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.
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.”
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.
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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.
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. “
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:
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.
The following statement was issued today by the National Greyhound Association (NGA):
There has been extensive news coverage in recent days of the suspension of a Florida greyhound trainer after several of his dogs tested positive for metabolites indicating exposure to an illegal substance. State regulators have suspended the trainer’s license pending an August hearing. An investigation is under way to determine the full facts of the situation. Until all the facts are known, it is important to let the state regulatory process move forward without prejudging the outcome.
Greyhound racing has its own process for addressing such situations. In addition to complying with all state and local laws, National Greyhound Association (NGA) members also must comply with rigorous association rules governing greyhound care. Any member who fails to do so may be banned from greyhound racing for life, and others prohibited from doing business with the violator. These tough penalties send a strong message that illegal or improper behavior will not be tolerated.
NGA rules, state laws and local racing regulations are designed to protect the health and welfare of racing greyhounds, and to preserve the integrity of the sport, while at the same time ensuring that those accused of crimes or violations receive the full due process to which they are entitled. Due process includes a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
As this investigation moves forward and coverage continues, we hope that members of the news media will rely on credible official sources for information, and disregard the hysterical clamoring of animal rights extremists that use such situations to generate publicity and raise funds to advance their anti-racing agenda.
An impressive collection of greyhounds from all over the country, and their devoted owners, gathered in Abilene KS June 21-24 in support of greyhound adoption. Proceeds from the event were earmarked for Teddy Palmer’s Halfway Home Greyhound Adoption, in Tulsa, OK. Palmer is a past winner of the AGC’s Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year (GAPY) award, and a long-term leader in the greyhound adoption community.
Event coordinator Bec Maier said, “We strive to bridge adoption with the racing industry through education and promotion.” Maier described Halfway Home’s founder Teddy Palmer as a pioneer in the industry — one who has changed the way greyhound adoptions are handled.
“She forged what we now know as adoption groups,” Maier said. “She has currently moved 6,537 greyhounds. She has a small organization, but she is a little powerhouse–a keg of dynamite.”
This year’s event included tours of the Greyhound Hall of Fame, National Greyhound Association (NGA) offices, and several local farms, as well as education programs, featured speakers and other activities. One of the highlights of the program was a presentation by Rory Goree, a member of the Arizona Racing Commission and past president of Greyhound Pets of America.
According to reports, Goree wowed the crowd with his greyhound knowledge and stories. At the close of the gathering, former NGA Executive Director Gary Guccione presented him with a certificate of appreciation from the NGA and the American Greyhound Council (AGC), citing Rory’s many years of active involvement with greyhound adoption, and his dedicated efforts to build relationships between the racing industry and adoption groups for the benefit of retiring greyhounds.
Maier herself began adopting greyhounds 25 years ago. Since that time, she has had 51 greyhounds, with 16 currently enjoying life at her home.
When members of the greyhound racing community noticed that Grey2K spokesperson Carey Theil was scheduled to appear on a “Future of Pari-Mutuel Wagering” panel at the June 9 National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) conference in Denver, they took quick action. Leaders from AGTOA, NGA and AGC emailed a letter to the conference coordinators asking that an AGC spokesperson be added to the panel to ensure that greyhound racing industry perspectives would be included. That request was granted, and NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland was given a spot on the program.
Jim’s message to legislators highlighted the extraordinary progress made on greyhound adoption over the past 25 years, thanks to constructive engagement between the racing community and over 300 volunteer adoption groups. He told legislators that the AGC conducts unannounced inspections of breeding farms to verify compliance with industry greyhound welfare standards. He also noted that the NGA has imposed extremely tough penalties on industry members who fail to provide proper greyhound care, including lifetime expulsion from the sport.
No presentation to legislators would be complete without a little education on the radical political agenda of Grey2K, its ties to extreme and very wealthy animal rights groups like HSUS, and its trademark tendency to misrepresent the facts in order to raise funds. Gartland urged legislators to seek out both sides of the greyhound racing story before falling victim to Grey2K misinformation, and to collaborate with the industry and qualified veterinarians when seeking to address legitimate greyhound welfare concerns.
Gartland reported that legislators in the audience were very receptive to the AGC message, and many took the time after his presentation to say hello, pick up his business card, and thank him for being there to provide much-needed balance to the panel.
The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a leading opponent of animal rights extremism, has filed a complaint with the IRS alleging that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is abusing its not-for-profit status to benefit the for-profit corporation, Whole Foods. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey sits on the HSUS Board of Directors.
The complaint alleges that HSUS is threatening food businesses with reprisals unless they procure their meats from the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), an organization set up by and largely funded by Whole Foods to “certify” humanely raised meat. HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle serves on the board of GAP. Whole Foods is reportedly paying the salaries of three GAP employees, including its Executive Director.
A story on the CCF website notes that HSUS appears to be acting as the “enforcer” by pressuring companies to buy only those products certified as “humane” by GAP, and available from Whole Foods. And, of course, HSUS and Whole Foods get to decide how “humane” is defined.
CCF concludes that the arrangement “smells rotten.” We couldn’t agree more. When you use your tax-exempt organization to grow the profits of a for-profit corporation run by one of your board members, in plain language–it stinks.