NGA LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO DEFEAT QUESTION 13

In the wake of the Florida Supreme Court’s September 7 decision to put Question 13, a constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing, back on the November general election ballot, the National Greyhound Association (NGA) has launched a campaign to defeat the measure.

The NGA has enlisted the services of Strategic Digital Services (SDS) to assist in the campaign to defeat Question 13 in Florida.

The company, based in Tallahassee, was formed by Joe Clements and Matt Farrar, both of whom have extensive experience in Florida politics and campaigns as well as digital media marketing and advertising.

“After looking at several proposals and performing our due diligence, we selected SDS,” said NGA President Julia Ward. “We feel they are very well qualified and have the capabilities to accomplish the task at hand.”

Working together, the NGA and SDS will mount an aggressive and informative campaign of digital and media communications.

Wealthy out-of-state animal rights groups drove the effort to put Question 13, the greyhound racing measure, on the ballot. Under Florida law, passage of any constitutional amendment requires a 60 percent majority of votes cast.

“We won’t have the enormous budget of these huge animal rights groups,” said NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland, “but we are confident that our messages will reach and resonate with Florida voters.”

Gartland noted that Question 13, if passed, will cost as many as 13,000 jobs in Florida. Those displaced will include track and kennel workers, as well as hundreds of employees at the local companies who supply greyhound racing with goods and services.

“Putting thousands of Floridians out of work just to satisfy some extreme activist agenda doesn’t make much sense,” Gartland concluded.

PETA HYPES LIBERATING WILD ANIMALS…ON SNACK BOXES

The familiar “circus train” animal cracker box

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) is hyping the success of its recent effort to persuade Nabisco, the maker of Barnum’s Animal Crackers, to redesign the snack’s package by removing the circus cages that formerly appeared on the box. The radical animal rights group, famous for its pointless publicity stunts, hasn’t explained how the new package design will enhance the lives of elephants, lions or giraffes in the wild.

An August 21 story in the New York Post reported that Nabisco agreed to redesign the box “to keep this brand modern and contemporary.” PeTA’s pitch to Nabisco highlighted the “egregious cruelty” inherent in caging animals.

If anybody understands egregious cruelty, it’s PeTA. For the past several years, the organization’s gratuitous euthanasia of “rescued” cats and dogs has been a national scandal. Since 1998, PeTA has killed more than 36,000 pets that supposedly were being taken to PeTA-operated shelters for placement in adoptive homes. Instead, most of the animals were euthanized within 24 hours of being seized by PeTA employees.

The website “PetaKillsAnimals.com” reports one highly publicized incident in 2014, when PeTA staffers actually seized a pet chihuahua from a family’s backyard. The family  protested, only to learn that the dog already had been euthanized. The family sued PeTA, and the PeTA employees were charged with larceny.

It’s ironic that Nabisco would buy the “egregious cruelty” argument from an organization that has killed more animals over the past 20 years than any zoo or circus in existence. Somebody at Nabisco failed to do their homework. We wouldn’t be surprised if a few people quit buying Barnum’s Animal Crackers just to make that point.

The new “cage-free” box

 

 

 

 

NGA CHALLENGES ‘FACTUAL ERRORS’ IN WASHINGTON POST COVERAGE

The NGA has responded to an August 14 article in the Washington Post that was chock-full of misinformation, courtesy of Grey2K. Here’s the full text of the NGA letter to the Post, which was submitted over the signature of NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland.

DEAR EDITOR:

The August 14 article about the proposed Constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing in Florida contained some serious factual errors, many of which can be traced back to the radical animal rights groups behind this initiative.

For example, it is untrue that greyhound racing has been “banned” in 40 states. In the vast majority of states, greyhound racing never existed in the first place because these states never authorized pari-mutuel wagering on dogs. Only one state has ever passed a statewide voter referendum to ban greyhound racing.

