[UPDATE] Greyhound Advocates Rallying Against Racing at Mardi Gras
If it's not completely clear, the clip above shows a 76-pound male greyhound named BB's Story Book (referred to by the announcer as "the five") falling in the first turn of a race at Mardi Gras Racetrack and Gaming Center in Hallandale Beach, getting up, running the wrong way on the track, and eventually getting hit by the speeding lure. The force of the bar crushed Story Book's collarbones and chest, and the dog died later that night.
The footage, shot in 2006, is an example of why local antiracing proponents will gather outside Mardi Gras this weekend to demonstrate against greyhound racing.
"We're going to be out there showing our support for the greyhounds," says Kathy Pelton, a Broward woman who's organizing the protest. "We'd like the greyhound racing to end. Until that happens, we'd like the record-keeping to begin, so we know exactly how many dogs are being hurt on the track and how many are being put down. Right now, the public has no idea what these numbers are."
(Disclosure: Several Juice staffers -- including me -- own greyhounds who used to race at Mardi Gras. I wrote a cover story about the industry in May.)
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Florida has more than half of the greyhound racetracks in the nation, and Mardi Gras is the highest-paying track (in terms of purse size) in the state.
The largest anti-greyhound racing lobby in the country, Massachusetts-based Grey2K USA, sent an email to members nationwide announcing the rally. The "Why" section of the group email read:
"At Mardi Gras Racetrack, hundreds of greyhounds live in tiny cages too small for them to freely stand up or turn around. While racing, many are seriously injured, suffering broken bones, cardiac arrest, seizures, paralysis, head trauma and more. This cruelty must end!"
The protest is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. tomorrow, on the sidewalk just north of the dog track. There will be plenty of signs but also plenty of adorable, peaceful, slightly confused greyhounds. Pelton says the goal of the demonstration is to increase the public's awareness of racing. "We want people to know what's going on with these dogs."
UPDATE: So, weather was the unaccounted for variable in Saturday's anti-racing rally at Mardi Gras. I spoke to Pelton this weekend and as it turns out the event was called off. The protesters thought better than to protest the treatment of greyhounds by bringing greyhounds into the cold rain outside the dog track. The event will be rescheduled.
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