"We're talking about young healthy dogs that are being killed.
When you look at them, you see all they want is a little attention and some love."
An Iowa veterinarian People, September 23, 1991
"If there's anybody to be indicted here, it's the industry because this is what they're doing to these animals. The misery begins the day they're born. The misery ends when my client gets a hold of them and puts a bullet in their head."
Buddy Brackin, attorney for contract greyhound killer, Robert Rhodes
National Public Radio, May 31, 2002
DISCOVERY OF 36 ABUSED GREYHOUNDS by the Iowa Department of Agriculture forces license forfeitures of greyhound breeder, Kenneth Sherrets. Upon a routine inspection of Sherret's Independence, Iowa dog farm in September, inspectors found greyhounds in very poor condition. The Dept of AG made several subsequent visits and issued repeated warnings; finally filing a complaint on October 25th. The report stated that the greyhounds were subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment and caused to suffer unnecessary pain due to inadequate food, water shelter, bedding and medical treatment. Sherrets subsequently lost his Dubuque booking and his racing privileges in both Iowa and Wisconsin. Sherrets, a long-time NGA member, allowed the NGA to remove the dogs from his farm. NGA officials refuse to disclose the whereabouts of the neglected greyhounds to the local press.
Source: Iowa Racing Commission Ruling, October 27, 2004; KWWL TV, November 1, 2004; WCF Courier, November 9, 2004
THE FIRST AND LAST RACE FOR DOOMED GREYHOUND PUPPY "Mr. Junior Mint," an 18-month-old puppy, was entered into his first-ever schooling race on July 30th at the Flagler dog track. He fell and was bumped into the rail during a collision with "Our Baby Ruth," another 18-month-old pup. Two of his legs were severed when he was hit by the lure motor; he died from massive blood loss. "Our Baby Ruth," who was also injured, disappeared from the record on August 27th after performing poorly in subsequent schooling races.
Source: Greyhound Protection League complaint filed August 2, 2004; DBPR Report. September 30, 2004
KENNEL COUGH STRIKES AGAIN The virus, once again, started in South Florida and spread throughout the state. It then made its way to Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and to tracks in New England in spite of quarantines. Reporting of race dog deaths is not mandatory. The acknowledged death toll of 22 is contradicted by insider reports which put the number closer to 50. Researchers are attempting to determine why this highly contagious, but relatively benign virus turns deadly in racing dogs. The effects from the stress of racing are being explored.
Source: Multiple media sources June - July 2004; University of Florida Veterinary School
UPDATE - RHODES CASE: CLARENCE PATTERSON, A KEY FIGURE IN GREYHOUND KILLINGS, IN CUSTODY Patterson, who had eluded authorities for nearly two years was located in the Alabama jail system. His discovery greatly improves the prosecution's case against other defendants who have been trying to get the case dismissed after the death of Rhodes and disappearance of Patterson. Patterson, who held a booking at the Pensacola dog track, has been described as the go-between for other Florida trainers who sent dogs to Rhodes to be killed.
Source: Mobile Register, June 30, 2004; July 7, 2004
UPDATE - RHODES CASE: NEW ALABAMA LAW REDUCES THE INHUMANE KILLING OF GREYHOUNDS FROM A FELONY TO A MISDEMEANOR David Whetstone, the Baldwin County District Attorney, who is prosecuting the Rhodes' greyhound-killing case, weighed in on the effect of a new law that passed through the Alabama legislature. Whetstone said his interpretation of the statute, a misdemeanor imposing escalating fines beginning at $500, is that it exempts racing greyhounds from a 3-year-old law that makes the torture of animals a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. "It's dog-specific. There's no doubt that it would exclude the "Gucci Law", or the Alabama animal cruelty law, as it applies to greyhound dogs," he said. "It effectively reduces the greyhound dog to a beast of burden... A junkyard dog has more protection than a greyhound dog under this statute."
Source: Mobile Register, June 26, 2004
BRUTAL LURE DEATH AT DAIRYLAND "WJS Larkana" and "Glo's K Peabody" were involved in a collision around the first turn; "Peabody" suffered a broken leg from the collision. Larkana became disoriented and fell into the lure pit where she suffered electric shock from the live rail and was then hit by the lure motor, severing two of her legs. The Greyhound Protection League filed a complaint with the Wisconsin State Gaming Association based on Dairyland's long standing high injury rate and the track's apparent unwillingness to stop the lure to avoid such catastrophes. Dairyland management stated that they are proud of their safety record.