Contrary to Grey2K claims, greyhounds are not given performance-enhancing drugs. Drug testing by Florida officials over the past 10 years found only 71 out of 440,586 urine samples where miniscule traces of drugs were present, likely due to environmental contamination.

Animal rights claims about greyhound injuries also are groundless. Qualified veterinary research has found that the injury rate in greyhound racing is less than two-tenths of one percent. Most greyhound injuries are minor, allowing the greyhound to resume racing after a few weeks or retire into a loving home.

These misrepresentations are nothing new, but they could do serious harm in Florida. Nearly 13,000 workers are employed, directly and indirectly, in greyhound racing in that state. Track employees, kennel workers, and workers in the small businesses who supply goods and services to greyhound racing will lose their jobs if the greyhound ban passes.

We can only hope that Florida voters base their votes on common sense and not on false animal rights claims.

s/Jim Gartland, Executive Director, National Greyhound Association

 

HSUS UNDER ATTACK FOR FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is under attack–again–by Humanewatch.org for spending over half its annual budget on fundraising materials, including “mass-produced trinkets from China…which will supposedly bring in more money from naive and gullible donors.”

A July 16 Humanewatch blog called attention to recent HSUS fundraising mailings that contained cheap plastic calculators, notepads and pens, and tote bags. Humanewatch.org is a consumer advocacy website that monitors HSUS activities and reports on the organization’s finances and programs.

More significantly, the blog noted that the “cheap and gaudy knicknacks” aren’t the only examples of HSUS financial mismanagement. According to the column, “HSUS has over $50 million stowed away in offshore Caribbean accounts, and pays annual salaries in excess of $100,000 to around 50 staff members. Only 1 percent of the HSUS budget is given to pet shelters.” The HSUS budget was $132 million in 2016.

The July 16 blog built on a December 17 post in which Humanewatch analyzed HSUS’ 2016 tax returns to determine where the organization is spending its millions. The returns showed that HSUS spent $69 million–more than half of its budget–on fundraising, $4.25 million on lobbying, and $2.9 million in compensation for 13 executives.

“You’d think HSUS could find better uses for the thousands of dollars it wastes on cheap fundraising give-aways,” said AGC Communications Coordinator Jim Gartland. “Most of us can get by without a one-buck plastic calculator or tote bag. I’m sure a lot of pet shelters and greyhound adoption groups could put those dollars to much more productive use to benefit the animals HSUS claims to care about.”

HSUS LOSES CHARITY STATUS WITH MAJOR WATCHDOG GROUPS

In the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that drove CEO Wayne Pacelle out of the top job at Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the group has now lost its accreditation as a charity from several of the nation’s leading charity rating groups, including the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Charity Navigator.

Humanewatch.org is reporting that the BBB’s charity oversight arm, the Wise Giving Alliance (WGA), has revoked HSUS’ charity status, and Charity Navigator has downgraded its rating to 2 out of 4 stars, with a 1 for poor financial management at the animal rights organization. The news was also reported by several agriculture groups, including Michigan Farm News, Drovers Online, Dairy Herd Management, and Protect the Harvest.

Another oversight group, Animal Charity Evaluators, rescinded its recommendation of HSUS, saying that “ethical leadership and a healthy work environment are critical components of an effective charity.”

Since news of the sexual harassment scandal broke in January, HSUS has struggled to regain its footing. A March 23 story in the Washington Post reported that sexual harassment allegations are not new to HSUS. The woman who succeeded Pacelle as CEO, Kitty Block, was a young lawyer at HSUS twenty-three years ago, when she and a colleague sued her boss, David Wills, then the organization’s Vice President for Investigations, for sexual harassment. Wills was fired as a result of the complaints.

The Post story also reported that some of HSUS’ six-figure donors are outraged that HSUS funds have been used to pay legal settlements related to sexual harassment claims.   At least one of those donors, according to the report, is encouraging others to withhold financial support “until a full internal investigation has been completed and all current board members resign except those who voted to remove Pacelle.”

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

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. “