Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Come Together... Right Now... Over Me....

Greyhound Advocacy in Action
The Beatles...  Great songs with wonderful meanings... "Come together, right now, over me..."

Grey2K is very fond of saying that racing greyhound peeps don't care...  That the dogs are "just commodities to be thrown away when they're done racing".  Well, they are wrong.  They are so very, very wrong.  This post is NOT about Grey2K.  This post IS about the love that greyhound peeps have for their dogs and the lengths they go to for them.

With short notice, greyhound peeps have 'come together, right now' over Blue.  Blue is a 17 month old puppy, a puppy that will never race. Blue came down with coccidiomycosis aka Valley Fever a couple of weeks ago. There is no prevention for Valley Fever. It is endemic in the soil throughout the desert southwest.  It's a nasty bug and it has been known to kill.

Magnificent 7 Litter
Blue was treated and recovered from that deadly disease, but it left him with a heart condition - pericardial effusion - fluid around the heart, which is abnormal. If it isn't treated, it will put pressure on the heart. The dog will never race, but this is fixable and he will make a wonderful pet with many years ahead of him. In the puppy picture, he is the gray puppy, third from the right.  The one looking at the camera.

His owner & breeder, Judi, has maxed out her credit cards to keep him alive and the cardiac surgery is going to cost somewhere in the vicinity of $6,000.  To help save the life of this 17 month old dog, greyhound peeps are banding together and holding an auction for him so he can be properly treated and receive the surgery he desperately needs.  Keep in mind, this is a dog that will never step foot on a racetrack.

Michelle Campbell, another racing peep, said,


"I hope Big Blue gets what he needs medically and then can officially go home to a well deserved couch. I always loved watching Judi and Farmer at Miami loving on all their dogs, parading them around in costumes in October, etc. Their love is apparent. Good luck Blue."

Judi, his owner & breeder said to me,


Big Blue
"At his age and knowing the operation could work, I can't just have him put to sleep. I have never been so tortured. He is just stunning and an incredible boy. I can't believe I have cried so much and am still crying. I am an emotional wreck!"


Oh yeah...  a cold and uncaring owner.  If you listen to Grey2K, this dog would have been euthanized already to save money.  Huh...  Just goes to show what they "think" they know...  They don't know squat.

If you're interested in truly helping to "save" a greyhound, please visit the auction and bid often.  The auction will begin at 9:00am CST on Friday, March 2 and it will end at 9:00pm CST on Sunday, March 4, 2012. Here is a link to the auction page: AUCTION PAGE

In this particular instance, you will truly help to save a life. Your hard earned dollars will go to the dog.

Some of the listed items are: a silver bracelet, a wide variety of collars, and lots of other stuff.  Please note... you will need to register on the site to bid.




Yours in greyhounds...

