Last weekend, greyhound racing was suspended at Twin River, the only active track in Rhode Island. The track is bankrupt, in part it says, because of the cost of dog racing.
The state assembly there is trying to revive the moribund industry, but the track has let go all 27 greyhound-related employees.
If the stoppage sticks, Rhode Island will join New Hampshire and Massachusetts, which both recently ended racing. (The ban in Mass goes into effect in 2010.)
But as New England goes fronton-free, racing opponents look again to the Florida, the Mecca of dog racing in this country.
"As long as dog racing continues in the Sunshine State, thousands of greyhounds will suffer terribly," says Christine A. Dorchak, Esq., president of Grey2K, the largest anti-dog racing lobby in the country. Grey2K is based in Massachusetts, but keeps full-time lobbyists in Florida.
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I wrote about the state of the industry (and that beautiful black greyhound you see here) in a May cover story you can read here.
"At tracks from Jacksonville to Miami to Pensacola, greyhounds live confined in small, stacked cages for long hours each day. When allowed out to race, they face the risk of serious injury. Recently, a dog named Birthday Toy was electrocuted while racing at the Sandford-Orlando track. Another dog named Jawa Spock was euthanized two days later at the Palm Beach Kennel Club after falling and breaking both of his back legs," Dorchak told me.
An employee at the Florida Kennels (who asked to remain anonymous) said that some trainers and kennel owners are, in fact, preparing for an influx of New England dogs to Florida this fall.
These are truly troubled times for the dog racing industry.