NEW INITIATIVE FORMED TO INCREASE ADOPTION SUCCESS IN FLORIDA PANHANDLE

Three non-profit greyhound adoption and support groups have formed the “Sunburst Greyhound Adoption Project and Kennel,” an unprecedented initiative to expand and coordinate the movement of retired racing greyhounds from several Florida Panhandle tracks to adoption groups throughout the country.

The unique project is a joint effort of the Greyhound Alliance (http://greyhoundalliance.org), which will provide funding through membership donations and fundraising projects; the Northern Consortium (NoCo), a coalition of several Great Lakes region adoption groups that has moved more than 900 Panhandle greyhounds in the past; and the Emerald Coast Chapter of Greyhound Pets of America (http://www.GPAEC.com), the largest racing greyhound adoption organization in the nation. Volunteers from NoCo and GPAEC will prepare the dogs and arrange for transport to adoption groups in non-racing states.

Ebro Greyhound Park has donated the kennel space to house greyhounds for the Sunburst Project Kennel, along with Ebro ’s Pet Express Adoption Kennel. Sunburst will take in overflow pets from the pet kennels at Pensacola and Monticello as well as Ebro as needed.

"The Sunburst Project is a wonderful addition to the national adoption landscape," said AGC Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione. "We are so grateful for the commitment and vision of these three organizations."

More than 150 greyhounds will be available at any given time through the Sunburst Project, with that number expected to more than double with upcoming seasonal track closings in September and October.

The Sunburst Project kennel at Ebro will serve as a staging point where the greyhounds will be checked, vaccinated, spayed or neutered by Panhandle area veterinarians, and then readied for transport.

The Project hopes to accept hundreds of retired racers from Florida Panhandle tracks at Ebro, Pensacola, and Monticello, as well as other tracks on a space available basis.

 

DEADLINE APPROACHES FOR 2011 GREYHOUND ADOPTION AWARD

Nominations for the 2011 Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year (GAPY) award will close at 5 pm Central time on Thursday, September 1. The award is given annually to a volunteer or paid adoption worker who has made exceptional contributions in the field of greyhound adoption.

The GAPY award was initiated by the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) in 2007. It became a program of the American Greyhound Council (AGC) in 2010.

"Honoring an outstanding adoption worker is one of the most important things we do each year," said AGC Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione. "It gives us a chance to recognize some extraordinary people. The level of commitment and dedication these nominees bring to the work of greyhound adoption is really incredible."

Past GAPY winners include Linda Jensen of Plainfield, CT; Teddy Palmer of Tulsa, OK; Dennis Tyler of Melbourne, FL, and Cheryl King of San Antonio, TX.

The winner of the 2011 award will be selected at the AGC’s fall meeting and announced in mid-December. The winner receives an expense-paid trip to Las Vegas for the AGC’s spring meeting and award presentation, as well as a $500 check for his/her adoption group.

 

 

AUSSIE TV HOST CAN’T GIVE UP HIS FOSTER GREYHOUNDS

Aussie TV host Todd McKenney started out fostering retired greyhounds while they awaited placement in their new homes, but found he couldn’t part with his first two temporary guests. He adopted retired racers Joey and Chrissy, and recently shared his experiences as a proud greyhound owner with viewers on Yahoo Channel 7 in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

 

"I never looked back," McKenney said. "I’ll never be without them. I’ve had a few come through the house, but I kept two. They are beautiful, beautiful dogs.When I got Joey and Chrissy, I just couldn’t give them back."

Todd got his greyhounds through an adoption program sponsored by Greyhound Racing New South Wales, the regional organization responsible for overseeing and regulating greyhound racing there.

"I guess I’ve failed as a greyhound fosterer," laughed McKenney. "I always want to keep them. I could have twenty."

