“ADOPTION PERSON OF YEAR” NOMINATION DEADLINE APPROACHES

AGC Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione today issued a reminder that nominations for the 2010 Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year Award must be submitted by 5 pm CDT Wednesday, September 1, in order to receive consideration.

 

Any individual or organization may nominate a candidate for the award. The nominee may be a volunteer or paid individual in the U.S. or Canada.

 

The award winner and his/her guest will receive complimentary airfare and lodging to the AGC/AGTOA spring meeting, where the award is presented, as well as a $500 donation to an adoption group of the winner’s choice.

 

Submit your nomination online.

EBRO, PENSACOLA GREYHOUNDS AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION












As many as 300 greyhounds from Ebro Greyhound Park and Pensacola Greyhound Track will become available for adoption when those tracks close for the 2010 racing season, according to Greyhound Pets of America (GPA) President Rory Goree.

 GPA has 49 chapters and sub-chapters across the nation, and close working relationships with dozens of other regional adoption groups, Goree said. It is coordinating the effort to find homes for the Ebro and Pensacola greyhounds.

The Penscacola facility will close October 31 and reopen February 4, 2011. The greyhounds there will remain at the track while awaiting adoption, Goree said.

The Ebro track will close September 25 and reopen May 10, 2011. Track officials report that most greyhounds will move to other tracks to continue racing, but about 150 will remain at the track pending adoption.

Goree said many regional adoption organizations are cooperating to ensure that all the greyhounds eligible for adoption find permanent homes.

“Greyhounds make absolutely amazing pets,” he said. “They are generally affectionate, well socialized and gentle, even with children. They don’t require any more exercise than any other dog. In fact, many greyhound owners describe their dogs as “loveable forty mile-an-hour couch potatoes.”

GPA operates a toll-free hotline for people interested in adopting a greyhound. The hotline number is 1-800-366-1472. Callers will be referred to a participating adoption organization in their area.
 

 

 

 

NGA LETTER DISPELS ANIMAL RIGHTS MISINFORMATION

The Des Moines Register has published a response from NGA leader Jim Blanchard of Iowa to a letter urging Iowans to end greyhound racing in the state. Blanchard’s letter appeared in the July 28 edition of the newspaper. 

Here is the full text of the letter.

 

Dear Editor:

The July 17 letter from Mr. Kalinak (“Will Iowa be the last state to end greyhound racing?”) contained a number of inaccurate statements about greyhound racing in Iowa. We’d like to set the record straight.

It should be obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense that greyhounds would not be able to compete successfully at the track without adequate exercise or proper care. Greyhounds are turned out for exercise at least four times daily, which is more than sufficient to preserve their health and physical conditioning.

As anyone who has adopted a greyhound will tell you, greyhounds live to do two things: run and sleep. They are born racers, and they expend tremendous energy when they run. When they’re not running, they love to sleep, which is why greyhounds are often referred to as “40 mile per hour couch potatoes.”

Your readers should also know that injury rates in greyhound racing are extremely low, with injuries occurring in fewer than one-half of one percent of all starts. The vast majority of injuries are minor, allowing the greyhound to return to competition within a week or two.

At present, there are 24 tracks operating in seven states, including Iowa. Animal rights groups are working hard to ban greyhound racing in all of them. Many of the same groups are also working to put an end to livestock farming, hunting and fishing, biomedical research, zoos, circuses, and even the breeding of pets.

Does Iowa want to be one more state to let animal rights extremists dictate what industries will thrive and which will be banned? That’s the real question your readers should be asking.

Sincerely,

Jim Blanchard, Iowa
National Greyhound Association Board of Directors


 

KEELAN SETS RECORD STRAIGHT ON NEW HAMPSHIRE BAN

The July 18 online edition of Fosters.com, a service of New Hampshire’s Foster’s Daily Democrat, featured a letter from former AGTOA President and long-time track operator Karen Keelan. In the letter, Keelan set the record straight on the subject of the state legislature’s recent action to ban live racing.

Here is Keelan’s letter in its entirety.

Dear Editor:

I am deeply saddened by the action of the New Hampshire Legislature and our governor in banning greyhound racing from the state (July 9, "Groups applaud end of greyhound racing").

As someone whose family has been involved in this sport in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for many years, I took great pride in our race tracks. I was proud that our family-run businesses were contributing hundreds of jobs, millions of dollars in payroll and tax revenues, and great entertainment for people who loved watching greyhounds run.

I also took great pride in our greyhound adoption programs, which were among the most successful in the industry. Working with dozens of dedicated volunteers, we made sure that every retired greyhound found a loving adoptive home.

But best of all, I had a chance to work with the most amazing dogs in the world. Even when our track was losing money, I loved my job because I loved being around the greyhounds. I was raised to appreciate, respect and care for them. I still do, and I always will.

Greyhound racing in New Hampshire is history now, but state residents should not be deceived about the reasons. It wasn’t about greyhound injuries, which occur in fewer than one-half of one percent of all racing starts. It wasn’t about greyhound care at the track, which must be first-rate in order for greyhounds to race at their best.

The decision to ban greyhound racing was about economics, pure and simple. In recent years, gambling competition has greatly increased. Greyhound racing has found it difficult to keep up with the explosion in high-tech casino gaming and online wagering. This made us easy targets for animal rights extremists looking to ban greyhound racing completely.

Animal rights groups won’t stop there, however. New Hampshire dairy, egg and meat producers will be next on their hit list. I hope the farm community fares better than we did.

 

Sincerely,

 

Karen Keelan

Mashpee, CT

 

NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR 2010 ADOPTION PERSON OF YEAR AWARD

The American Greyhound Council (AGC) is now accepting nominations for the 2010 Adoption Person of the Year Award. The award was established in 2007 by the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) to recognize individuals who have made exceptional contributions to greyhound adoption. 

The AGC, which funds and oversees adoption grants and other greyhound welfare programs for greyhound racing, is proud to take the lead in recognizing the dedicated volunteers who give so generously of their time, money, energy and passion to ensure that every adoptable greyhound finds a forever home upon retirement.

Any individual or organization may nominate a candidate for the Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year award. The nominee may be a volunteer or paid individual in the U.S. or Canada.

The winner and his/her guest receive complimentary airfare and lodging to the AGC/AGTOA spring meeting, where the award is presented, and also receive a $500 donation for the adoption group specified by the winner.

The deadline for submitting a nomination is Wednesday, September 1, 2010. Nominations may be submitted online or via email.

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.