Back in June of 2008, we were presented an opportunity to make a visit to one of the two remaining greyhound racing tracks in Massachusetts. We had adopted Magic four years ago thinking we had "saved" or "rescued" him from a miserable existence. I was ready to get a first hand look at how our "poor puppy" had been treated.
|Tracking Baker being weighed, Rachel Hogue Photography|
We were met by the volunteer coordinator and given an overview of our day and then brought to the weigh in area where all the dogs are brought before racing. Here I learned that the dogs are weighed in and checked by both the track veterinarian as well as the state racing commission vet. After they are weighed and examined, they are placed in kennel crates-- one dog per crate with the measurements which were set by the MSPCA and Grey2K USA-- to await their chance to race. I was shocked at the level of security and the regulations that help to insure the safety of the dogs.
We were then taken to the post race area where the dogs are brought to cool down. They are walked by their handlers after the race so that they can relax their muscles, get some fresh cold water, a bath to clean any dust off their coat, paws. They even get their eyes washed out as well. There is another area sectioned off and controlled by the state racing commission. This is where they bring dogs selected at random for urine testing.
We were told about the training and schooling that the dogs go through, the selective breeding process which is also very tightly regulated to prevent inbreeding and over breeding. We were given an opportunity to ask questions and express our concerns and receive honest and straight forward answers.
We took a break for lunch and had the opportunity to watch a couple of the races. This was a first for us. We had seen our own retired racer sprint and run with some of his greyhound friends. Nothing compares to the beauty of these dogs at full speed. It is truly amazing and even more so that they really seem to enjoy doing it. As we watched the dogs walk to the starting gate I could see that they were excited. It was a beautiful sight-- seeing these dogs do that which they were created to do.
After lunch we paid a visit to one of the kennels. Now I was ready to see the horrible conditions we have been told about. The turn out area was clean and free of any piles of waste. There was an odor of dogs, we were, after all in a kennel, but it was not a foul smell. The trainer allowed us to let several of the dogs out of their crates a couple at a time. All of them were very happy and playful. Not one seemed skittish or scared at all! If a dog is abused, you can usually tell by the way it acts around its owner, and also around strangers. Happy, friendly and playful. Every last one of them.
|Hank's Gipper in Whirlpool, Photo by Cathie Lambert (Follow That Hound)|
I came away with a different opinion that day.
Unfortunately for greyhounds and the people associated with them, the Massachusetts voters were duped by Grey2K into believing that greyhounds are horrifically abused. More than 1,000 people lost their jobs with the bill's passage and that was only the people directly involved with the dogs. The ripple effect spread widely with restaurant employees losing their jobs and various businesses closing, many of which were not directly associated with greyhound racing.
Grey2K came in with their smoke & mirrors and when they left, they left all the dogs, saying that it wasn't their problem; that the adoption groups would take care of them. They didn't even have the decency to donate any monies to those same adoption groups. There used to be a saying, "beware a Greek bearing gifts". That saying had its origins with the Trojan horse as the Greeks came to Troy and left the Trojan Horse as a "gift". What a gift... lead to the destruction of a people and a culture. Grey2K USA is a Trojan Horse and it leaves destruction in its wake.