Florida will no longer have greyhound racing within its borders after voters approved a ban on the sport. Amendment 13 ends live greyhound racing in the state by 2021. According to the election results, 69 percent of voters were for the amendment while 31 percent voted against it.
Dog track operators have the option of operating for the full two years until the ban takes effect or closing as soon as the end of the year. Greyhound trainers have said the amendment will cause the loss of hundreds of jobs. Jennifer Newcome, chairman of the Committee to Support Greyhounds, said, “A lot are third-generation trainers and have been in the business since they were born. These people did not pursue a college education or (look) for other work.”
Animal rights groups were the main supporters of the dog racing amendment. Commercial dog racing has long been labeled by them as cruelty to animals. The groups say that training for racing frequently leads to broken legs and backs. A normal greyhound racing career is about 2 years.
Commercial dog racing is illegal in 40 states. Florida is home to 11 of the nation’s 17 remaining greyhound racing tracks. The Committee to Protect Dogs, which supported the ban, said in a statement, “Florida voters have delivered a knock-out blow to a cruel industry that has been hurting and killing dogs for nearly a century.”
There are nearly 6,000 soon-to-be retired greyhounds in the state. Animal welfare organizations and local adoption groups have pledged to find homes for the animals. Kate MacFall, Florida state director of the Humane Society of the United States, said the Humane Society is offering support for placement of the animals.