CONSUMER FREEDOM FILES IRS COMPLAINT AGAINST HSUS

The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a leading opponent of animal rights extremism, has filed a complaint with the IRS alleging that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is abusing its not-for-profit status to benefit the for-profit corporation, Whole Foods. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey sits on the HSUS Board of Directors.

The complaint alleges that HSUS is threatening food businesses with reprisals unless they procure their meats from the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), an organization set up by and largely funded by Whole Foods to “certify” humanely raised meat. HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle serves on the board of GAP. Whole Foods is reportedly paying the salaries of three GAP employees, including its Executive Director.

A story on the CCF website notes that HSUS appears to be acting as the “enforcer” by pressuring companies to buy only those products certified as “humane” by GAP, and available from Whole Foods. And, of course, HSUS and Whole Foods get to decide how “humane” is defined.

CCF concludes that the arrangement “smells rotten.” We couldn’t agree more. When you use your tax-exempt organization to grow the profits of a for-profit corporation run by one of your board members, in plain language–it stinks.

2017 GAPY AWARD NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN

Nominations for the American Greyhound Council (AGC) 2016 Greyhound Adoption Program of the Year (GAPY) Award are now open. New this year, the AGC Board of Directors has voted to establish a basic eligibility requirement for all GAPY nominees. To be eligible for the 2017 GAPY Award, the nominated organization must have adopted out or facilitated the adoption of at least 36 greyhounds in the preceding calendar year (2016). The nomination form has been modified to reflect that new standard.

The GAPY Award was launched in 2007 by the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA), and became a program of the AGC in 2010. The recognition started as an individual award, but in 2014 was modified to recognize adoption organizations instead of individuals.

The GAPY Award recognizes two outstanding adoption organizations each year. Each of the winners receives a $1,000 donation and a commemorative plaque. AGC Communications Coordinator Jim Gartland said the GAPY Award has become synonymous with excellence in the greyhound adoption field.

“Greyhound adoption has become an international success story, thanks to the hard work of hundreds of dedicated adoption volunteers across the U.S. and Canada,” Gartland said. “The GAPY Award is our way of saying thank you to all those incredible organizations that make great things happen for retired racers.”

Anyone may nominate an adoption group for the award. Nominations will remain open until late September, with winners to be announced in December 2017.

NAPLES DAILY NEWS HIGHLIGHTS SUCCESS OF EVERETT KENNEL

Naples High graduate and top greyhound owner Kelly Everett was the focus of a great story in the February 28 edition of the Naples Daily News. Here’s the article in its entirety.Read

Kelly Everett visited the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track with his mother Cindy two decades ago. Except for sleeping at home, he has never left.

Everett’s love affair with the greyhounds has taken him from kennel assistant to trainer, and now one of the most successful owners in the 60-year history of the Bonita Springs track.

“They are truly part of my family,” Everett, 37, said of his greyhounds. “I spend more time with the greyhounds than my actual family. Once you’re involved with them it’s easy to get attached. You might say I have 66 children, thinking of the dogs I own and others in the kennel trained for other owners.”

Everett has cemented himself as the leading trainer by recording 374 wins and earning $319,830 in 2015-2016, and another 200-plus wins and $153,718 in purses in 2016-2017.

The Bonita Springs resident and Naples High School graduate is nearing 2,000 wins at the track as a trainer or owner under the Everett Racing banner.

Everett has been the leading trainer in Bonita Springs for four years — and the last three years at the sister track in Miami, Flagler Dog Track. Everett has delivered the results for the kennel, winning three Naples-Fort Myers Derby races while grooming three local All-American greyhounds – Tiger Boy, B’s Headliner and Where’s Big Cash.

Everett Racing has two greyhounds, Flyin Mike Tyson and Flyin Honor Code, in the $50,000 Naples-Fort Myers Derby Championship on Saturday night.
Everett watches nearly every race, and just grimaces when one of his dogs gets bumped out of the money while they’re going 30-40 mph, usually in less than 31 seconds.

“They’re absolutely athletes and are treated like an athlete with nutrition, exercise and good vitamins,” he said. “You know when you come in the dogs are happy to see you. They kind of let you know you’re there for them.

