@THE GUSS REPORT-While Florida is once again mired in post-election chaos, one thing Floridians made perfectly clear was that they wanted to end the cruel and exploitive “sport” of greyhound racing.
And they did; their Amendment 13 passed with nearly 69% of the vote last week.
While victory has a thousand fathers, Chris DeRose of Last Chance for Animals, a leading voice in the ongoing fight against animal cruelty, says that the greyhounds’ champion in this instance is not a man, but an Arlington, Massachusetts, attorney named Christine Dorchak, President and General Counsel of Grey2KUSA.
Dorchak, who championed, and authored the wording of, the Sunshine State’s Amendment 13, says that the work is just beginning. Having fought for the dogs’ freedom from the abusiveness of the gambling-fueled dog racing industry and profiteering greyhound breeders, she says “we now have to find homes for 3,700 of these gentle dogs and are reaching out to animal lovers through bonafide greyhound rescues across the United States and around the world.”
According to the Bradenton (Florida) Herald, at least one greyhound race track owner acknowledges it is a good idea to close down because it was always and only about money, “‘financially, (ending greyhound racing) probably makes money for us because the dogs weren’t profitable,’ except for during a couple of months out of the season.”
Dorchak, a self-described dog lawyer, says that she wrote into the Amendment that the cost of the care for the dogs – one of whom dies every few days – is paid for by those who are now forced to let them live freely. “Each dog has been identified and their welfare is now closely monitored by humane advocates and pari-mutuel authorities until they are settled on comfortable couches and dog beds in the homes of adopting dog lovers.” But the clock is ticking; her organization now has just two years to make that dream a reality.
According to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, “in spite of his great athletic ability, the greyhound is quite happy to spend most of the day sleeping. The dog does not have a lot of endurance and actually requires less exercise time than most dogs.”
Indeed. The lanky, rail-thin dogs with the enormous lungs are some of the gentlest canine souls you will ever meet. Dorchak says that while their brutal racing “career” starts at approximately 18 months of age, it ends at just 3 years, but they can peacefully live into their low-to-mid teens.
In Southern California, she says the best way to apply to adopt them is through the Greyhound Adoption Center in El Cajon.
I reached out to Brenda Barnette, GM of LA Animal Services, ironically a dog breeder and dog breeding advocate affiliated with the AKC, to see which greyhound breeders in LA are helping with the Florida dogs. Barnette, whose mantra has long been that dog breeders always take back canines in peril, did not identify a single one. She refused to respond altogether, even when a Commissioner asked whether there are any greyhounds currently in the city’s shelters.
Dorchak has had other victories on behalf of greyhounds, including closing down the Bay State’s infamous Wonderland and Raynham tracks. And she recently worked with the government of Macau to end it at its Canidrome, the last remaining greyhound racing track in all of Asia, as well. “It isn’t a matter of if the greyhound racing industry ends worldwide, but when.”
If you are reading this column outside of Southern California and would like to adopt one of the Florida or Macau Canidrome greyhounds in your community, or to donate to Dorchak’s campaign to end greyhound cruelty worldwide, you can do so by contacting her 501(c)(4) charity. All donations are tax-deductible.
(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. Join his mailing list or offer verifiable tips and story ideas at TheGussReport@gmail.com. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.