NGA OFFERS HELP IN OHIO INVESTIGATION

The National Greyhound Association (NGA) has offered assistance to Logan County, OH officials investigating the deaths of 14 dogs, including some that may be greyhounds, found skinned and mutilated near a creek in Rush Lake Township.  

NGA Executive Director Gary Guccione said he advised the county’s humane agent, Joni Dailey, that his organization may be able to identify any dead dogs that appear to be greyhounds through DNA records.

“The NGA collects DNA samples from registered greyhounds, so there is a good chance, if these dogs are actually greyhounds, that we might be able to identify them and locate their owners,” Guccione said.

Although a local veterinarian identified some of the dead dogs as greyhounds, Guccione said coyote remains are often mistaken for greyhound carcasses.  If the dogs turn out to be registered greyhounds, the NGA’s own investigative and disciplinary process would be triggered.

“The NGA has adopted very tough rules to ensure that greyhound owners take responsibility for their dogs from birth to retirement,” Guccione said.  “People who violate those rules, especially in such an egregious way as this, are subject to lifetime expulsion from the sport.”

 “It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to harm animals in this way,” Guccione concluded.  “Our members are in the greyhound business because they love dogs; when something like this happens, we want to help in any way we can to get to the bottom of it.”

 

TRACK OPERATORS SEEK NOMINATIONS FOR GREYHOUND PERSON OF YEAR

The American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) has announced that it is seeking nominations for the 2009 Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year.  This award recognizes a volunteer who has generously given of his or her time to assist in placing former racing greyhounds into homes as pets.

“There are many dedicated volunteers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work tirelessly to find suitable homes for greyhounds that have completed their racing careers,” said Karen Keelan, president of the AGTOA.  “Each year, as a tribute to them all, we honor one of these individuals.”

Anyone can nominate an individual to receive this recognition.  The recipient will be selected based on the individual’s dedication and contribution to greyhound adoption during that year.

The Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year will be honored at the AGTOA’s annual meeting in March 2010 in Las Vegas. In addition to paying for travel and accommodations for the trip, the AGTOA will make a $500 donation to an adoption group of the honoree’s choice.

For a nomination form or more information, click here or call Dennis Bicsak (561) 615-3916.  Nomination forms must be received by August 28, 2009 for consideration.

The Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year was established in 2007.  Past winners are Cheryl King, Heart of Texas Greyhound Inc. (2007) and Dennis Tyler, Central Florida Greyhound Pets of America (2008).

The AGTOA, formed in 1946, is a non-profit corporation comprised of greyhound race track owners and operators throughout the nation.

 

DORCHAK E-MAIL REVEALS GREY2K’S ANTI-WELFARE STANCE

Opponents of New Hampshire House Bill 630, which would ban live greyhound racing in the state, may have been the only people who weren’t surprised recently when Grey2K President Christine Dorchak circulated an e-mail to New Hampshire "animal advocates" urging them to "refrain from interacting" with Greyhound Pets of America (GPA), the nation’s largest independent greyhound adoption organization.

Dorchak attacked GPA for testifying against Grey2K bills in other states, describing the adoption organization as "an arm of the racing industry."  Her e-mail underscored what adoption advocates inside and outside greyhound racing have been saying for years–that Grey2K isn’t really about animal welfare at all.

Until Dorchak’s e-mail surfaced, some legislators might have been persuaded that Grey2K’s focus was the welfare of greyhounds.  However, the hostile e-mail, actively discouraging cooperation and communication with a leading adoption organization, revealed Grey2K’s extreme preference for political warfare over greyhound welfare.

GPA members responded quickly.  Appearing before the New Hampshire House Local and Regulated Revenues Committee, Reverend Jeffrey Betterini, director of the central New Hampshire chapter of GPA, said, "We at GPA are completely neutral on the issue of racing.  What we do is receive retired greyhound racers, foster them in volunteer homes, make them ready for adoption, and find them forever families."

Betterini also told legislators that New Hampshire’s laws are well defined when it comes to animal care, so the action to ban live racing on animal welfare grounds is "unnecessary and unwarranted."

If legislators decide to pass the bill, Betterini concluded, they should amend it to include funding for the adoption of the greyhounds to be displaced.

"When a track closes, the suddenly increased demand for adoptive homes for the greyhounds is not contained to the local area or even the state," he said.  "It is felt across the nation." 

