Thousands Of Dogs Will Need Homes Now That Florida Has Banned Greyhound Racing

Three muzzled greyhounds racing
Matthias Hangst / Getty Images

Now that Floridians have voted to phase out greyhound racing in their state by 2020, many dogs may be out of a home, People is reporting. Amendment 13 passed with 69 percent of the vote during the 2018 midterm elections, pleasing many animal rights activists.

“It’s one of the largest victories for animal protection in history in the western world,” said Carey Theil, founder of GREY2K USA Worldwide. “It cannot be overstated how significant this win is.”

While this is a huge win for animal welfare in general, the ban also results in some unintended consequences. Sources are estimating that around 8,000 to 15,000 greyhounds will need new homes over the next two years as the racing industry slowly fizzles out. It has been reported, however, that the Florida Greyhound Association will work with 102 different organizations to help get these dogs adopted. Unfortunately, not many trainers are willing to work with organizations and people who openly supported Amendment 13.

Sonia Strattemann, founder of Elite Greyhound Adoptions in Loxahatchee, Florida, claims she was blackballed by the industry for voting for the ban. She used to take in around 200 greyhounds a year up until last year. Now, she takes in around 20. She believes people are afraid to speak out about the situation in fear of not being given the opportunity to help the dogs. Former greyhound trainer and committee member of the Greyhound Racing Association of America Dennis McKeon gave weight to this theory via a Facebook post.

“The best and brightest minds in both the racing and adoption communities, are currently engaged in formulating cooperative strategies to account for every greyhound who will be affected by the travesty of Amendment 13,” he wrote. “Those ‘best and brightest’ do not include any person or group who supported the greyhound-averse Amendment 13.”

Greyhound trainers and those involved in the industry are angry over losing their livelihood. Animals rights activists, however, feel the treatment of the greyhounds is dangerous and don’t feel that racing is worth it. Four hundred ninety-three on-track deaths have been reported since 2013, and 2013 was only the first year deaths were required to be reported. Two hundred eighty-one of these deaths were confirmed to be race-related while 24 were regarded as likely race-related. Twenty-nine deaths were filed under “unknown cause.” The deaths that were documented can be attributed to fractures, broken necks and backs, fatal head injuries, electrocutions, extreme exhaustion, and illnesses caused by bad meat.

“I understand that the ban is taking away some people’s livelihoods. But people can find other jobs that don’t involve making money off the backs of these animals,” said Adam Sugalski, founder of the organization One Protest.

For now, those who want to help these greyhounds find homes are encouraged to consider fostering or adopting dogs from their local greyhound shelters. People also have the option to donate to those shelters, or organizations like HSUS and GREY2K.