The Greyhound Protection Act is a Massachusetts legislation that, by 2010, has gradually phased out commercial dog racing. In Massachusetts, it was enacted as Question 3 on the November 4, 2008 ballot. By January 1, 2010, the state's two tracks, Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park and Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere, will be closed. The law allows the states' existing racetracks to continue operating until 2030.
In addition to prohibiting new greyhound races, the law requires the state to pay $1 million annually for four years into a fund that can only be used for greyhound welfare purposes. The law also creates a committee made up of members from the racing industry, animal protection groups, and government officials who will recommend changes to the law and help implement those changes. This group will report its findings and recommendations by 2019.
In August 2009, after the passage of the law but before it took effect, the chairman of the Massachusetts Racing Commission announced his intention to retire at the end of 2009, which would have forced the closure of both tracks. However, the chairman was able to stay in office through 2011 using executive authority granted to him by the state legislature.
So, Massachusetts became the first state to ban greyhound racing all together. The law was passed by voters and went into effect on November 4, 2008. The two remaining tracks in the state were given until January 1, 2010 to close their doors for good.
Floridians decisively approved Amendment 13, which will outlaw greyhound racing in the state by the end of 2020, in November 2018. According to animal welfare groups and industry stakeholders, as greyhound racing in Florida has been phased away over the last two years, most owners have retired and adopted out their dogs. However, several dozen dogs are still being trained for racing every year.
In August 2016, Governor Rick Scott (R) signed a bill into law that outlawed greyhound racing in Florida, with an exception for dogs used for breeding or training purposes. The amendment passed with more than 70 percent of voters supporting it.
Florida is the first state in the country to abolish greyhound racing entirely. The decision was made after research showed that many greyhounds were abandoned when their racing careers ended and only a few were found new homes. There were also concerns about dog abuse during training sessions and at track facilities.
In 2015, Grey2K USA released a report stating that nearly half of all greyhounds entering rescue shelters across America had been raised in Florida. The same study reported that more than 100 dogs were euthanized each week because there were no homes for them.
In January 2017, the last race track in Florida closed its doors for the final time. However, the ban on adopting out greyhounds did not apply to dogs who had raced before the law went into effect.
Greyhound racing is on the decline, and it is currently prohibited in more than 40 states. Greyhound racing may be eliminated via knowledge, compassion, and action. Greyhounds are already at a disadvantage before they are born. Thousands of dogs are produced each year (many more than are required for racing) in an attempt to produce the quickest canines. These puppies are sold to owners around the world or abandoned by their breeders without any regard for their welfare.
The racing industry relies on consumers buying into the idea that greyhounds are enjoyable to watch run laps. This isn't true! The racetrack environment is frightening for both humans and animals. There are over 20,000 horses and dogs killed on American tracks every year. That's more than die during combat operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The sport is also dangerous for participants. People have been killed, paralyzed, and made ill through heart attacks and strokes while watching greyhounds race. In addition, many athletes suffer trauma-inducing injuries such as broken bones, torn muscles, and damaged joints when running with heavy jockeys riding up front. Some owners keep their dogs inside small kennels for most of the day, preventing them from receiving necessary exercise or socialization.
Finally, greyhound racing is cruel to animals. During the three to four month period before they are prepared for racing, these dogs are subjected to rigorous training programs designed to make them obedient to their handlers and able to maintain a high speed for several miles.