GUCCIONE RESPONDS TO THEIL MISINFORMATION

NGA Executive Director Gary Guccione has released a statement responding to misinformation posted by Grey2K spokesperson Carey Theil regarding NGA’s position on the case of a Florida greyhound trainer recently dismissed from her kennel job at the Naples-Fort Myers Track.

Theil claimed that NGA publicly expressed support for Ursula O’Donnell, who was relieved of her duties last week by her kennel operator employer at the request of track officials after they learned of her alleged involvement in a 2002 felony animal cruelty case in Alabama. The charges were filed against O’Donnell, Robert Rhodes and three other individuals.

According to Theil, NGA "was contacted about this situation and told a reporter that they support Ursula and her ability to work in the industry. I find that shocking."

Guccione’s statement reads as follows: 

"For Mr. Theil to say that NGA supports her activity in the sport suggests an endorsement, which is not the case. NGA, as the sport’s official registry, neither supports, promotes or endorses any specific individual, kennel, farm or entity in the sport.

"In 2003, when this case went to court, the NGA Board held a hearing for Robert Rhodes and, reciprocal to Florida’s having revoked his license and found his actions reprehensible, banned him from any activities in the sport.

"The NGA and the state of Florida awaited a final judgment on the legal cases against four other individuals, including Ursula O’Donnell, who had also been charged in the case.  When Rhodes died soon thereafter and the court case was dismissed with no convictions, NGA’s legal counsel advised that we did not have legal grounds to take unilateral punitive action, especially when the individuals remained eligible for licensing in racing jurisdictions.

"Since 2002, three of the four individuals have left the sport. There have been no negative incidents involving Ms. O’Donnell since that time, and her ability to be licensed by racing states remains intact."

 

AGC, AGTOA & NGA STEP UP FOR DAIRYLAND GREYHOUNDS

The nation’s top two greyhound racing industry organizations have announced that they will provide whatever assistance is needed to ensure that greyhounds awaiting transfer from Dairyland Greyhound Park after the track’s December 31 closing receive proper care until adoption groups can find suitable homes for them.

American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) President Karen Keelan and National Greyhound Association (NGA) Executive Director Gary Guccione said their organizations will work through the American Greyhound Council (AGC), the industry’s greyhound welfare and adoption organization, to provide support in the form of special adoption grants, greyhound transportation, and, if needed, temporary housing and care for greyhounds at NGA’s Abilene, KS, headquarters.

Keelan said that, under state law, all greyhounds leaving Dairyland must be transferred to other tracks to resume their racing careers, returned to their owners, or placed in an approved adoption program.

 Guccione said that adoption groups around the country are accustomed to dealing with track closings and seasonal increases in the number of dogs needing adoptive homes.

 “There are hundreds of very dedicated volunteers working day and night to make sure that every adoptable greyhound is placed in a loving home,” Guccione said. “We will do everything we can to support that effort.”

 People interested in adopting a greyhound may call the Greyhound Pets of America toll-free adoption hotline, 1-800-366-1472, visit http://www.gpawisconsin.org, or contact the Dairyland Adoption Center, 262-612-8256.

 

DAIRYLAND TRANSITION GOING SMOOTHLY, TRACK REPORTS

Officials at Dairyland Greyhound Park announced today that the track’s kennel compound will remain open until all the greyhounds there are moved to other tracks, returned to their owners or placed in suitable adoptive homes. 

A statement posted on the track’s website reads as follows:

Wisconsin State law provides that the greyhounds are to be adopted to new homes, sent to another racetrack for racing purposes or returned to their owners. Our kennel compound will remain open until all greyhounds are properly placed.

We do not know at this time how many greyhounds in total will become available for adoption until we finish racing on December 31st, 2009.

We do currently have greyhounds available for adoption in our adoption center. You are more than welcome to fill out an application at Dairyland or online at our website www.dairylandgreyhoundpark.com under the adoption tab at the top of the webpage. 

Gary Guccione, communications coordinator for the American Greyhound Council (AGC), said that the AGC and the National Greyhound Association (NGA) are standing by to assist with transportation, adoption grants or other support as needed.

"We’re very confident that all the Dairyland greyhounds will be properly handled," Guccione said. "There are no greyhounds at risk in this situation."

 

“SAVE GREYHOUND RACING IN MASSACHUSETTS,” COLUMNIST URGES LEGISLATORS

Barbara Anderson,  executive director of Massachusetts’ Citizens for Limited Taxation, is urging her state’s legislators to delay implementation of a ban on greyhound racing until voters can be given a chance to reconsider the issue in a January 2010 special election.

 

In the October 24 online edition of the Salem News, Anderson wrote:

"As a longtime practitioner of initiative petitions, I must say that last year’s vote on Question 3 , to end greyhound racing in Massachusetts, was simply wrong. It was, however, understandable, since voters had little chance to make an informed decision.