“Dogs have to be in good condition to race. People that have pets at home, it’s simple, and these dogs are high maintenance.”

Everett, who bowled a 300 game at age 15 to become the youngest in Florida to accomplish the feat, starts a track day at 5 a.m.

“Turn them out in the pen, then exercise and weighing, feeding at 7 a.m. and then a second turnout,” he said. “On a typical day, we’ll feed them red meat, pasta noodles and dry grain — no sugar but occasionally bananas or a treat.
“I always check a dog for soreness or scratches after he or she races, and the vet will inspect again on the next race day.”

But it’s not all work or business with the greyhounds.

“Certain dogs will play around, throw their muzzle on you, then jump up and hug and it’s really cool to see them smile with their mouth wide open,” he said. “Flying Nnamdi, a stakes winner, had such a personality, always wanting to play. After you are around them for 80 hours in a week, you kind of know who’s who and some of their mannerisms.”

Racing secretary Ron DePari has watched Everett become successful with a simple formula.

“Every single day I’m at the track Kelly is here working, no matter what time of the day,” DePari said.

Greyhounds typically race until they are four years old, and then are made available for adoption. “More greyhounds are adopted than any other breed,” Everett said. “They’re unique — something you won’t find at the pet store. I’ve been their caretaker for several years so I’m not surprised when people who adopt tell me how attached they have become.”

Everett does have some betting advice.

“There are a lot of different reasons to wager on a certain dog, like the horses, everything from bloodlines to past performances,” he said.

BREAST CANCER FIGHT GETS BOOST FROM WOMEN OF GREYHOUND RACING

The Women of Greyhound Racing have stepped up once again to support the fight against breast cancer. Here’s the story, as it appeared on the website of the Community Foundation of the Ohio Valley:

The Lee Ann Foundation, a component fund of the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley, received a generous gift from the Women of Greyhound Racing (WoGR) in support of the ongoing fight against breast cancer.The $12,000 contribution was made possible by a variety of fundraising efforts that included a t-shirt sale and online greyhound themed auction.

The Women of Greyhound Racing was established in 2013 and seeks to not only recognize women in all elements of the greyhound industry, but to also support charitable causes related to breast cancer. The timing of the project coincides with the organization’s Fall National Meet which includes elements of breast cancer awareness and recognition for both racing greyhounds and those involved in the industry.

The 2016 campaign proved to be the most successful and also marked the first time proceeds were directed to a cause in West Virginia. Charities in areas with racing are selected annually to benefit from the WoGR campaign. The Lee Ann Foundation was recommended to the organization by racing personnel at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack.
Penny Wick, organizer of the project, was thrilled with the response. But she was not necessarily surprised since those involved in the greyhound scene regularly support relevant causes.

“We had donations of all types from 23 states and two Canadian provinces. It ranged from a grandmother, whose daughter raises greyhounds, to the owner of a racetrack facility, large greyhound operations and individual greyhound adopters. The largest single contribution was $1,300 and smallest, $5, both auction items,” Wick shared.

The Lee Ann Foundation was founded in 2009 after its namesake, Lee Ann Schambach, passed from inflammatory breast cancer. Lee Ann’s strength and fight inspired family members to create an opportunity to support others as they navigate similar journeys. The Schambachs knew all too well the added expense that accompanies a challenging diagnosis.

Through the Lee Ann Foundation, local patients are able to receive monetary support for co-pays, wigs, travel expenses, supportive care services and other related treatment items.

Brian Schambach, widower of Lee Ann, was humbled by the generosity of the group and is eager to continue supporting those fighting cancer. “I was astonished and stunned when I learned the Women of Greyhound Racing would be donating $12,000 to the Lee Ann Foundation,” he said. “We work hard throughout the year at various fundraisers and don’t compile an amount like that. I’m grateful.”

Since 1972, the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley has connected donors who care with causes that matter by making grants to organizations working to improve the quality of life in the Upper Ohio Valley. With assets of more than $34 million, the Foundation assisted in distributing more than $2 million in grants and scholarships during 2015-16. From strengthening community schools to assisting local arts programs, from building health centers to assisting victims of violence or natural disasters, the Community Foundation continues to enhance our region. To learn more, please visit the Foundation online at www.cfov.org.