Source: Associated Press, June 11, 2004; Kenosha News, June 12, 2004; GPL Complaint and injury statistics
POSITIVE DRUG TESTS GO PUBLIC AND TAINT INTEGRITY OF FLORIDA GREYHOUND RACES State records from June 1, 2002, to May 30, 2003, reveal that 44 greyhounds tested positive for trace amounts of cocaine. 37 cocaine positives were recorded between 2001 and 2002 and 38 between 2000 and 2001 during the respective time frame. State regulators neither investigated nor contacted local law enforcement. A request from animal rights groups for an investigation by the state attorney general was denied.
Source: Tampa Tribune, May 3, 2004; Naples Daily News, May 20, 2004
UPDATE - RHODES CASE: TESTIMONY LINKS GREYHOUND KILLING TO FLORIDA DOG TRACKS During an April, 22 Baldwin County hearing related to the Rhodes case, investigators for the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering testified that Robert Rhodes was known from one end of Florida to the other among people in the dog-racing industry. Kennel owners and trainers from as far away as South Florida sent greyhounds to Rhodes's farm to be killed. Dog-men found the service attractive because the $10-per animal cost was about half what a veterinarian would charge for euthanasia. Thursday's testimony was the first time Baldwin County officials have detailed publicly how widespread they believe the practice is in the Sunshine State. District Attorney David Whetstone commented to the Mobile Register: "This case shows what was going on in the greyhound racing industry in Florida. It opens up the eyes to how sinister it was." Florida authorities are waiting for the outcome of the Alabama case before pursuing charges against the Florida defendants for transporting greyhounds over state lines for the purpose of killing them.
Source: Mobile Register, April 23, 2004
RESEARCHERS CONCLUDE THAT THE EIGHT JACKSONVILLE RACE DOGS THAT DIED IN JANUARY SUCCUMBED TO EQUINE INFLUENZA A University of Florida research team has no idea why the virus jumped the species barrier from horses to race dogs. They are investigating links to other disease outbreaks in race dogs.
Source: Associated Press, April 22, 2004
15 MALNOURISHED GREYHOUNDS SEIZED BY MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE The dogs were found penned in a field without adequate food and shelter. The bodies of four dead greyhounds were found under a tarp, along with dead puppies that had been tossed into a plastic tub. The ex-racing dogs had been acquired from local breeders for use as rabbit dogs. The live dogs were taken to a veterinary clinic where they were picked up by a local adoption group. The property owner, Delroy Reed who turned himself in on April 15th, has been charged with 15 counts of animal cruelty.
Source: Greyhound Network News, Spring 2004; Muskogee Phoenix, April 13, 2004
"DOG FIGHT" ERUPTS WHEN NAPLES-FORT MYERS DOG TRACK INVITES CITY COUNCIL TO HOLD 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS AT TRACK Greyhound advocates eventually won a two month battle against the proposal which was labeled an act of gross negligence and irresponsibility by the Greyhound Protection League.
Source: Naples Daily News, April 10, 2004
UPDATE: VIOLATION OF VETERINARY RULES PUTS NAPLES-FORT MYERS TRACK MANAGER'S LICENSE IN JEOPARDY Acting on a complaint filed by the Greyhound Protection League, the Florida Division of Parimutuel Wagering finally took action against the repeated violations of State rules that require veterinary presence at dog tracks before and during official races. Concerns about veterinary issues at the track first surfaced in 2000 with the death of Tune Me In and came to a head with the November 2003 injuries to Plinko Drive and Solitary Hattie which occurred when no veterinarian was available. The Division filed an administrative complaint in February 2003 against the track's general manager stating that he violated state law on 15 different occasions between June 2002 and October 2003 by not having a veterinarian present for the races.
Source: GPL complaint filed with Pari-Mutuel Division November 1, 2003; Naples Daily News, November 4, 2003 and February 6, 2004
TWO RACING GREYHOUNDS DIE OF HEAT EXHAUSTION IN HAULER Kennel operator Marshall Rae admitted to hauling 40 greyhounds from Oregon to Oklahoma in mid-summer without stopping to check on the dogs. The two greyhounds that lost their lives during the 36 hour ordeal were disposed of in a shallow grave. Rae was suspended from racing for 90 days and ordered to pay $250 in fines by the Oregon Racing Commission.
