The storm is still raging in Florida, and the danger to people and animals is far from over, but the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Grey2K are already busy trying to exploit Hurricane Irma for the political and financial benefit of their radical agenda.
In a news release issued yesterday, the two groups attacked the greyhound racing community for a “lack of preparedness” in failing to evacuate dogs from Florida tracks. AGC spokesperson Jim Gartland said the criticism is foolish and unrealistic.
“Imagine dozens of greyhound owners trying to evacuate hundreds of dogs on jam-packed roads, making multiple trips to get all their greyhounds out, stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 10-15 hours with gas shortages, deteriorating weather conditions, and nobody available for assistance in the event of an accident or emergency,” Gartland said. “What could possibly go wrong?”
Keeping greyhounds safe in place at track facilities makes much more sense. Most kennel buildings are built of concrete block or brick, and designed to withstand severe weather. Greyhound kennels have crates on two levels, so that dogs can be moved into the upper row of crates if water enters the lower level. Where flooding is a concern, kennel doors have been sandbagged to keep water out. Back-up generators are in place at each kennel to ensure a stable power supply throughout the storm.
Tracks and kennels have stocked up on food and water for their racers. Kennel owners and volunteers are riding out the storm in kennel compounds with the dogs to ensure their safety. Many tracks have veterinarians on stand-by if needed.
“HSUS and Grey2K spend their time playing politics and raising money,” Gartland said. “Unfortunately, very little of that money ends up providing any meaningful care for animals.”
According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, HSUS raised $2.2 million from concerned donors after thousands of pets were displaced by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. An investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found that only about one-third of the donated funds were actually used for that purpose.
In contrast, Gartland said, people in greyhound racing are animal lovers who devote their time and resources to caring for their dogs. Some industry groups even help with displaced pets. After Hurricane Harvey hit the coastal areas of Texas and Louisiana last week, Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque, Texas, offered its facilities as an emergency shelter for pets displaced during the storm. The track is working with three local organizations to provide care for lost and abandoned animals until they can be reunited with their owners or re-homed with new ones.
“It’s about making a difference where you can,” Gartland concluded. “That’s something HSUS and Grey2K just don’t get.”