Wrapping Our Arms Around Greyhounds – Florida’s Brand New Law
On November 6th, 2018 Florida voters wrapped their arms around greyhounds on election night. Voters overwhelmingly supported an amendment that bans commercial dog racing. Amendment 13 won approval from roughly 5.4 million Floridians with a 69% to 31% victory.
The Committee to Protect Dogs, which lobbied for the racing ban, called the vote “a knock-out blow to a cruel industry that has been hurting and killing dogs for nearly a century.” Florida is the site of 13 of the nation’s 17 dog tracks. Amendment 13’s implementation means that the industry will basically be wiped out by the end of 2021.
The “sport” of dog racing has been rife with drugging of dogs, abuse, and the abandonment of thousands of greyhounds. Dogs were often kept in cages for 23 hours a day and lived in deplorable conditions. Greyhound rescues exist around the country to address the need for rescuing and rehoming these animals.
Yes, greyhound racing is big business and opponents of the amendment argued that ending commercial dog racing would cost the state tens of millions in money from gambling. As commercial racing ends there will be thousands of dogs that need homes. So far, all parties concerned have promised to help the dogs get happy endings. There will be challenges. But, wonderfully, doing the right thing by the dogs won the hearts, minds, and votes of millions of Floridians.