Source: The Oregonian, February 3, 2004
TUCSON KENNEL OWNER FAILS TO PROVIDE TREATMENT FOR INJURED GREYHOUND Acting on a complaint filed by the track adoption director, the Arizona Department of Racing made an unannounced inspection of the Dunsford Kennel and found a two-year old female with multiple infected wounds up to five inches in length, elevated temperature and painful, swollen rear legs.* The adoption group took the dog and paid for her veterinary care. Dunsford was fined $500 and his license was summarily suspended for 60 days.
Source: Greyhound Network News, Spring 2004; ADOR investigative report December 2003
NOTE: *Contrary to popular belief, track vets intervene only for on-the-scene emergencies on the track. Beyond that, it is up to the kennel operator's discretion to seek off-site private veterinary care and incur any expenses.
UPDATE: WEST VIRGINIA APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS VERDICT ON GREYHOUND DEATHS Kansas greyhound breeders, Michael and Terry Kraft, filed suit after losing 14 dogs to heat exhaustion when an air conditioning unit failed in the make-shift trailer/kennel that housed race dogs boarded at a Girty's Point dog farm. An Ohio County jury had rendered a verdict that the ZEZ Kennel and the Wheeling West Virginia race track were at fault in the death of more than 60 greyhounds that perished and awarded the Krafts nearly $1 million in compensation. The Krafts, who were the only dog owners to file suit have been shunned by others in the industry for taking legal action.
Source: The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register, September 26, 2003, News 9-Wheeling, October 2, 2003
GREYHOUND DIET COMES UNDER SCRUTINY DURING MAD COW DISEASE SCARE In addition to the flesh of sick animals, raw 4-D meat is likely to contain brain and spinal matter that has been identified as harboring the bovine spongiform organism that causes mad cow disease. According to former track veterinarian, Arthur Strohbehn, food handlers at tracks and farms are at high risk of infection from the noxious organisms contained in the meat during feed preparation.
Source: Greyhound Protection League, December 29, 2003; Strohbehn document February 9, 1990
RACING AT NAPLES-FORT MYERS DOG TRACK TURNS DEADLY A three-year old female, Plinko Drive, hit the rail in the 6th race on November 1st after a collision with another dog. Her front leg was severed and she lay in pain for over an hour before she was euthanized because no vet was present for the day's races. The 7th race yielded another tragedy when Solitary Hattie broke her leg with no immediate veterinary intervention. She was also euthanized upon orders from her owner who told the Naples Daily News that "he wouldn't be upset if no veterinarian was there....the greyhound industry is under unfair scrutiny."
Source: Naples Daily News, November 4, 2003; The News-Press, November 5, 2003; Greyhound Protection League complaint filed November 1, 2003, with the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering
GREYHOUND DIES OF BLOOD LOSS AND ELECTROCUTION DURING RACE AT MOBILE A three-year old greyhound was killed September 26th at the Mobile, Alabama, dog track after she was bumped into the inside rail, electrocuted and then had her leg ripped off. The Greyhound Protection League (GPL) requested a racing commission investigation after spectators witnessed the dog stagger and scream before she finally died. GPL suggested that the track update its facility to prevent further tragedies. The commission denied that any hazards exist and never opened an inquiry into the circumstances of the death. A request by GPL for injury and euthanasia records has been ignored.
Source: Mobile Register, October 25, 2003; Greyhound Protection League files
JURY RETURNS VERDICT AGAINST BLUFFS RUN FOR FAILING TO PROVIDE SAFE RACING CONDITIONS The Iowa verdict sets a precedent that dog tracks can be sued for failures in the animal welfare arena. State Gaming Commission records revealed 60 injuries, including at least 9 deaths, from January through September 2003.
Source: Omaha World-Herald, October 17, 2003
LETA'S PRINCESS HIT BY LURE MOTOR AFTER FALLING INTO ELECTRONIC LURE PIT AT PALM BEACH KENNEL CLUB On July 13th, three-year-old Leta was pinned under the lure rail and her jacket was entangled in the motor when the vet arrived at the scene to euthanize her. Patrons were in tears at the sound of her screams as she unsuccessfully tried to escape the jolts of electricity. GPL determined that 166 collisions had occurred at the Palm Beach track the prior week.
