We have seen no public statement from the Greyhound Friends Board of Directors in the wake of the reports that the organization neglected sick and injured dogs under their watch.
There does, however, appears to be an effort among some individuals involved with the organization to scare people into believing that greyhounds will not be able to find homes if Greyhound Friends does not get its kennel license back.
The facts show otherwise.
More animal rescues ready to help
Massachusetts is home to 300+ registered animal shelters and rescue organizations, many of whom are approved to import dogs from out of state. In fact, there were at least 10 new animal rescues registered in the Commonwealth since Greyhound Friends was ordered to cease & desist operations.
- Some animal rescues are breed-specific, meaning that they are focused on the rescue of a particular breed like a greyhound. There are quite a few Massachusetts adoption groups that are dedicated to rehoming greyhounds.
- Others are animal rescues who care for and adopt out dogs of all different breeds, including greyhounds.
- In addition, there are advocacy organizations that help fund adoption programs in the few areas where greyhound racing is still practiced.
Many of these groups work together when a track is closing. For example, when the Tucson, Arizona race track closed, adoption groups across the west teamed up to ensure dogs retired from the track found homes. The same has occurred in preparation for the closing of the Chinese racetrack called the Canindrome. Both greyhound-specific adoption groups and non-breed-specific animal rescues have come forward to find homes for these dogs in preparation for the track closure.
Greyhound racing on the decline
The Greyhound Protection Act to eliminate commercial dog racing in Massachusetts was enacted nearly a decade ago. Greyhound racing has also been on the decline across the U.S. and around the world -- a fact acknowledged by Greyhound Friends in 2013 when they stated they would begin taking in mixed-breed hounds “because they were looking for additional sources of income since greyhound racing no longer exists in Massachusetts.”
This past week, there was even momentum to stop greyhound racing in Florida, which has long been a holdout against the ban. The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has just voted to allow Proposition 6012 to ban dog racing on the November 2018 ballot. The Humane Society of the U.S. is among the organizations already working to ensure these dogs have homes if Florida residents vote to phase out greyhound racing.
Poor defense for improper treatment
After being shut down in January 2017 for unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the kennel, Greyhound Friends issued a statement that they were pushing to reopen, stating that "although greyhound racing has ended in Massachusetts, the popularity of the breed as a pet has increased demand for these dogs. There are still tracks around the country operating, leaving dogs needing homes once they retire."
This seems like a weak argument, given that there is no shortage of reputable adoption groups available to help these dogs.
Promoting responsible animal rescue
All of us who care about animals want these wonderful dogs to find homes. We feel it is our responsibility as a community to ensure that dogs go to animal rescues who will care for them properly. Given the decades of violations by Greyhound Friends and the shocking reports of animal neglect, we do not believe that would be appropriate for the organization to be granted a kennel license again.
Note: Greyhound Friends has stated that they are trying to get their kennel license back. Please read the facts about how they treated animals (and how many times they have been shut down before) and sign the petition below against reinstatement of the kennel license.