NATIONAL ADS EXPOSE HSUS FAILURE TO FUND ANIMAL SHELTERS

A national non-profit watchdog organization has published full-page ads in two major national newspapers blasting the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for giving less than one percent of its annual donations to animal shelters.

The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), an organization of consumers, businesses and foundations, ran the ads May 17 in the New York Times and the Washington DC edition of the Wall Street Journal.

A recent poll by the Opinion Research Corporation found that 59 percent of Americans wrongly believe the HSUS contributes most of its money to local animal shelters.

However, according to 2008 records, the organization actually contributed less than one half of one percent to such groups.

CCF Research Director David Martosko said that makes HSUS "a humane society in name only." 

"The Humane Society of the United States raises tens of millions of dollars annually from Americans who believe their donations filter down to local pet shelters, directly improving the lives of dogs and cats," Martosko said.

"But instead, their donations support a huge staff of lawyers and lobbyists, bloated executive pension plans, exorbitant fundraising expenses, and PETA-style propaganda campaigns. Animal lovers should
start holding the group to a higher standard."

The ad reads, "Surprised to learn that the Humane Society of the United States shares less than one percent of your donations with local pet shelters?  The HSUS is NOT your local animal shelter.  Don’t be fooled. Go to www.humanewatch.org."

HSUS is the primary funding source for the national Grey2K campaign against greyhound racing. American Greyhound Council (AGC) Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione said, "We’re not surprised by this information. If HSUS was really an animal welfare organization, it would be working constructively with us on greyhound adoption instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying, playing politics and deceiving the public."

FGA LEADER RAPS GREY2K IN LETTER TO FLORIDA PAPERS

In an April 29 letter to the editors of the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post, Florida Greyhound Association President Phil Ruotolo told readers to take Grey2K’s comments "with a grain of salt."

The letter was in response to an April 27 story that ran in both newspapers. The story contained positive information on greyhound adoption, but quoted Grey2K "estimates" on the number of greyhounds euthanized annually. It identified Grey2K as a "national rescue network."

"Grey2K USA is not a national rescue network," wrote Ruotolo. "It is an animal rights organization whose mission is to abolish greyhound racing completely."

"Grey2K has no direct involvement in greyhound adoption," Ruotolo explained. "In fact, Grey2K leaders have urged their supporters not to get involved in any adoption group that has a constructive working relationship with the greyhound racing industry."

As evidence, Ruotolo provided editors with a copy of a New Hampshire animal rights newsletter quoting an email from Grey2K President Christine Dorchak in which she urged her followers not to work with Greyhound Pets of America, the nation’s largest independent adoption group.

"Grey2K relies on promoting misinformation about greyhound racing to justify its existence and raise funds," Ruotolo concluded. "That’s why people should take their comments with a grain of salt."

 

EXPERTS GATHER FOR ANNUAL GREYHOUND SAFETY SEMINAR

About 35 track surface technicians, veterinarians and racing commission representatives gathered at Gulf Greyhound Park near Houston February 22-23 for the 6th annual Greyhound Safety and Track Surface Seminar. 

The event was sponsored by the American Greyhound Track Operations Association (AGTOA), Texas Greyhound Association (TGA), and Gulf Greyhound Park.

Organizer Diane Whiteley, TGA executive director, said the seminar offered participants the opportunity to learn about new methods for enhancing track safety and reducing greyhound injuries.
 
“Keeping our greyhounds safe and sound is  our highest priority,” Whiteley said. “Every year, the experts find better ways of resurfacing and maintaining tracks to enhance greyhound safety.”
 
The program included presentations by track surface specialist Gene Magliaro of the Palm Beach Kennel Club; Marty Tanner, DVM & president of the National Greyhound Association; David Peck, member of the NGA track committee; Kip Keefer, chairman of the Racing Commissioners International (RCI) greyhound committtee; Richard Ferranti, maintenance manager and greenpath coordinator at Daytona Beach Kennel Club; and Marsha Kelly, communications consultant to AGTOA and the American Greyhound Council (AGC).
 
The presenters shared information on track design modifications, resurfacing materials and procedures, and ways to identify possible track trouble spots from analyzing injury data.
 
Although serious injuries are rare in greyhound racing, occurring in less than one-half of one percent of each 1,000 starts, industry experts believe that the new methods and procedures could reduce injuries even further.
 
 
 
 

 

INDIANA SHERIFF SAYS DEAD DOGS LIKELY NOT GREYHOUNDS

Sheriff Ron Richardson of Madison County, Indiana, has told National Greyhound Association (NGA) Executive Director Gary Guccione that authorities now doubt the dead dogs found there are greyhounds.

Guccione contacted Richardson to offer the assistance of the NGA if needed to identify the canine carcasses, which had been decapitated and skinned.  

Upon closer examination of the remains, Richardson told Guccione, authorities now doubt they were greyhounds, but the Indiana state vet has been asked to make a more definitive breed identification. 

Guccione said, "If the animals were greyhounds, we would be able to identify them from our extensive DNA records.  At this point, we don’t think that will be necessary, but we’re standing by just in case."

If the animals were found to be greyhounds, Guccione said, the individuals responsible would likely face lifelong banishment from greyhound racing along with criminal prosecution under Indiana laws.

 

 

TULSA VOLUNTEER WINS PRESTIGIOUS GREYHOUND ADOPTION AWARD

An Oklahoma volunteer her friends describe as a hero has been named the 2009 Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year by the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA).

Theodora (Teddy) Palmer is the founder of Halfway Home Greyhound Adoption (HHGA) in Tulsa.  Since 2002, Palmer’s group has placed more than 3,000 greyhounds in adoptive homes.

AGTOA President Karen Keelan said, "We had more than 40 nominees this year, and every one had made exceptional contributions to greyhound adoption.  But even in this special group, Teddy Palmer was a standout."

Donna Weeks of Gambrilla, MD, cited Palmer’s tremendous commitment to greyhounds. "She’s built the trust of the racing community all across the U.S.; she’s not in it for the recognition, just to help the greyhounds." Weeks was among those who nominated Palmer for the award.

Another nominator, Shirley Sureck of St. Petersburg, FL, described Palmer as someone with "an unfailing mission to succeed no matter what the obstacles; a deep, loving heart and an unselfish motive."

In learning of the award, Palmer said, "I’m deeply honored. There are so many people who make it possible for our program to succeed.  We couldn’t do what we do without each and every one of them."

AGTOA will recognize Palmer at its annual meeting on March 22 in Las Vegas. In addition to covering Palmer’s travel expenses for the meeting, AGTOA will present her with a $500 check for her organization.

Nominations for the 2010 Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year award will be accepted between April 1 and August 31, 2010. Anyone involved in greyhound adoption can be nominated for the award. The recipient will be selected based on the individual’s dedication and contribution to greyhound adoption during the year. For more information about the award, visit www.agtoa.com or call Dennis Bicsak at 561-615-3916.

For information about adopting a greyhound, call 1-800-366-1GPA (1472).

The AGTOA, formed in 1946, is a nonprofit corporation comprised of greyhound racetrack owners and operators across the U.S.

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