Source: Eye-witness accounts; Greyhound Protection League complaint to Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering; DPMW investigative report; Palm Beach Post, July 18, 2003
NOTE: Investigative report includes comments indicating that the State investigator took an unwarranted interest in the identity and affiliation of citizens who peacefully exercised their constitutional right to protest Leta's death. A video tape of the gathering is in his file.
UPDATE - RHODES CASE: INFAMOUS DOG KILLER DIES Robert Rhodes, who admitted to a 40-year career killing failed racing greyhounds died in his Lillian, Alabama, home in late June 2003. Rhodes' testimony was essential to Baldwin County Prosecutor, David Whetstone's case against four Florida para-mutuel licensees who delivered and/or participated in the killings. Whetstone vows to continue his pursuit of the case by challenging the state's hearsay rules. Clarence Patterson, who fingered others involved, is still missing.
Source: Mobile Register, July 1, 2003
EMACIATED RACING GREYHOUNDS CONFISCATED FROM DEFUNCT ARKANSAS BREEDING FARM Acting on a tip after three greyhounds were found running loose in desperate need of food and water, animal rescuers found mass starvation and neglect on a Paragould, Arkansas, breeding farm. A search of the dilapidated, semi-abandoned property yielded three emaciated, live greyhounds and a Labrador with five pups confined to the house and a dead greyhound in a racing cage. The bodies of 15 more dead greyhounds were discovered in a huge freezer with no electrical hook-up.
Source: Greyhound Protection League, June 2003; Greyhound Network News, Summer 2003
CODE OF SILENCE HINDERS INVESTIGATION INTO DAYTONA GREYHOUND DEATHS The Florida Pari-Mutuel Division was unable to assess responsibility in the death of three racing dogs who died of heat exhaustion in early May because of severe memory lapses on the part of numerous witnesses. Two dogs died after schooling races and a third died on the sprint path. No veterinarian was present during either event.
Source: Daytona Beach News Journal, November 22, 2003; DBPR investigative report, June 13, 2003; GPL files, May 2003
THREE RACING GREYHOUNDS PERISH, OTHERS INJURED WHEN HAULING TRAILER CATCHES ON FIRE
Three greyhounds were dead at the scene when hot pieces of a flat tire from the truck pulling a 30-foot dog trailer flew into their cages. "These dogs died a horrible death," said Greyhound Protection League President, Susan Netboy. "Greyhound hauling vehicles are notoriously dangerous. Many are old dilapidated trailers that are virtual death traps on wheels, but old or new, the greyhounds don't have a chance when something goes wrong."
Source: Highway Patrol Incident Report, Ft. Myers District, April 12, 2003; Associated Press, April 13, 2003
2003 KENNEL COUGH OUTBREAK CUTS A DEVASTATING PATH FROM STATE TO STATE An epidemic of kennel cough that started at Florida dog tracks and moved into New England and as far West as Arkansas wrecked havoc at dog tracks from March through July. Voluntary quarantines which were either violated or imposed too late did little to stave off spread of the disease. In spite of the obvious risks to the health of their race dogs, few tracks were willing to sustain an economic loss by shutting down racing for the length of time experts recommended for full recovery and containment. Necropsies conducted on two Derby Lane greyhounds indicate that they died of complications which led to toxic shock syndrome that killed a large numbers of greyhounds in a 1999 epidemic.
Source: Multiple media reports; Greyhound Protection League complaint filed with the Florida DPMW, Spring 2003
GREYHOUND RACING INJURIES ON THE RISE AT DAIRYLAND DOG TRACK Wisconsin state records obtained by the Greyhound Protection League reveal an alarming 30% increase in track related injuries, up from 318 in 2001 to 412 in 2002. The League is pressing state regulators to remedy the Dairyland problem in an effort to save lives and alleviate unnecessary suffering to Wisconsin greyhounds.
Source: The Journal Sentinel, March 14, 2003; Wisconsin State Gaming Records
DISTEMPER IN FLORIDA RACING GREYHOUNDS A greyhound breeder reported that a South Florida race dog transmitted the deadly distemper virus to his Kansas farm in October 2002. In April 2003, Dr. Peter Fernandes stated that he had recently seen several fatal cases of what he believed was distemper among greyhounds at Florida Kennels, the South Florida compound that houses the Hollywood and Flagler race dogs. During January and February 2003, six greyhounds at the Sarasota dog track died from the distemper virus.