 

 

 

 

FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE: INDUSTRY LEADERS TESTIFY AGAINST GREY2K BILL

AGTOA President Karen Keelan, owner of Seabrook Greyhound Park, and NGA Board Member Fred Fulchino appeared before a New Hampshire legislative committee on February 10 to oppose a Grey2K-driven bill that would ban greyhound racing in the state.

Keelan, whose greyhound track is one of two still conducting live racing in New Hampshire, told the committee that Grey2K’s campaign is "part of a radical nationwide effort to eliminate live greyhound racing."  She said Grey2K has "run an emotional campaign based on half-truths and distorted information."

The track owner warned legislators that bowing to animal rights pressure on greyhound racing would set a dangerous precedent, opening the door to future animal rights campaigns against agriculture, hunting and fishing, pet breeding and even biomedical research.

"These campaigns often result in poor public policy with serious unintended consequences to government as well as the affected enterprises," Keelan noted.

As an example, she cited the idea, put forth by Grey2K and its supporters, that live racing should be banned simply because it is not currently profitable.

"The free market should dictate what happens to our business," Keelan emphasized, "not the distortions that Grey2K would have you believe." 

Her concerns were echoed by Fred Fulchino, New England District Representative for the National Greyhound Association (NGA), and a leading greyhound breeder and kennel operator.  "There is no justification, either economic or on animal welfare grounds, for eliminating our business," he told lawmakers.

After describing the NGA’s farm inspection and animal care policies, Fulchino explained that those who violate industry standards are subject to lifetime expulsion from greyhound racing, and others prohibited from doing business with them.

Fulchino also outlined greyhound racing’s adoption programs, noting that more than 90 percent of all registered greyhounds are either adopted or returned to the farm as pets or breeders when they retire.

"As New Hampshire legislators, you can be proud that one of your state’s tracks, Seabrook Greyhound Park, has been a national leader in the adoption effort," he noted.

Fulchino also called the attention of legislators to a recent e-mail from Grey2K’s founder to New Hampshire animal advocates. Christine Dorchak’s e-mail urged readers to "refrain from interacting with" Greyhound Pets of America (GPA), the nation’s largest independent adoption organization.  Grey2K’s attempt to discourage cooperation on greyhound adoption revealed that its agenda is more about political warfare than greyhound welfare, he said.

The committee is expected to forward its recommendation next week.  In New Hampshire, all bills are referred out of committee with recommendations for or against passage by the full legislature.

 

NAIA SPEAKS OUT IN SUPPORT OF GREYHOUND RACING

The National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA), a leading advocate for animals and responsible animal users, has submitted written testimony in support of greyhound racing to the New Hampshire legislative committee that is considering a bill to ban the sport.

 On February 10, New Hampshire legislators received  testimony from NAIA founder Patti Strand urging rejection of HB 630,an animal rights-driven bill to ban greyhound racing in the state.  Although Strand was unable to attend the hearing, her comments were submitted in writing to committee members.

"Part of our mission is to counter the misinformation from radicals in the animal rights movement wherever and whenever we encounter it, including state legislatures," Strand said in her written statement.  "That’s why we are submitting this testimony today."

Strand, whose organization has fought animal rights extremism for nearly two decades, advised legislators that the Grey2K campaign, like other animal rights initiatives, is not really about animal welfare at all.

"It’s about an agenda that would eventually deny our right as consumers to eat meat, drink milk, wear leather or fur, breed pets, hunt and fish, and even benefit from biomedical research," she said.

Understanding the difference between animal welfare and animal rights is vital for public policy makers, Strand explained.

"The animal welfare view is that it is ethically acceptable to make use of animals as long as we do so responsibly and humanely," she said.  "The animal rights view holds that animals are not ours to eat, wear or experiment on."

Strand noted that Grey2K has produced no compelling evidence that New Hampshire racing greyhounds do not receive proper care.  Since the group has called for no greyhound welfare reforms or regulatory changes, their agenda is clearly political warfare over greyhound welfare, she concluded.

More information about the National Animal Interest Alliance can be found at www.naiaonline.org.

 

 

 

GREYHOUNDS GET ACUPUNCTURE AT DERBY LANE

Tampa TV station highlights greyhound owner’s use of ancient medicine to benefit racers.

Here’s the story as filed on 10Connect.Com by reporter Angela Jacobs:

St. Petersburg, FL- As soon as greyhound owner Catherine D’arcy laid eyes on Orla, a red brindle puppy, she had to buy her.

"Her pet name is Orla, which is Irish for gold," says Catherine.