 

 

‘PEOPLE’ MAGAZINE FEATURES ADOPTION VETERAN DENNIS TYLER

Long-time adoption worker Dennis Tyler, a member of the Central Florida chapter of Greyhound Pets of America, is recognized as oneof the"heroes among us" in the August 1 edition of People Magazine, now on newstands. Tyler, who received the AGTOA Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year Award in 2008, is the subject of a full-page profile describing his years of dedication to finding loving homes for retired racers.

 

In the article, Tyler describes how he fell in love with his first greyhound. "She was a very special dog," he said. "She blended right into the family." 

Dennis and his wife, Claire, have moved more than 7,000 greyhounds into adoptive homes. They provide medical care to prepare the dogs for adoption, work with adoptive owners to ensure compatible matches, and transport the dogs to their new homes.

AGC Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione said, "It’s a real pleasure to see Dennis and Claire Tyler get the recognition they deserve. There are a lot of heroes in the greyhound adoption community, and the Tylers are right at the top of that list."

Dennis and Claire operated the Central Florida chapter of Greyhound Pets of America, located at Melbourne Greyhound Park.

 

“LIFE AT A GREYHOUND TRACK” PHOTO ESSAY CHARMS GREYHOUND FANS

A talented pet photographer and devoted greyhound lover, Tennessee resident Rachel Hogue has combined her two favorite passions to create a one-of-a-kind, candid photo essay showing the daily life of a racing greyhound at the track.

Hogue is an active volunteer with Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option, located at Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis, Arkansas. She has two retired greyhounds of her own.

"I have an insatiable curiosity for all things dog," said Hogue. "I designed this set of photos as an educational tool for greyhound people who have an interest in what their dog’s life was like before retirement."

The photo essay contains forty images taken from 2006 to very recently. They show virtually every activity in which greyhounds are engaged during a typical day at the track, from turnouts and feeding to cooling off under the hose.

Hogue’s shots of greyhounds in motion are especially compelling. She uses a stop-action technique that makes the dogs look as if they have taken flight in defiance of the laws of gravity.

More wonderful greyhound photos are available on Hogue’s website, http://rachelhogue.com. Many thanks to Rachel for letting us share her amazing work.

 

 

 

ADOPTION GROUPS FUND “COOL” AGC GREYHOUND TRANSPORT

 
Thanks to the efforts of four dedicated adoption groups, the American Greyhound Council (AGC) will now be able to haul retired greyhounds to their adoption destinations in air-conditioned comfort even in the hottest summer weather. 
 

Teddy Palmer, founder and president of Halfway Home Greyhound Adoption (Oklahoma), said her organization joined forces with three other adoption groups—GPA Greater Northwest (Idaho), Chinook Winds Greyhound Foundation (Canada) and Race the Wind (Kansas)—to raise $3,500 to cover the cost of purchasing and installing two motor home air conditioning units in the AGC’s greyhound transport truck.
 
The AGC truck is deployed most of the year to haul greyhounds to their adoption destinations, but the lack of air conditioning has sidelined the truck during hot weather, even for relatively short hauls.
 
“We decided to purchase the AC units in appreciation of the outstanding support for greyhound adoption that we have received from the AGC and the NGA,” Palmer said. “The AGC hauler has been there for adoption groups since 2002; we wanted to help them as they have helped us so many times in the past.”
 
Palmer had special praise for Craig Randle, the NGA staffer who makes the hauls. “Craig puts in long hours on the road and always arrives safely with the precious cargo. He does an amazing job.”
 
Gary Guccione, AGC communications coordinator and NGA executive director, expressed sincere appreciation to the groups involved in the effort.
 
“When Teddy called me to tell me that she had raised $3500 in less than 24 hours, I was speechless,” Guccione said. “It makes a huge difference to be able to use our truck year-round. We’ll be able to move many more greyhounds, and they’ll have a cool, safe and comfortable ride all the way.”
 
The cooling units will be installed by the end of July so that greyhounds can be moved from Oklahoma and Kansas in August.
 
Teddy Palmer was the winner of the 2009 Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year award.
 