While Question 3 proponents alleged animal abuse, Question 3 opponents ran the worst defensive campaign in the history of ballot questions. For some reason, instead of proving to voters that the dogs were not being mistreated, they had campaign banners telling voters to vote No on Questions 1, 2 and 3!

Imagine this: Someone is trying to take away your job, and you are telling them to vote no on a tax break and marijuana? The racetracks never took the threat seriously, and they lost. Now their employees will join other Massachusetts citizens in unemployment lines, with unemployment revenues and health insurance fast running out, while Massachusetts greyhounds will be sent to other states with even fewer protections against their being abused.

Or, while unwanted greyhounds cannot by law be euthanized, they will now compete for adoption with other dogs whom the recession has left homeless — and these dogs can be put down if no one wants them.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem that will still respect "the will of the voters," as I have so heartily endorsed for many years. There is going to be another statewide election on Jan. 19, 2010 — three weeks after the racetracks are scheduled to close — this one for U.S. senator. Legislators can put the greyhound racing question right back on the ballot. With no other ballot questions, and only one political race, there will be a chance for the media to find the truth about how the dogs are treated, and help the voters make an informed decision.

A visit to meet the happy hounds of Wonderland should inspire a vote to save their — and the track workers’ — jobs.

So I’d suggest that you vote to suspend the racetrack closings until we can vote on the issue again in three months."

Anderson’s columns appear regularly in the newspaper’s Viewpoint section.

 

IOWANS SHOULD DISREGARD GREY2K “BLIZZARD OF BALONEY,” SAYS AGC

The AGC’s Gary Guccione has fired off a letter to the Des Moines Register calling Grey2K’s recent comments on greyhound injuries at Iowa tracks a "blizzard of baloney."

Dear Editor:

We are not surprised that Grey2K USA, a radical animal rights group from Massachusetts, has launched a misinformation campaign against greyhound racing in Iowa. Your readers should prepare for the blizzard of baloney that lies ahead.

The vast majority of greyhound injuries are minor, and allow the dogs to return to racing after a week or two. Even when career-ending injuries occur, most greyhounds transition successfully to retirement in a loving adoptive home. More than 90% of all retired greyhounds are adopted or returned to the farm as pets or breeders when they retire.

The number of injuries at Iowa tracks is actually very small when viewed in relation to the total number of races run, or starts. The 101 injuries in 2008 occurred from a combined total of over 55,000 starts at the two tracks, including official races as well as schooling.  This means that the actual injury rate was less than one fifth of one percent.  No rational person would consider that record anything but excellent.

Greyhound tracks spend a great deal of time and money ensuring that track surfaces are safe and well-maintained. Track veterinarians ensure that the greyhounds are strong and healthy before they are allowed to race.  All reasonable steps are taken to minimize injuries.

But reasonable isn’t what Grey2K is about. This well-funded East Coast organization is pushing an extreme agenda that Iowans should view with great suspicion.

Sincerely,

Gary Guccione, American Greyhound Council

Abilene KS

 

 

FLU VACCINE WON’T PREVENT KENNEL COUGH, NOTED VET WARNS

Dr. Brad Fenwick, veterinarian and internationally recognized expert on infectious diseases in canines, is reminding dog owners that a new vaccine for canine flu is not designed to ward off kennel cough caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica, a much more common illness among dogs of all breeds.

"While canine flu and Bordetella kennel cough can manifest similar symptoms, they are not identical diseases and cannot be prevented with the same vaccine or treated with the same medications," Fenwick said.

A canine flu vaccine that was recently granted a time-limited conditional approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) appears to be somewhat effective in lessening the severity of flu infections, Fenwick noted, but it has not been fully tested or unconditionally approved.

Although serious cases of canine flu have been rare, kennel cough is much more common in any home or kennel where two or more dogs are housed, Fenwick said. Most dog owners will be far more likely to encounter kennel cough than canine flu in their pets.

Research on a more effective vaccine for Bortedella-caused kennel cough is ongoing under the auspices of the American Greyhound Council (AGC) and other greyhound racing organizations.

"Dog owners should not make the mistake of relying on the new flu vaccine to prevent kennel cough caused by other microorganisms," Dr. Fenwick concluded.

 

AR MISINFORMATION NOT FACT, AGC TELLS FLORIDA EDITOR

The AGC responds to a July 20 letter crammed with animal rights misinformation. The letter appeared in the Panama City (FL) News Herald.

DEAR EDITOR:

Dennis Dyke’s letter of July 20 presented animal rights misinformation as fact. Your readers deserve to know the truth about greyhound racing.