As she watched the dog become a racer for her father’s kennel, she became very attached to the beautiful three year old. You can imagine her concern when a muscle problem began to slow the greyhound who raced as Greys Touch Gold.

Catherine D’arcy: "And because she was mine, I thought I would do anything to make her feel better."

Enter Dr. Diane Giordan with some inch-long needles.

"We’re gonna treat her for some muscle strain and sprain." says Dr. Giordan who treats patients at Millennium Medical in St. Petersburg. "We insert them into certain points in the body to help the energy flow, or the chi, flow freer."

The freer the chi, the healthier the dog says Giordan, who treats humans and dogs and is a greyhound owner herself. She believes the combination of acupuncture, massage, and herbs helps injuries heal quicker. It’s a weekly 15 minute process Orla seems to savor.

"If anything system off a little bit, we can get them running," says Dr. Giordan. "And everything flowing, get the energy flowing, so that they have much better results with what they do- which is run.

After a year of Dr. Giordan’s therapy this patient recovered to win nine races including the 2008 St. Pete Derby.

"I think it’s been amazing," says Catherine. What Diane has done is remarkable. You can see the improvement. Even in her coat, like her coat’s gotten better. "

Kennel Owner Mick D’arcy says he likes seeing how acupuncture makes the dogs happy. "To me, (that) is the main thing. You know when Diane comes into the kennel, there’s no such thing as a dog not coming out of the crate. He comes bouncin’ out to her, so we know it’s not hurting them."

"Acupuncture is five thousand years old and it’s gotta be around for some reason. I mean, it’s actually working," says Dr. Giordan. "It works on people, it works on dogs, and anything I can do to help the dogs, I certainly will. And I think that alternative medicine is a very good answer to many of their injuries and illnesses."

Approaching her fourth birthday, Greys Touch Gold was retired in October. She finished her career with 27 top four finishes.

www.tampabays10.com/news/local/story.aspx

AGC URGES PROPER HANDLING OF GUAM GREYHOUNDS

American Greyhound Council (AGC) Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione has written letters to Guam Governor Felix P. Camacho and E. J. Calvo, general manager of the Guam Greyhound Track, calling for proper handling of the greyhounds displaced by the track’s recent closing.

 

 The letters were in response to recent reports that the Guam track was releasing greyhounds at random without proper preparation and screening of prospective owners.

 

In his letter to Governor Camacho, Guccione wrote, "We emphatically support all efforts to place the retired greyhounds in good homes through credible adoption agencies.  It is essential that the greyhounds in question are sterilized prior to placement to prevent unwanted pregnancies or nefarious efforts to breed these dogs for the sake of profiting."

 

Guccione urged Camacho to make whatever effort is needed toward that end.

 

Writing to Calvo, Guccione noted that U.S. tracks, when faced with seasonal or permanent closings, have assumed responsibility for maintaining the displaced greyhounds during their transition to retirement and adoption.

 

"This is never easy, nor without substantial expense," Guccione said.  "However, doing less would be counterproductive.  Any random placing of greyhounds that results in putting the greyhounds at risk in any manner is simply counterproductive–very bad for the greyhounds, and a bad reflection on the track itself, as well as its management and ownership."

 

A number of adoption groups are working to bring the greyhounds still available for adoption to the U.S. to ensure their welfare while they await permanent adoption.  The AGC has offered its support and assistance.

 

 

 

 

 

‘ANIMAL PLANET’ HONORS GREYHOUND ADOPTION VOLUNTEER

A leading greyhound adoption advocate has been honored by Animal Planet, the cable TV network devoted to animals, as HERO OF THE YEAR. 

Eileen McCaughern of Bethany, CT, was recognized for her "extraordinary service for the welfare of animals."  The award was announced on December 11 as part of Animal Planet’s "Heroes Week."

Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet Media, said that McCaughern and other award winners have "vastly improved the lives of countless dogs and cats through their selfless and compassionate devotion."

Founder of Retired Greyhounds as Pets (REGAP) of Connecticut, Inc. and the country’s first matching funds greyhound retirement home, Eileen has dedicated the past 35 years to rescuing more than 5,000 retired canine athletes. She works a full-time job and two part-time jobs in order to defray the costs associated with rescuing greyhounds. Eileen recently opened a kennel with funding secured from the American Greyhound Council, state grants, local businesses, and generous individuals. 

