23 Greyhounds Die in Alabama
On about January 11, 23 greyhounds died due to a heating malfunction in their kennel at the VictoryLand Greyhound Park in Shorter, Alabama. There was no back-up system at the track, and the dogs probably died hideous deaths from heatstroke, unable to escape their cages (where, by the way, they spend up to 22 hours per day).
Please write to Governor Bob Riley, urging him to close VictoryLand and allow the 50+ survivors to be immediately examined by a veterinarian, retired and adopted into loving homes.
The Honorable Bob Riley
Governor of Alabama
Alabama State Capitol
600 Dexter Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36130
In the United States, betters wager billions of dollars on dog races every year. Dog racing is illegal in 34 states but continues in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa,Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. (1) However, the laws prohibiting racing are largely ineffectual, because federal law does not prohibit the interstate shipment of greyhounds used in racing. Therefore one state may ban the breeding of dogs used for racing, but dog handlers in another state can breed the same dogs and ship them across state lines.
The greyhound racing industry breeds approximately 30,000 puppies each year. Of these animals, only 15,000 actually become racing dogs. The rest are "retired," used as breeding stock, or, in a more likely scenario, shot and destroyed. "Unusable" greyhounds–those that are unfit for racing–have been disposed of in some of the worst ways imaginable-shot to death or starved to death. One greyhound was found buried alive with an ear cut off to prevent identification. (2) The racing industry also sells thousands of dogs considered unfit for racing to laboratories, which experiment on animals. Thus, greyhound racing functions not only as a "sport" and gambling enterprise, but as a breeding facility for cruel vivisection practices.
Dogs that become racing animals do not live less cruel lives. They spend 18-22 hours a day in cages and are kept muzzled at all times. Injuries such as tissue injuries and bone fractures are common during greyhound races. Some dogs have experienced spinal injuries, seizures, and death from cardiac arrest.
Several thousand rabbits and other small animals die yearly during the training of greyhounds. Trainers use these small animals as live bait, exhorting greyhounds to chase the animals around a track in order to simulate race conditions. Trainers allow dogs to catch and destroy those bait animals that are no longer able to run effectively.
Dogs that have no propensity to kill are placed in cages at close quarters with rabbits. The trainers then deny the dogs food, starving them until hunger drives them to kill their caged companions. In this way, trainers awaken bloodlust in dogs that are non-violent by character.
At least sixteen states have outlawed the use of live animals in training. However, such laws are difficult to enforce. Trainers in these states sometimes employ a "jack-a-lure," a more humane training method. These electronically powered lures race around tracks, attracting the attention of greyhounds. Yet many trainers manage to circumvent state anti-cruelty laws. They ship dogs out of state for live animal training, then ship them back, a practice that is not prohibited by federal interstate commerce laws.