It’s safe to say that 2020 wasn’t a great year for most of us, but 2021 is already better in at least one way — especially if you’re a greyhound dog.
Greyhound racing was once a popular pastime in the United States, but in recent decades it has fallen greatly out of favor as more people have become aware of the inhumane treatment of these “racers.”
The thousands of greyhounds bred for the sport are usually kept in small cages and confined spaces, according to the Humane Society. Dogs that don’t make the cut are often disposed of in cruel ways, and the ones that do compete are often injured or killed on the track — one dead every three days.
The end of greyhound racing has been long overdue, but now it’s finally a reality.
As of January 1, a ban has finally gone into effect, permanently shutting down the last remaining greyhound tracks in Florida.
Florida voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment back in 2018 to shut down the state’s 11 greyhound tracks by 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the ban on large gatherings helped hasten the closure. Nine tracks had already closed, while two remained open. The sooner-than-expected closures caused some concern about the fate of the hundreds of greyhounds, but a massive adoption push by Awesome Greyhound Adoptions led to them all finding homes.
By June, all 570 greyhounds from Daytona Beach Racing had been adopted to homes around the country.
“During our planning, we had a worst-case scenario that it would take us six to seven months to adopt the greyhounds out,” facility president Fred Guzman told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “Thankfully, it didn’t turn out that way.”
“It’s a relief for me to know that all of our greyhounds are sitting comfortably in someone’s couch. We always believed we took good care of them and are happy to know they will have a good life in retirement.”
While most people are celebrating the end of greyhound racing in Florida, enthusiasts apparently held on til the very end. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Palm Beach Kennel Club held their final race symbolically at 11:59 pm on New Year’s Eve, right before the ban went into effect.
The remaining greyhound dogs will now be put up for adoption via greyhound rescue groups.
With the end of the Florida circuit, greyhound racing is now banned in 40 states and will only continue in four tracks across three states: Arkansas, Iowa and West Virginia, with the former two states phasing it out soon.
And for greyhound advocates, the end can’t come soon enough.
“These are the death throes of greyhound racing,” Grey2K executive director Carey Theil told the Tampa Bay Times. “The industry deep down knows there’s not going to be some magical resurgence.”
“The question is how long it will take to end completely and how many dogs die in the meantime.”
We’re so glad these dogs are free from a life of racing, and hope they all find good homes soon!
Hopefully the last remaining tracks close down soon and this sport ends for good. Share this story if you agree!