The empty bleachers only confirmed that dog racing is a dying industy. The 8,000 spaces of the parking lot were almost entirely empty, as were the 6,600 seats inside. The ticket booth was unattended because there is no longer a charge for admission....Let me conclude that the question is not IF, but WHEN dog racing will end here and worldwide.
Last week I was at the Capitol in Austin meeting with lawmakers to release our new Report on Dog Racing in Texas. With a $10,000 grant from the ASPCA, we assembled and analyzed every public source of information available including hundreds of news reports, state documents and industry statements about dog racing. It is our hope that this new information will inform the debate and help end the cruelty of dog racing in the Lone Star State.
According to records obtained from the Texas Racing Commission:
- hundreds of greyhounds endure lives of confinement at Gulf Greyhound Park
- racing dogs are fed diseased 4-D meat to reduce overhead costs
- 1,507 greyhound racing injuries were reported between January 2008 and December 2011; 56 such injuries resulted in death
- the total amount gambled on live racing in Texas declined by 61% in the last 5 reported years
- a trainer surrendered his license after he was caught on video using live rabbits as bait for greyhounds
Earlier in the week, I had the chance to pay a visit to Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque. Thankfully, where there were once three facilities, now there is just one fully operational dog track in the state.
The empty bleachers only confirmed that dog racing is a dying industy. The 8,000 spaces of the parking lot were almost entirely empty, as were the 6,600 seats inside. The ticket booth was unattended because there is no longer a charge for admission. I saw just one teller stationed on each floor to take bets.
Walking out to the open track area, I was saddened to see groups of young children watching the races! It is school break time and it seems some parents decided to bring their kids with them to gamble, rather than enjoy the beautiful day together at home.
The dogs I saw were simply beautiful but after they were thrust into their numbered boxes, they began to cry and howl. No one seemed to notice or care. I only hoped that the children would not witness a terrible accident that day.
I ended my trip back in Austin with a visit to the offices of the Texas Racing Commission. I thanked officials there for introducing new rules to counter live lure training and to increase penalties that the Commission may levy against licensees who violate humane and other agency rules. We heartily applaud Executive Director Chuck Trout and Policy Development Officer Jean Cook for their work on these issues.
Let me conclude that the question is not IF, but WHEN dog racing will end here and worldwide. But we must keep working to make this happen. Please support our continuing efforts to be a voice for the dogs today.
The greyhounds are counting on us all to give them the second chance they deserve. Won’t you please help?