Source: NGA website December 28, 2002; Miami Herald, April 6, 2003; Florida DBPR report, March 13, 2003
DISTEMPER IDENTIFIED IN RACE DOGS AT MASSACHUSETTS RACING COMPOUNDS Two Raynham racing dogs died of distemper in late December. Two kennels at the Wonderland track compound were infected with distemper in late December. Officials did not report how many greyhounds succumbed to the disease at the Lynn compound. The sickness was not reported to State officials until a month later in response to a GPL complaint.
Source: March 2003 Department of Agriculture response to letter of inquiry from the Greyhound Protection League filed mid-January
UPDATE - SHONKA CASE: JUDGE RULES ON ILLEGAL SALE OF GREYHOUNDS TO RESEARCH LAB Former Wisconsin kennel owner, Daniel Shonka, was ordered to pay $110,000 in fines and restitution for sending hundreds of retired racing dogs to their deaths at Guidant Corporation, a St. Paul, Minnesota, research laboratory.
Source: Wisconsin State Journal, February 8, 2003
HINSDALE GREYHOUND KILLINGS EXPOSED Photographs of dead race dogs in a front loader sparked an inquiry into practices at New Hampshire's Hinsdale Greyhound Park. Fox News ran an investigative expose into track practices and the effectiveness of the track adoption program. The photos had been anonymously sent to GPL by an employee.
Source: Boston Affiliate Fox Television News, February, 3, 2003; Greyhound Protection League investigative files
DISTEMPER VIRUS KILLS 18 ARIZONA RACING GREYHOUNDS Eighteen race dogs at the Apache Junction kennel compound were overwhelmed by the deadly distemper virus in January 2003. The dogs had recently been transported from an Oregon dog farm operated by Ron Floyd. Floyd retains his privileges to operate a greyhound farm in spite of repeated violations of Oregon racing regulations.
Source: The Arizona Republic, January 10 and 14, 2003; The Oregonian, January 12, 2003; Arizona Department of Racing
VETERINARIAN LABELS 4-D MEAT A SERIOUS HEALTH HAZARD Dr. Arthur Strohbehn, a former veterinarian at the Bluffs Run dog track, recently reiterated his concern that raw meat from dead, diseased, downed and dying animals does not meet the legal requirement that race dogs be provided a wholesome diet. As a track veterinarian in the late 1980's, Dr. Strohbehn's responsibilities included making recommendations to the Iowa State Racing Commission that would assure compliance with State and Federal animal welfare laws and public health concerns. In a 1990 letter of complaint, Dr. Strohbehn refers to 4-D meat as a "pathogenic smorgasbord" which constitutes a health hazard to both employees and canines. The seven-page document also details a variety of violations related to steroid use, cage size and sanitation. His repeated attempts to work within the system were met with staunch resistance. The feeding of raw 4-D meat has been linked by other researchers to a variety of illnesses in racing greyhounds. However, the concerns of Dr. Strohbehn and others have fallen on deaf ears; raw 4-D meat continues to be the standard industry feed provided to racing greyhounds nation-wide.
Source: The Daily Nonpareil, January 2, 2003; Strohbehn document, February 9, 1990
DISTEMPER OUTBREAK HITS KANSAS GREYHOUNDS IN OCTOBER; DEATH TOLL EXCEEDS 100 A Kansas greyhound breeder lost as many as 100 pups in October 2002 from a distemper outbreak on his Abilene dog farm. The owner of the farm later reported that the infection was brought to Kansas by an adult greyhound from the Hollywood/Flagler kennel compound in South Florida. The infected dog exposed numerous other greyhounds who were subsequently hauled out to five different race tracks. The highly contagious, preventable disease spread to the Wichita dog track where adult race dogs also came down with the fatal illness. Kansas officials imposed a quarantine and claimed that the outbreak had been contained and would not migrate beyond Kansas borders.
Source: Wichita Eagle, December 28, 2002 / Abilene Reflector Chronicle, December 20, 2002; NGA website, December 24, 2002
Many more can be found on http://www.greyhounds.org/gpl/contents/media_cases2.html