Florida Legislators Co-Sponsor Greyhound Racing Bill

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing concerns over Greyhound Racing practices ranging from the mistreatment of animals to the hiring of those with criminal pasts. After Florida Legislators demanded answers last month following a series of newspaper stories highlighting abuse, new legislation is be co-sponsored to attempt to address some glaring issues. The Miami Herald reports: 

Co-sponsored in the Florida House of Representatives by Rep. Kevin Rader (D-Boca Raton), the “Greyhound Safety Act” would prohibit anyone convicted of a felony for animal cruelty, child abuse, aggravated assault or battery from obtaining a license or permit from the Division of Parimutuel Wagering, the state agency which oversees the dog racing industry.

The bill was filed in response to numerous concerns raised by the Miami Herald, which found that in the last year, state regulators issued occupational licenses to individuals who had been convicted of a host of crimes, including assault and battery.

“Turning over the health and safety of these dogs to someone with a criminal history of violence is begging for trouble,” said Senator Smith. “Denying a license shouldn’t be discretionary; it should be mandatory.”

Other issues centered around the direct safety of the dogs at the tracks. The legislation outlines new safeguards attempting to alleviate those concerns. The Herald continues:

The legislation also contains provisions to prevent greyhound injuries by requiring the dog tracks in Florida to implement a three point safety plan. The bill  specifically calls on race tracks to upgrade their facilities by maintaining a safe track surface, insulating all exposed electrical wires, and installing a safety device to remove lures from the racing surface. Finally, the legislation also requires that tracks report all injures to greyhound race dogs that take place at the tracks.

“This simple 3-point safety plan is long overdue and will dramatically improve the safety of the dogs, at a nominal cost to the operators,” said Rep. Rader. “These track upgrades will go a long way in protecting Florida’s greyhounds.”

Time will tell if these measures will be sufficient enough to revive an industry that is clearly on the verge of collapse.

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