As readers of Scission know by now, my best friend is an ex-racing greyhound. Hawk is our third greyhound and we have loved each of these wonderful dogs with all our hearts. As a result, I try to dedicate a Scission periodically to the fight against the greyhound racing industry and the abuse of these fine animals.
Today we go to West Virginia which it seems has one of the worse records in this whole sad industry. The Charleston Daily Mail report on June 13:
The Daily Mail's Dave Boucher reported June 5 that the state racing commission refused to provide details about three men disciplined for abuse or neglect of racing greyhounds.
In response, Executive Director Carey Thiel of the greyhound protection group GREY2K USA wrote that West Virginia's policy makes it an outlier among states that permit greyhound racing.
The three men are James Bloom, James Grace and Christopher Bever. Grace and Bever lost their operating permits, while Bloom's permit was suspended for six months, according to the rulings.
The rulings state Bloom, Grace and Bever abused, neglected or generally mistreated dogs but provide no further details about the actual transgressions. The racing commission provided the rulings on Bloom and Grace in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made by the Daily Mail.
Thiel said GREY2K has sought and received 619 board of judges' rulings from West Virginia tracks since 2007. More than 98 percent contained few or no details about the incidents that led to the rulings.
As Thiel pointed out, failure to document the disposition of neglect or cruelty cases could hamper attempts at prosecution under the state's anti-cruelty law. It also prevents regulators in other states from getting information about people who seek greyhound trainer's licenses.
Eventually, due to the diligent work of Grey2K and the follow up of the Daily Mirror the Racing Commission released some details.
Two men recently punished by the state racing commission denied proper treatment to a greyhound with a broken leg, and a third man hit another dog, according to newly released information.
The reality is that no matter how transparent the industry is or becomes, the bottom line is that as long as their is greyhound racing there will continue to be cruelty, abuse, and death.
One gristly outcome of greyhound racing is what sometimes happens when the dogs come in contact with the lure they are chasing. The dogs are electrocuted and die.
The Ledger, a Florida newspaper, reports:
Perhaps these fatalities are deemed too rare — headlines tend to refer to them as freak accidents — to drive reforms. But news reports over the past decade indicate they've happened at several dog tracks in Florida and across the nation.
The Sarasota Kennel Club is among them, apparently.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that electrocution is the presumed cause of a greyhound death that occurred during a February race there. The month before, another greyhound died during a race — the cause was not determined but electrocution was considered a possibility.
Elsewhere, news reports cite cases in which greyhounds were killed by contact with track wiring or by impact in collisions with the lures.
These deaths are disturbing, in part because they involve equipment to which greyhounds are frequently exposed during their racing careers.
Of course, electrocution is only one danger of the race itself (note that I am not even discussing here the cruel treatment and abuse these dogs receive off the track and in the kennels and training facilities). The Ledger continues:
Down on the track, meanwhile, dogs hurtle through their own game of chance — a high-speed one in which serious muscle and bone injuries are not uncommon. Often these stem from dogs bumping into each other as they rush around the curves.
Whitney, our second greyhound friend, came to us with her leg in a cast as a result of injuries suffered in her last race. Sasha our first greyhound had the scars to prove he had been out on the track. Fortunately, Hawk, our current friend got out before his first race because he simply wouldn't chase that damn electronic "rabbit," nor would he run straight. He preferred to meander. Smart guy...
I leave you with this news report from WTAE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on injuries and deaths at West Virginia tracks. I apologize for the commercials, but the video is worth watching.
Read more: http://www.wtae.com/news/local/action-news-investigation-reveals-greyhound-injuries-deaths-at-wva-racetrack/-/9681086/20185904/-/j2ggdi/-/index.html#ixzz2WVaJf5MQ
The following is from the Charleston Daily Mail on June 12th.