Florida senator files constitutional amendment to end greyhound racing

By Melissa Eichman, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 07, 2017, 6:49 AM EST

Some people believe it’s in a greyhound’s blood to race. Others argue the dogs are dying on Florida's race tracks, and it's long past time the races were stopped.

  • If passed, amendment would end racing over 3-year-period
  • Derby Lane had no comment on proposed legislation
  • Since 2013, 65 greyhounds have died at Derby Lane

Florida state senator Tom Lee (R-Brandon) recently filed a constitutional amendment that would phase out greyhound racing over a three-year time period.

"There’s a lot of inhumanity and cruelty going on in that industry, not all breeders and tracks are responsible for that," Lee said. "But a lot of states in America have banned dog racing. It also has the added benefit of saving Florida several million dollars -- we actually lose money, net to tax revenue, from dog racing here in our state."

Carey Theil, Executive Director of greyhound advocate organization Grey2K USA calls the proposal historic.

"All across the state, greyhounds are enduring lives of confinement," Theil said. "They’re suffering serious injuries and they’re dying on the track and it’s time that this industry is phased out."

“Since 2013, 65 greyhounds have died at Derby Lane and 38 greyhounds have died at Sanford Orlando Kennel Club,” Theil continued. “This is an industry that causes the death of young dogs. Derby Lane is, in fact, the state leader when it comes to greyhound deaths.”

Derby Lane had no comment on Senator Lee's proposal. However, in a 2016 story about greyhound deaths, they issued the following statement.

“Only a very small percentage of greyhounds are injured. An even smaller percentage are actually lost due to injuries that cut short the career of these beautiful athletes.

Greyhounds are not forced to run, they love to run. Derby Lane is one of the safest tracks in the country, and we strive to maintain it so these athletes can do what they love.”

Sanford Orlando Kennel Club released the following statement in response to Lee’s proposal.

"We’re still in the process of reviewing, but jeopardizing an industry that generates 3,000 jobs, $11 million in tax revenues and is responsible for 8,000 greyhounds in Florida needs to be examined closely without input from individuals that have no involvement for the care of greyhounds in Florida."  - Mitch Cohen, General Manager

To read the full text of the proposed amendment, visit www.flcrc.gov.