or neglect of wildlife, domesticated livestock, domesticated pets. We will continue to investigate any reports we are made aware of.”

 

THERE’S STILL TIME–GAPY NOMINATIONS TO CLOSE OCTOBER 1

Nominations for the Greyhound Adoption Program of the Year (GAPY) Award will close October 1. So far, ten groups have been nominated, including:

  • It’s a Grey Area Adoption–Pearl River, LA
  • G.R.A.C.E. (Greyhound Retirement Adoption Care Education)–Belleville, MI
  • GEM (Greyhounds of Eastern Michigan)–Wayne, MI
  • Greyhound Rescue Society of TX–Dallas, TX
  • GST’s Sun State Greyhound Adoption–Hialeah, FL
  • Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption–La Habra Heights, FL
  • Greyhound Adoption Service–Salisbury, MA
  • Maritime Greyhound Adoption Program–Moncton, Alberta, Canada
  • Northern Sky Greyhound Adoption–Sturgeon City, Alberta, Canada
  • Adopt a Greyhound Atlanta–Stone Mountain, GA

Two outstanding greyhound programs will be recognized. Each will receive a $1,000 grant and a permanent plaque. Any individual or organization may nominate a candidate for the award. To be eligible, the nominated organization must have adopted out or facilitated the adoption of at least 36 greyhounds during the previous calendar year.

It is only necessary to nominate a group once; the number of nominations received for any given group is not a factor in making the award.