"Greyhounds are so special and so deserving of enjoying their retirement as pets in wonderful homes after their racing careers have ended," says Eileen. "This honor will bring even more visibility to retired greyhounds, helping them find adoptive homes. Being Animal Planet’s 2008 Hero of the Year is truly an incredible honor, and I am so proud it has been bestowed on me and the greyhounds."

As HERO OF THE YEAR, Eileen will receive a $10,000 donation to her charity, REGAP of Connecticut, and a trip for two to her choice destination that supports an animal welfare cause. 

DENNIS TYLER NAMED GREYHOUND ADOPTION PERSON OF THE YEAR

Florida GPA volunteer praised for "24-hour-a-day commitment" to placing retired racers.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (December 4, 2008)—The American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) announced that it has selected Dennis Tyler of Central Florida Greyhound Pets of America (GPA) as its 2008 Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year. The award recognizes individuals who are dedicated to placing former racing greyhounds into qualified homes as pets.

“All nominees deserve to be recognized for their commitment to finding homes for greyhounds once they retire from racing,” said Karen Keelan, president of the AGTOA. “It was difficult to select only one winner from so many dedicated individuals.”

After a great deal of deliberation, Dennis Tyler was selected for his 24-hour-a-day commitment to finding good homes for retired greyhounds including those with special needs; for caring for the health and welfare of the dogs until they can be transported to adoption organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada; for raising funds to support his adoption activities; and for serving as a mentor to new adoption organizations.

Since 1996, Dennis and his wife, Claire, have worked as a full-time team to place 6,077 greyhounds retiring from Melbourne Greyhound Park into adoptive homes. They host fundraisers to pay for the medical expenses for hard-to-place greyhounds so they can be offered to adoption groups at no charge.

According to Nanette McClay of Greyhound Adoption of Greater Rochester, N.Y., “Dennis does an excellent job of profiling greyhounds, organizing spaying/neutering and transporting them to groups for adoption. When he and Claire end their 24-hour dog hauler trips to Buffalo, we can see the satisfaction in their tired faces.”

Alane Shultz of Springfield, Mo. said that Dennis “cultivates new adoption groups by mentoring them and sharing a wealth of knowledge and years of experience with newbies.”

Dennis, accompanied by Claire, will be recognized on March 23, 2009 at the AGTOA annual meeting in Las Vegas. The AGTOA will donate $500 to the Central Florida GPA and pay for the couple’s travel expenses to accept the award.

“I am very honored to be singled out as Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year,” said Tyler. “There are many other extremely dedicated individuals who are equally as committed to finding homes for retired greyhounds. GPA Central Florida’s accomplishments would not have been possible without the support of my wife Claire, our wonderful volunteers and more than 40 adoption groups that have helped us over the years.”

Nominations for the 2009 Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year will be accepted between April 1 and August 28, 2009. Anyone involved in greyhound adoption can be nominated for the award. The recipient will be selected based on the individual’s dedication and contribution to greyhound adoption during the year. For more information about the award, visit www.agtoa.com or call Dennis Bicsak at (561) 615-3916. For more information about adopting a greyhound, call 1-800-366-1GPA (1472).

The AGTOA, formed in 1946, is a nonprofit corporation comprised of greyhound race track owners and operators throughout the U.S.

 

MASSACHUSETTS VOTERS END GREYHOUND RACING

Misled by animal rights misinformation and emotional hype, Massachusetts residents voted on November 4 to end greyhound racing. 

 

As a result, the state’s two tracks, Raynham-Taunton and Wonderland, will be forced to close effective January 1, 2010. It is estimated that nearly 1,000 workers will be left jobless when the tracks close. 

 

In addition, between 300 and 400 greyhounds will have to be relocated to other tracks, returned to their owners, or moved into adoption programs.

 

Gary Temple, Raynham general manager, said his employees were stunned by the decision.  In an interview with the Cape Cod Times, Temple said, "It’s hard to explain why they’re losing their jobs when they haven’t done anything wrong."  He said the atmosphere around the track was very somber in the days after the election.

 

The campaign to eliminate greyhound racing was funded by Grey2K USA and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), one of the wealthiest animal rights groups in the world.

 

"Massachusetts tracks had an excellent record on greyhound welfare and adoption," said AGC Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione.  "But these extreme animal rights groups don’t care about the facts.  Their goal is to dictate how the rest of us live, what we eat, and how we spend our leisure time."

 

It is unclear whether the tracks have any legal options for preventing or delaying implementation of the ban.