This news release comes from the American Greyhound Council, which represents the dog racing industry, from breeders to tracks, such as the Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis. It announces apparent mistreatment of greyhounds at an Arkansas farm.
The National Greyhound Association (NGA) has removed approximately 135 greyhounds from a rural Arkansas farm in response to concerns raised by other NGA members in the area, according to Gary Guccione, executive director of the association.
Guccione said the intervention occurred after NGA President Julia Ward and member Randy Finegan became aware that greyhounds on the farm were in poor condition and did not appear to be receiving proper food and care. The NGA officials contacted local law enforcement authorities and worked with them to remove the greyhounds from the facility legally with the owner’s permission.
The dogs were moved in four trucks and trailers, with seven greyhounds going to West Memphis for treatment and eventual adoption, and the remainder to NGA national headquarters in Abilene, KS, where they will be cared for by staff until they have been restored to full health. All the dogs are expected to make a full recovery, according to Guccione, after which they will be returned to their rightful owners or placed in adoption programs.
Guccione said the farm’s proprietor will appear before an NGA disciplinary hearing in early June. If found guilty of serious violations of the NGA’s animal care standards, the individual will be banned from greyhound racing for life, and others prohibited from doing business with him.
“Making sure that greyhounds receive proper care is everyone’s responsibility,” Guccione concluded. “In this case, we were able to intervene swiftly and successfully, thanks to our people on the ground in that area. We’re thankful that it all worked out, and the
greyhounds will be fine.”
I’ll be seeking more details, including the location and whether animal cruelty charges are a possibility. But it can’t be good if the industry issued a news release.
UPDATE: I’m told that the dogs were taken from a breeding operation near Mount Pleasant in Izard County established by a greyhound farmer who’d moved not long ago from Kansas. The Greyhound Council’s Guccione declined to name the owner because of the ongoing investigation, but said he’d had “issues” while getting established in Kansas and the organization had monitored him to be sure his care was up to standard. He said the issues In Kansas about adequate facilities had occurred during a business breakup and bad winter but didn’t rise to the level where a sanction was in order. The group got a tip about poor conditions in Arkansas and they contacted the sheriff for a visit tp the owner, who was encouraged to voluntarily turn over the dogs. “This has a happy ending,” Guccione said. He said he was confident the dogs would return to good health and the organization had received commendations from some who criticize the industry generally. He didn’t know if charges were possible in the case. I’m awaiting a callback from Izard County, but it appears no one has been charged in that jurisdiction at this point with animal cruelty charges.
Greyhound racing is declining in the face of competition from more popular forms of gambling and pressure from humane groups. Some dog tracks have talked of dropping dog racing entirely in favor of casino gambling. Southland in West Memphis makes far more money from casino gambling than dog racing, but it is locked into dog racing by terms of Arkansas law that allows casino gambling only where parimutuel gambling is allowed — the Oakalwn horse track in Hot Springs and Southland.