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."

 

ACTION TO DEFER RACING BAN STALLS…FOR TODAY

The Massachusetts State Senate voted today against two budget amendments that would have delayed until 2012 implementation of the state’s scheduled ban on live greyhound racing, but observers say there’s still hope for passage.

An article by Quincy (MA) Patriot Ledger reporter Nancy Reardon in today’s on-line edition explained that some legislators voted against the amendments on procedural grounds, believing that the racing ban issue should be addressed separately from the budget.

The article quoted Senator Marc Pacheco, who represents Taunton, where Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park is located. "I’m asking for a delay, not a repeal," Pacheco reportedly told his legislative colleagues.

A poll commissioned by the National Greyhound Association and an organization of ban opponents found that 61 percent of Massachusetts residents believe the track closings should be deferred until the economy improves. Closure of the two state tracks is expected to eliminate more than 1,300 jobs and cost the host communities, Taunton and Revere, hundreds of thousands in tax revenues.

Pacheco is urging legislators to take quick action on the proposed ban delay to keep employees working and ensure that track revenues can be included in fiscal 2010 budgets for both cities.

 

MASSACHUSETTS TRACK EMPLOYEES RALLY TO SAVE JOBS, DEFER RACING BAN

Race track workers, greyhound owners and supporters rallied in front of the Massachusetts State House today to present a poll showing that 61 percent of voters now favor delaying a ban on dog racing to save track workers" jobs and the revenue the tracks bring in to state coffers.

 

The poll was done in April by Kiley & Company of Boston on behalf of Raynham Park and the National Greyhound Association.

Linda Jensen, president of Protection of Working Animals and Handlers (POWAAH), a non-profit corporation formed to help track workers stay employed in the wake of the November vote, told the crowd that the economy has changed public opinion since November.

“People now realize that the economy is so bad that track workers will have nowhere to work and quite possibly nowhere to live should they lose their jobs,” Jensen said. “The last thing we should be doing in this economy is throwing hard working people out of work and into the streets.”

According to government statistics, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts is approaching eight percent, representing 266,000 people out of work, up from 4.7 percent in March of 2008.

Karen Burke, mutual manager at Raynham Park in Raynham, said she and her colleagues want to keep their jobs, and that there are, quite literally, no other jobs available to them if the tracks close in January as now scheduled.

“I have worked at Raynham Park for 24 years and my job supports me and my three children,” Burke said. “I know that finding a comparable job with comparable benefits will be nearly impossible in this economy, so we’re asking the Legislature to give us some more time.”

Al Smith, representing the National Greyhound Association, told the crowd that the NGA supports the workers in their efforts to secure the delay in implementing the ban.

“The NGA had this poll taken because we felt that the economy has changed voters’ minds, and the poll bears this out,” said Smith. “Now we are asking the people who have the ability to help the workers to do just that.”

If the ban goes into effect as scheduled, some 1,300 people will be thrown out of work at the tracks in Raynham and Revere. Legislators will consider whether to enact a two-year delay to give the workers more time to plan for the end of racing and a chance to find jobs in a better economy.

Following the rally, track workers brought the poll results to legislative offices in an effort to convince lawmakers that public sentiment has changed dramatically since last November’s vote because of the worsening economy.

ADOPTED RACERS GET SPOTLIGHT AT GREYHOUND HALL OF FAME

Devoted owners of retired racing greyhounds can now pay tribute to their beloved pets in two areas set aside for that purpose at the Greyhound Hall of Fame in Abilene, KS.

Bill Lee, Hall of Fame Chairman, said an interactive kiosk in the museum’s lobby and an outdoor park on the facility’s grounds will provide opportunities for greyhound owners to honor their adopted racers.  

For a $100 donation to the museum, owners may provide their names, and the name and a photograph of their retired greyhound, to be displayed and archived in perpetuity in the kiosk. Visitors will be able to browse the archives by owner’s name, racer’s name or by state.

In addition, work has begun on a new Greyhound Park behind the Hall of Fame building.  The park area will feature personalized pavers honoring a favorite retired racer, greyhound owner, organization or individual. The pavers cost $100 each, with all proceeds to benefit the Hall of Fame.

"This is a great way for people to honor their favorite greyhounds or greyhound lovers," said Lee.  "When you can do something that makes people happy, and at the same time benefit the Hall of Fame, that’s definitely a win-win."

For more information, contact the Greyhound Hall of Fame at 1-800-932-7881, or by email.  The Hall of Fame is located at 407 S. Buckeye Avenue, Abilene KS 67410.

 

GREY2K GUILTY OF “SHAMELESS HYPE,” SAYS VET

A leading veterinary expert on greyhound health says that racing greyhounds experience accidental injuries at about the same rate as other working dogs and active family pets, and dismissed contradictory claims by the animal rights group Grey2K USA as “shameless hype.”

Dr. Brad Fenwick, Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Tennessee—Knoxville and an internationally recognized expert on greyhound health, said that the vast majority of injuries to racing greyhounds are minor, and the dogs usually return to racing in a matter of weeks. 

“Even when an injury ends a greyhound’s racing career, that dog usually is able to transition very successfully to life as an adopted pet,” Fenwick said.  “Life-threatening injuries to greyhounds are extremely rare.  To suggest otherwise is nothing more than shameless hype.”   

