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Creature Feature: A Losing Bet: Greyhound Racing's Impact On Shelters

In one state, these dogs aren’t even legally “dogs”—they’re just cash cows

In one state, these dogs aren’t even legally “dogs”—they’re just cash cows

Marketed as family-friendly entertainment, greyhound racing is hard on the dogs—and on the shelters and rescues that take on the costs of caring for, adopting, and sterilizing retirees. JANET WINIKOFF
It’s a sunny November day at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in Florida. Several parents, toddlers in tow, sit in the grandstands alongside diehard gamblers, waiting for the next race to begin. The thrill of betting on young racing greyhounds is marketed as inexpensive family entertainment—“faster than the speed of hound,” according to the track’s advertisements.

The family-friendly feel continues within the clubhouse as well as around the track, where brochures promoting greyhound adoption groups are crumpled and scattered on a table next to racing forms. The Kennel Club’s website explains that the facility is “very interested in the welfare” of its greyhounds. The website promotes adoption of retired dogs and cites the club’s work with several placement groups.

And yet it was at this very track that, according to a WPTV news report in 1998, four dogs were hit by a truck after escaping from their kennels. In 2000, the Palm Beach Post reported that the bodies of three dogs had been discovered on the property of the kennel club; they had been buried by their trainer to cover up the fact they’d died from heatstroke. And in 2003, the same paper reported that another greyhound had died after being struck by the track’s mechanical lure.

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