OCTOBER 1 DEADLINE SET FOR GAPY NOMINATIONS

If you’ve been thinking about nominating your favorite adoption group for the Greyhound Adoption Program of the Year (GAPY) Award, there’s still time to do so. AGC Communications Coordinator Jim Gartland has announced that the nomination deadline has been extended to October 1, 2016.

The GAPY award was started in 2007 by the American Greyhound Track Operators Association (AGTOA) as an individual award, and became a program of the American Greyhound Council (AGC) in 2010. In 2014, the emphasis shifted to recognizing adoption organizations.

Any individual or organization may nominate a candidate for the GAPY award. Each of the two organizations selected as winners each year will receive a $1,000 donation.

Previous winners include:

2015:  Greyhound Crossroads, South Carolina; Second Chance Greyhounds, Georgia.

2014:  SOS Levriers de Quebec, Canada; Project Racing Home Greyhounds, North Carolina.

2013:  Monica Smith, Greyhound Support Transport

2012:  Lesley Ezkovich, It’s a Grey Area

2011:  Ann Bollens, GPA Emerald Coast Chapter

2010:  Linda Jensen, Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

INDIANA LAWMAKER SEEKS INVESTIGATION OF HSUS

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that six Indiana legislators have asked the state’s Attorney General to investigate the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for deceptive fundraising practices. State Senator Brent Steele and five of his colleagues have sent a letter to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller accusing the nation’s wealthiest animal rights organization of misleading Indian residents into “believing that donations will benefit abandoned pets at local humane society shelters, which are not affiliated with the national group.”

In the letter, Steele wrote, “Hoosiers would be well-served to know that their donations may go to high-powered lobbying and public relations experts of a national organization that has attacked institutions, traditions and practices that are part of Indiana’s heritage, such as farming, ranching and hunting.”

If Zoeller grants the request, he will be the second state Attorney General to investigate the wealthy animal rights giant. In 2014, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a consumer alert about HSUS and opened an investigation of the organization’s fundraising practices in that state. After Pruitt issued subpoenas to obtain HSUS fundraising and financial records, the HSUS filed a lawsuit against him. That action is still pending before the court.

 

NGA REVOKES PRIVILEGES OF ARKANSAS BREEDER

At a June 4 hearing in Abilene, the Board of Directors of the National Greyhound Association (NGA) revoked the membership and registry privileges of Shane Vonderstrasse of Mt. Pleasant, Arkansas, effective immediately. The action was taken following a May 15 NGA inspection that disclosed greyhounds on the facility not receiving proper care and adequate shelter. NGA inspectors were accompanied by local law enforcement during the inspection.

Subsequent to the inspection, Vonderstrasse voluntarily turned all 141 greyhounds under his care over to the NGA. The dogs were then transported via four different vehicles–three of which were dispatched to the site by NGA immediately after the inspection– either to Abilene or to the West Memphis area.

Under the direction of the NGA, and with financial support from the American Greyhound Council (AGC), the greyhounds were provided with appropriate care and necessary attention. Most of the evacuated dogs have been returned to their rightful owners.

The NGA has placed a lien on remaining greyhounds still in its possession. Some will be offered at auction to NGA members in good standing later in the month. Those not purchased will be placed with credible adoption agencies.

Vonderstrasse, who had not renewed his NGA membership for 2014, has been given until July 7 to transfer any remaining greyhounds out of his name. Moreover, the Board ruled that anyone conducting any type of greyhound business with Vonderstrasse after that date could also be subject to punitive action from the Board.

In addition to placing greyhounds under his stewardship at risk, Vonderstrasse was cited for failing to comply with NGA registry requirements—specifically, for not tattooing or registering pups in a timely manner—and for not responding to NGA edicts in regard to registrations and complaints.

“This was an unusual case that required NGA’s immediate action and full attention,” said NGA Executive Director Gary Guccione. “NGA representatives and members responded to the situation swiftly and effectively. We can’t thank enough those individuals who have been involved for their willingness to assist in getting these greyhounds to safety and for helping nurture them back to full health. The adoption community is standing ready, as well, to assist in the last leg of this situation, for which we’re extremely grateful.”