American Greyhound Council (AGC) Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione said Grey2K uses isolated incidents of serious injury to inflame well-intentioned animal lovers and raise money for its political war against greyhound racing.

“Make no mistake, it’s all about fundraising,” Guccione said.  “If they can find a video or two that gets a strong emotional response, the dollars will come pouring in.  If they can’t stir people up, they can’t raise money.”

Guccione said the true measure of Grey2K’s concern for greyhounds is found in its opposition to adoption efforts.

“GreyK President Christine Dorchak has directed her supporters to refrain from any communication or involvement in greyhound adoption,” he said.  “Her mission is political warfare, not greyhound welfare.”

The AGC is a joint program of greyhound breeders and track operators, founded in 1987 to fund and oversee greyhound welfare and adoption programs.  More information on the AGC is available at www.agcouncil.com.
 

AGC SETS RECORD STRAIGHT IN FLORIDA NEWSPAPER

The AGC has taken on Grey2K USA in a letter to the editor of the Naples (FL) News.

 The letter, written by AGC Communications Coordinator Gary Guccione, was submitted in response to an April 4 article about a protest at the Naples-Fort Myers track.  Here is the complete text:

Dear Editor:

The April 4 story by John Osborne quoted several inaccurate statements by Grey2K USA representatives. Unfortunately, Grey2K is famous for misrepresenting the facts about greyhound racing.

First, more than 90 percent of all registered greyhounds are adopted or returned to the farm as pets or breeders when they retire.  Since the number of greyhounds bred annually has dropped dramatically in the past couple of years, we are confident that we will achieve our goal of 100 percent placememtn of all eligible racers in the very near future.

Second, common sense should tell us that greyhounds must have plenty of exercise in order to stay in shape for racing.  When they are not exercising outdoors, which they do three or four times daily, they prefer to lie quietly in their crates.  Anyone who has ever adopted a greyhound will confirm that they are dedicated "couch potatoes" when not actively engaged in exercise.

Third, greyhounds must eat a healthy and nutritious diet to perform at their peak.  The meat they eat is classified by the USDA as unsuitable for human consumption but perfectly healthy for pets.  As any pet owner knows, dogs eat many things humans wouldn’t, and usually without the benefit of broiling or frying first.

As usual, Grey2K activists are promoting myth instead of fact.  However, media stunts and publicity are not very productive for the greyhounds.  They would do more good for the dogs if they focused on greyhound welfare instead of political warfare.

Sincerely,

Gary Guccione, Communications Coordinator, AGC

 

NGA OFFERS HELP IN OHIO INVESTIGATION

The National Greyhound Association (NGA) has offered assistance to Logan County, OH officials investigating the deaths of 14 dogs, including some that may be greyhounds, found skinned and mutilated near a creek in Rush Lake Township.  

NGA Executive Director Gary Guccione said he advised the county’s humane agent, Joni Dailey, that his organization may be able to identify any dead dogs that appear to be greyhounds through DNA records.

“The NGA collects DNA samples from registered greyhounds, so there is a good chance, if these dogs are actually greyhounds, that we might be able to identify them and locate their owners,” Guccione said.

Although a local veterinarian identified some of the dead dogs as greyhounds, Guccione said coyote remains are often mistaken for greyhound carcasses.  If the dogs turn out to be registered greyhounds, the NGA’s own investigative and disciplinary process would be triggered.

“The NGA has adopted very tough rules to ensure that greyhound owners take responsibility for their dogs from birth to retirement,” Guccione said.  “People who violate those rules, especially in such an egregious way as this, are subject to lifetime expulsion from the sport.”

 “It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to harm animals in this way,” Guccione concluded.  “Our members are in the greyhound business because they love dogs; when something like this happens, we want to help in any way we can to get to the bottom of it.”

 

TRACK OPERATORS SEEK NOMINATIONS FOR GREYHOUND PERSON OF YEAR

The American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) has announced that it is seeking nominations for the 2009 Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year.  This award recognizes a volunteer who has generously given of his or her time to assist in placing former racing greyhounds into homes as pets.

“There are many dedicated volunteers throughout the U.S. and Canada who work tirelessly to find suitable homes for greyhounds that have completed their racing careers,” said Karen Keelan, president of the AGTOA.  “Each year, as a tribute to them all, we honor one of these individuals.”

Anyone can nominate an individual to receive this recognition.  The recipient will be selected based on the individual’s dedication and contribution to greyhound adoption during that year.

The Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year will be honored at the AGTOA’s annual meeting in March 2010 in Las Vegas. In addition to paying for travel and accommodations for the trip, the AGTOA will make a $500 donation to an adoption group of the honoree’s choice.

For a nomination form or more information, click here or call Dennis Bicsak (561) 615-3916.  Nomination forms must be received by August 28, 2009 for consideration.

The Greyhound Adoption Person of the Year was established in 2007.  Past winners are Cheryl King, Heart of Texas Greyhound Inc. (2007) and Dennis Tyler, Central Florida Greyhound Pets of America (2008).

The AGTOA, formed in 1946, is a non-profit corporation comprised of greyhound race track owners and operators throughout the nation.