 

 

SEMINOLE CHRONICLE PUBLISHES NGA VIEWPOINT

The July 13 edition of the Seminole Chronicle carried a Viewpoint column by NGA Board Member Jim Blanchard. The piece was in response to a July 6 article filled with misinformation from Grey2K and a local animal rights group, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (yes,really–ARRF). Here’s the letter as published:

Dear Editor:

Your July 6 story about animal rights protests against greyhound racing (July 6, "Protesters rally") gave a very one-sided portrayal of the issue. The story was more than 25 paragraphs in length, but only four contained comments or balancing information from greyhound racing representatives. As a result, your readers have
been subjected to incomplete, inaccurate and biased coverage.

Animal rights groups like ARFF and Grey2K are not about providing benefit or services to greyhounds. Instead, they focus on protests and publicity stunts designed to promote misinformation. Their goal is not constructive engagement, but the complete elimination of racing. That makes them an unreliable source of
information on the sport.

Greyhounds are canine athletes who must receive excellent care in order to perform at their best. This includes good nutrition, plenty of water, frequent outdoor exercise and prompt veterinary care when needed. Greyhound crates must be large enough to allow the dogs to sit, stand, turn around and lie down comfortably.

The fact that greyhounds make such great family pets is the strongest evidence that they’ve been well managed during their racing careers. Today more than 90 percent of all registered greyhounds are adopted or returned to   farm as pets or breeders when they retire. Greyhound racing is working closely with mainstream adoption groups to reach the goal of 100 percent placement in the near future.

Unfortunately, the protests and publicity stunts of groups like ARFF and Grey2K contribute nothing to the welfare of greyhounds. If they focused on actually doing something that benefits greyhounds, they’d have a lot more credibility.

 

Jim Blanchard, District 1 Director, National Greyhound Association

President, Southern Florida Greyhound Association, Bonita Springs FL

 

 

CANADIAN NEWS WEBSITE GETS THE FACTS FROM AGC

AGC Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione has responded to "laughable" misinformation about greyhound racing that appeared on a news website based in Ottawa, Canada, proving once again that animal rights propaganda knows no borders.

The story, which appeared on the website http://www.emcorleans.ca, apparently was intended to illustrate that there are many differing perspectives about what constitutes animal cruelty. However, the writer fell into the trap of using animal rights myths as the baseline for comments about greyhound racing.

Here is the full text of Guccione’s response, which was submitted directly to the editor online.

Dear Editor:

Your comments about greyhound racing ("Animal cruelty controversial subject") were so inaccurate that our first response was to laugh at them. We can’t imagine where you received such misinformation.

The use of mechanical lures at greyhound tracks is mandated both by state laws and by industry standards. There are no live animals used at tracks or during the training of racing greyhounds. Anyone who violates this rule is punishable under state statutes as well as industry disciplinary rules. The prohibition against using live lures is written into track contracts as well as the regulations applying to breeders and kennel operators.

Greyhounds are never housed with any other animals. Each greyhound has its own crate, which must be large enough for the dog to stand, sit, lie down and turn around comfortably. It should be obvious that these canine athletes must receive top-quality care in order to perform at their best. That includes nutritious and plentiful food and water, regular exercise, lots of rest, careful oversight and prompt veterinary care.

More than 90% of all racing greyhounds are either adopted or returned to the farm as pets or breeders when they retire. The animal rights groups that criticize greyhound racing contribute nothing to the adoption effort. Instead, they misrepresent the facts and mislead the public. Unfortunately, your website published their propaganda without checking the facts.

Gary Guccione, Communications Coordinator
American Greyhound Council
Abilene, KS

AGC CHALLENGES GREY2K BOARD MEMBER’S CLAIMS

The AGC has responded to a letter published in the May 7 edition of the Topeka Capital-Journal from Grey2K board member Caryn Wood. The letter challenged Wood’s claims about greyhound welfare, and encouraged readers to visit the AGC website for accurate information about greyhound racing and adoption.

