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Greyhound Dog Racing in Florida

by Be a Vet in Tampa Bay

Greyhound dog racing, also known as greyhound racing has a long and controversial history in Florida. The sport began in the state in the early 20th century and quickly grew in popularity, with numerous tracks opening throughout the state. In the 1930s, Florida became a hub for greyhound racing, attracting top breeders, trainers, and dogs from around the world. During this time, the sport was seen as a glamorous and exciting pastime, drawing large crowds and generating millions of dollars in revenue.After 100 years, greyhound racing is nearly dead, but let’s explore why dog racing is bad, the history of dog racing in the United States, the effect it had on the breed and discuss where it is still currently legal and now illegal to race greyhounds.

However, the popularity of greyhound racing in Florida began to decline in the latter half of the 20th century, due in part to changing attitudes towards animal welfare and the rise of alternative forms of entertainment. In recent years, the sport has faced increased scrutiny over concerns about the treatment of the dogs and the safety of the races. In 2018, voters in Florida approved a constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing in the state by the end of 2020, making it the 41st state to outlaw the practice. Today, while greyhound racing is no longer legal in Florida, its complicated history continues to be a subject of debate and discussion.

Why Dog Racing is Bad

One of the primary reasons why dog racing is bad is the treatment of the greyhounds themselves. These dogs are bred specifically for racing, and many of them are kept in inhumane conditions. They may be confined to small cages or kennels for long periods of time, and they may not receive proper veterinary care or nutrition. Additionally, many dogs are injured or killed during races, often due to collisions or other accidents.

Another issue with dog racing is the gambling aspect. Many people bet on dog races, and the industry has been criticized for promoting gambling and exploiting vulnerable populations. In addition, there have been allegations of corruption and match-fixing in the dog racing industry.

The History of Dog Racing in the United States

Dog racing first became popular in the United States in the early 20th century, with the first track opening in California in 1919. By the 1930s, dog racing had become a popular form of entertainment, with tracks opening up all over the country.

However, the industry began to face criticism in the latter half of the 20th century. Animal welfare groups and other activists began to raise concerns about the treatment of the dogs involved in racing, and several states began to pass laws regulating or banning the practice.

Today, dog racing is a declining industry in the United States. Many tracks have closed in recent years, and only a handful of states still allow greyhound racing.

The Affects of Greyhound Racing on the Breed

Greyhound racing has had a significant impact on the perception of the breed. While many people have a positive image of greyhounds as graceful and intelligent animals, the association with racing has led to some negative stereotypes and misconceptions about the breed.

One of the most common misconceptions is that greyhounds are aggressive or hyperactive dogs. This is not true; in fact, greyhounds are known for their calm and gentle demeanor. However, the intense training and racing regimen that racing greyhounds are subjected to can sometimes result in behavioral issues, such as anxiety or aggression.

Another misconception is that greyhounds are not suitable as pets. This belief has been perpetuated by the fact that many racing greyhounds are retired at a relatively young age and are not socialized to life as a pet. However, with proper training and socialization, greyhounds can make excellent pets.

The use of greyhounds for racing has also led to concerns about their health and welfare. Racing greyhounds are often subjected to injuries, including broken legs and spinal injuries, and may be euthanized if they are no longer able to race. Additionally, many racing greyhounds are kept in kennels for the majority of their lives and may not receive the same level of care and attention as pets.

Despite these concerns, there are many organizations and individuals who are working to improve the perception of greyhounds and promote their adoption as pets. Through education and advocacy, they hope to dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding the breed and demonstrate the many benefits of sharing your life with a greyhound.

Common Health Problems w/ Greyhounds Adopted from racing kennels.

Greyhounds are a popular breed of dog that are often used in racing. When their racing careers come to an end, many greyhounds are adopted into loving homes. However, greyhounds that come from racing kennels may be more prone to certain health problems due to the conditions in which they were raised and trained.

Here are some common health problems that greyhounds adopted from racing kennels may experience:

  1. Dental Issues in Greyhounds

Greyhounds are prone to dental issues, such as periodontal disease and tooth decay. This is likely due to their narrow jaws and crowded teeth, which can make it difficult to clean their teeth properly. Greyhounds that have spent a lot of time in racing kennels may also have had a poor diet, which can contribute to dental problems.

  1. Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that is common in greyhounds. This may be due to the fact that greyhounds have a higher bone density than other breeds of dog, which makes them more susceptible to this type of cancer, or a side-effect of performance enhancing drugs. Greyhounds that have been used for racing may also be at a higher risk for osteosarcoma due to the high impact activities involved in racing.

  1. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems. Greyhounds that come from racing kennels may be more prone to hypothyroidism due to a side-effect of performance enhancing drugs, coupled with the stress and poor nutrition they may have experienced while racing.

  1. Gastric Torsion

Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a serious condition in which the stomach twists and fills with gas. This can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Greyhounds may be more prone to gastric torsion due to their deep chests and narrow waists, which can put pressure on their stomachs.

  1. Corns

Corns are thick, painful calluses that can form on a dog’s paw pads. Greyhounds are prone to developing corns due to the fact that they have thin paw pads and spend a lot of time on hard surfaces, such as concrete. Greyhounds that have spent time in racing kennels may be more prone to developing corns due to the fact that they were kept in cages with wire floors.

Greyhounds that come from racing kennels may be more prone to certain health problems due to the conditions in which they were raised and trained. If you are considering adopting a greyhound from a racing kennel, it is important to be aware of these potential health issues and to work with a veterinarian who is experienced in treating greyhounds. With proper care and attention, however, greyhounds can live long, happy lives as beloved members of the family.

Where it is (Still) Legal and Illegal to Race Greyhounds

As of 2023, dog racing is legal in just four states: Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, and Texas. However, even in these states, the industry is in decline, with many tracks closing down in recent years.

On the other hand, dog racing is illegal in most states. A total of 41 states have banned the practice, with the most recent bans taking effect in Florida and Arizona in 2021. Other states that have banned dog racing include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Dog racing is a controversial industry that has faced criticism for its treatment of the animals involved, as well as its promotion of gambling and other issues. While the practice is still legal in a handful of states, the industry is in decline, and most states have banned dog racing altogether.

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