More than 90 percent of all registered greyhounds are adopted or returned to the farm as pets or breeders when they retire.  Due to a reduction in the number of greyhounds bred in recent years, we expect to achieve 100 percent placement of all adoptable greyhounds in the near future.  This is possible because of close cooperation between greyhound racing and hundreds of non-profit, volunteer adoption groups across the U.S.

Racing greyhounds must eat well in order to perform at their peak. They are fed meat classified by the USDA as unsuitable for human consumption but perfectly healthy for animals.  If this diet produced ill effects, no trainer would feed it to greyhounds.

Mr. Dyke is also wrong in his comments about greyhound injuries.  The fact is that the vast majority of injuries to greyhounds are minor, permitting the dogs to return to racing within a week or two.  On the rare occasions when more serious injuries occur, they still don’t prevent most greyhounds from transitioning successfully to retirement in an adoptive home.

The most absurd argument of all is that people should end greyhound racing simply because the industry is already under economic stress.  If that’s the case, then we should put an end to restaurants, banks, clothing stores and newspapers, too. Don’t worry about the people working in those businesses.  They’ll find other jobs—if there are any employers left to hire them.

Sincerely,
 

Gary Guccione, American Greyhound Council

 

RACING FANS: GREY2K DIRTY TRICKS MAY CONSTITUTE ELECTION FRAUD

Pro-racing forces have filed an election fraud complaint against the Committee to Protect the Dogs, the Massachusetts front group for Grey2K that led the campaign to ban greyhound racing in Massachusetts, according to July 2 online editions of the Raynham Call and Metrowest Daily News.

The group POWAAH, Protection of Working Animals And Handlers, alleges that Question 3 supporters traded gifts for votes and misled voters regarding track conditions.

POWAAH was formed in January 2009 to educate voters on the impact of the ban, and delay its enforcement.

Some of the misrepresentations cited by POWAAH:

  • Claiming that only 31 percent of greyhounds are adopted, when in fact 100 percent of Massachusetts greyhounds are adopted;
  • Claiming greyhound crates are too small, when crate size has been approved by the state racing commission with input from humane groups;
  • Claiming examples of abuse were local, when the videos used to promote the ban showed out-of-state racing venues.

In the Metrowest Daily article, POWAAH spokesperson Doug Pizzi said an April poll showed that 61 percent of Massachusetts voters favored delaying the implementation of the ban for as long as three years to save jobs.

AGC Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione said tracks and breeder organizations in other states have learned from the Massachusetts experience.

"We understand now that Grey2K will say anything to win," he noted.  "Our folks are preparing for floods of misinformation in every state where Grey2K pokes its head up. We see our job as helping the public separate fact from fiction."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO GREYHOUNDS LEFT BEHIND IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Even though all three New Hampshire greyhound tracks have now discontinued live racing, track and adoption officials expect to place all the affected greyhounds in good adoptive homes, thanks to close cooperation between the tracks and local adoption groups.

On June 28, the New Hampshire legislature passed a bill permitting simulcasting without live racing, and requiring tracks to pay all costs incurred by the state for racing regulation. The bill effectively shut down live racing in the state.

Belmont and Hinsdale tracks had not run live racing since last year, and Seabrook Greyhound Park had planned to start its live racing season on October 2.

Karen Keelan, Seabrook president, who also serves as president of the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA), said that only four greyhounds remain at her facility.  "These are last year’s racers," she said, adding, "They are recuperating from surgery and will be placed into adoptive homes when they are fully recovered."

Belmont had no greyhounds left at its facility, and the greyhounds displaced by the closing of Hinsdale Park last year have taken up residence with Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption in Hinsdale.

Fast Friends Sharron Thomas said, "We had more than 170 greyhounds last November, and we are now down to 79. They’ll all be placed into good homes eventually."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GREY2K “INTOLERABLY INHUMANE” FOR OPPOSING RACING BAN DELAY, SAYS AGC

Officials of the American Greyhound Council (AGC) today accused Grey2K USA of "intolerable inhumanity" for opposing a delay in implementation of the live racing ban passed by Massachusetts voters in 2008.

According to the Brockton (MA) Enterprise News, the Grey2K statement read, "There is no compelling argument for reversing or delaying Question 3."

AGC Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione said, "Evidently Grey2K doesn’t find it compelling that more than 1,300 families will lose their livelihoods when this ban takes effect–right in the middle of the worst economic times since the Great Depression."

Unemployment in Massachusetts is already over 8 percent, according to media reports, and track employees have told reporters that there simply are no other jobs available for them. A recent poll revealed that 61 percent of Massachusetts residents believe the ban should be deferred until 2012, when the economy may be better.

"Grey2K is not about compassion for people, that’s for sure," Guccione concluded.  "It is intolerably inhumane to lobby against a reprieve for these families."