Here’s the full text of AGC Communication Coordinator Gary Guccione’s letter to the Kansas newspaper:

Dear Editor:

The May 6 letter from Grey2K activist Caryn Wood makes false claims about greyhound racing, and is misleading to your readers.

The majority of states where greyhound racing is prohibited didn’t even have live racing when the bans were imposed. Recent attempts by Grey2K to eliminate live racing in Florida have failed. Your readers deserve to know the actual facts about greyhound racing.

It should be obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense that greyhounds would not be able to perform successfully on the track if they didn’t receive adequate food, water, exercise and veterinary care.

In fact, industry standards are in place to ensure the proper care of greyhounds. Those who violate these standards are banned from the sport for life, and others prohibited from doing business with them.

As racers, greyhounds learn to be comfortable around people and other dogs. Visitors to greyhound tracks always marvel at how friendly, gentle and laid back these canine athletes are—a sure sign that they are well cared for and contented.

It is especially ironic that Wood mentions greyhound adoption. Thanks to hard work and great cooperation between greyhound racing and hundreds of moderate adoption groups, more than 90 percent of all registered greyhounds are adopted or returned to the farm as pets or breeders when they retire.

Instead of contributing to these efforts, Grey2K has actively opposed, and publicly criticized, the adoption groups that work constructively with the greyhound racing community.

Grey2K’s goals are political, not humane. Its focus is political warfare, not greyhound welfare. If your readers are interested in more accurate information about greyhound racing and adoption, they may want to visit www.agcouncil.com.

Sincerely,

 

Gary Guccione, Communications Coordinator

American Greyhound Council, Abilene KS

AN INDUSTRY VETERAN TALKS BACK TO GREY2K

Not sure how this one slipped past us, but the March 3 edition of the Charleston, WV Daily Mail carried a powerful commentary by former AGC Board Member Sam Burdette, who serves as President of the West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association. Sam was responding to an earlier story about Grey2K’s attempt to end live racing at West Virginia racinos.

 Here is an excerpt from the Burdette commentary:

"Animal rights groups such as Grey 2K, the Humane Society of the United States and PETA have leaders who advocate no human control over animals – no hunting, no fishing, no pets, no animal acts, no dog racing, no horse racing and no slaughtering of animals for human food. Some have advocated that everyone should be a vegetarian.

The real question then boils down to: Do humans have the right to control animals and use them for sporting events, pets or food?

This is a philosophical question and depends on a person’s own religious and philosophical beliefs.

Imagine a legislative bill to outlaw deer hunting or fishing in West Virginia. We doubt seriously it would become law.

Imagine trying to dodge the deer on highways after several years of no deer hunting. Imagine a bill to outlaw pets.

Imagine not having beef or fish to eat. Imagine the devastating economical impact on segments of our state with no hunting or fishing, no horse or dog racing, and no food from animals. Feed stores, veterinarians, parts of the food processing industry, fast food restaurants and other segments of our economy would struggle to exist.

We think that after discussion and debate over the animal rights agenda, it would be rejected by the majority. We should not fall for the rhetoric and false logic of animal rights groups.

We should not outlaw greyhound dog racing in West Virginia. It could be the first step down a very slippery slope."

Burdette also set the record straight on standard Grey2K misinformation on topics such as greyhound care and injuries:

"Our greyhounds represent a significant investment We depend on them for a livelihood. We feel very affectionate towards our dogs and do not want them injured. We have no reservation about racing our greyhounds at Mardi Gras racetrack," Burdette said.

 He continued: "A six-year period at Mardi Gras represents over 262,000 individual greyhound trips around the track. Broken bone injuries of 750 divided by 262,000 trips equals 0.0028 occurrences per trip, or a 00.28 percent probability of a bone fracture occurring per trip. Twenty-eight hundredths of 1 percent is a very low rate of incidence."

 Great job, Sam. The AGC encourages industry members to speak out and talk back when Grey2K promotes misinformation in your area. If you need help doing so, contact the AGC office.