Monday, February 27, 2012

An Introduction to Kennel Boyfriends

Life in a Greyhound Kennel
by Betty Zubritsky


Betty & 2 of Her Boyfriends
There is no cast in granite way to pick a Kennel Boyfriend. Everywhere I’ve been, farms and race kennels one and all, I’ve always had at least one. Or two. Sometimes three or four. But never more than a dozen. Almost never.  Because I’m all about the boys. I can and I do love every dog in my care, but I have favorites. Truthfully, if anybody ever tells you they DON’T have a favorite, run hide and save yourself. That person is either lying or just plain doesn’t care about the dogs. I wouldn’t want anybody in my kennel who couldn’t declare at least one that was special.
I started (and abruptly stopped) picking boyfriends on Marys farm. Zoni didn’t like anybody very much, but I have always loved a Roman nose, and he had the most dramatic one I’d ever seen. To this day, I’ve never encountered one like it.
So I loved Zoni the moment I saw him, and he didn’t care a whit. He must have raced around people who found him unattractive, because with just a little wooing and cuddling, he became my own. I watched with wonder when he took a little prance to be near me. “I’ve never felt so pretty!” Honey, you’re flat gorgeous. “You love me?” I do, and I always will. “Tickle me!” and my fingers went to his magic place and I tickled him to the very limit of his ability to stand upright. “HEEHEEHEE!!! Now tickle the other side!” I’m a sucker for a ticklish dog. Particularly one with a gangster face who adores me. I tickled him everywhere, and my heart broke when he left me.
Not broken as in irreparable. The greatest thing about a heart is that it can hold them all, and although Mary wouldn’t permit me to love HER dogs the way I do, there wasn’t anybody else who objected.
Picking a Boyfriend is a very serious thing. Piffle, who am I kidding? It’s really just silliness. It’s me being all about the boys and having one (or two or five) …. (or twelve, who‘s counting?) that simply delight me. Except for Romans, it’s not about appearance. Well, unless he has an enormous butt. I do love a big squishable butt. And it’s never about racing ability. However much my life depends on them, picking a Boyfriend has absolutely nothing to do with his stats. It’s about personalities. Dogalities, actually. And even THEN it makes no sense because what I love in one can be thoroughly annoying in another. Doesn’t make me love him less, but it knocks him out of Boyfriend status. The one and only unbreakable rule for a Kennel Boyfriend is that he cannot eat poop. My dogs learn early on that they are not allowed to touch me with a poopy-face, and the Boyfriend must be cuddled at every opportunity. His face, therefore, can never be poopy.
Clear as pudding? Good. You’re ready.
This little blog (destined to become a Big Blog) will carry us through my many many romances. From past loves to present ones, and hopefully I’ll be able to keep a little “diary” of our daily or weekly adventures.
GOODBAR
Starting with this guy because, well, I have to start somewhere, and his is a peculiar Boyfriend-ness. One of our biggest boys when I worked with Craig at The Woodlands, he was officially named I Feel The Love. The Plum Creekies come up with some very strange names sometimes, and then they send them with equally strange kennel names. For some reason, they called him Barley. Craig called him Barley too. So did I because it was easier than trying to pull a kennel name out of I Feel The Love. I toyed with Barleycorn, but it was cumbersome and it just wasn‘t fun enough. So he was Barley until I could come up with something more amusing.
Barley was a gentleman. As big as he was, he could have been a heathen and there would have been little anybody could have done about it. But a more kindly lad I’m not sure I’ve ever known. Truthfully, he was even a little boring. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, but when you have 65 other dogs, and most of them ARE heathens, the boring one doesn’t really shine. And more truth, he wasn’t my favorite color. I’m not sure what my favorite color is, but he wasn’t it.  Barley was (and still is) a black and white spotty, with lots of ticking. Spotties can be stunningly beautiful, but if they’re heavily ticked they tend to look ….. what’s the word…. Untidy? Not quite it, but it’s close. Barley kind of had too many dots for my particular liking. I loved every dot on him, but he wasn’t the Boyfriend. I was wooing other boys.
I had an occasion to talk with our friendly bartenderess one day, and she said she’d love to adopt one of my dogs because I loved them so much. Didn’t matter which one, she simply wanted one of mine. I was delighted! I asked her about her family and their activities and what she was looking for. “Oh, I think I want a female. I have little children and we like to play outside. Color isn’t important. Whoever you think will fit in will be wonderful.” With a smattering of experience in adoption, I did a mental scan through my adoptable girlies. One was already spoken for, and the rest were nut bags. Wonderful adorable nut bags, but not really the right fit for a home with little kids. Would she consider a male? “Oh sure! Whatever you think is best!” I homed in on Barley. This was the guy for her. Pretty much a great big pillow on legs. So I told her all about him, and she thought yes, this was her boy. We set up a date for her to come meet him, exchanged phone numbers, the whole works.
She didn’t show up, and she didn’t call. I was annoyed, but things happen when there are little kids, so I hugged my Good Barley and told him not to worry. I’d get him home. When I saw the bartenderess again, I asked what had happened and she said they wouldn’t let her on the compound. Ok, I can fix that. Jim Gartland gave me permission to get her into my kennel and we set it up again. “Tell me more about him. Is he beautiful?” Of course he is. In fact, he’s racing today. I’ll point him out for you.
“OOOOOOOH!”
When she saw him in the post parade, she declared herself in love. He didn’t win his race but he didn’t do badly and she seemed enchanted with him from a distance. I was sure of this match. It was going to be perfect.
And she didn’t show up again. And didn’t call. No matter what her excuse might be this time, I wasn’t putting my dog in her house. It wasn’t being angry with her, it was feeling that my dog wasn’t important to her, and he had to be. But I saw him again in my own words, the ones I’d told her. And I recalled things I’d never said to her at all. And when I consoled him that second time, I made him my own. It’s ok darlin’. She doesn’t know what she’s missing. You’ll just stay here with me and be my Good Barley. And that was fine with him.
It was even finer with me. The more I pondered him, the more I found that I loved him. In his quiet and boring way, he was shnoogling his enormous self into Boyfriend status. “What a darling you are!” I told him one day. He agreed. He certainly was a darling and it was high time I figured it out.
When I was in Kansas City, The Kennel Boyfriend would get a special playtime whenever I did a turnout. He was the one I would take out with me while I picked up the yards. All the rest of the dogs were in their beds, and my one (but not necessarily only) went out on a little “date”. Fun for me, fun for the Boyfriend. It got complicated when I had several Boyfriends, since I only took out one per turnout, but my boys were not jealous and they shared the time very well. So I knocked some letters off his Barley and turned him into Bar, left the Good intact (because he’s a VERY good Bar) and there he was. My Goodbar. And out we went to pick up the poops.
Oh my, what had gotten into my boring dog? He romped, he played, he spun circles around me and wiggled with delight. I leaned my tools against the fence and studied every ripple of his body. In an instant, this boring dog who wasn’t my favorite color had become the most beautiful dog I’d ever seen. It’s what I tell people all the time and I’d finally seen it happen. When you love the dog, it doesn’t matter what he looks like. He’s the prettiest dog there is.
The next morning, I told Craig I wanted to adopt him. He promised to tell the Creekies the next time they called. He’d already told me I could have pretty much any dog I wanted (as if having 66 of them in the kennel, where we practically live anyway, might not be enough for me). Goodbar was languishing in the lower grades, and would be sent out to another track if they had no reason to keep him there. An adoption is reason enough, and they agreed to let him stay for me while I tried to get a fence put up, and I cuddled my suddenly beautiful boy every time I had the chance. How could I have thought he was boring? How did I not see how gorgeous he was? I even started to love his registered name.
“I Feel The Lurve!” I declared him at weigh-in, and there were chuckles all around because all the officials knew I was taking him home. Happy for me, happy for him.
Finances were tight and I was really struggling to get a fence done. Damn things cost a bundle no matter how you do ‘em, and I was sure the Creekies were getting impatient with me. Nobody had ever said so, but they couldn‘t be thrilled with my dragging feet. I knew that we needed to make room for some youngsters to come in. Craig scanned the kennel and made his list of the dogs that we‘d be sending out to other racing venues. He didn’t say a word about my Goodbar, just left him off the “send” list and went on. My boy was still safe with me, but I was being unfair to my employers. The Creekies had treated me very very well. “Put him on the list. It’s ok. Just please ask them to make sure he gets into a good adoption group when he retires.” Craig saw the tears in my eyes and said “well, let me see if we’ll have room. We may be able to keep him.” Craig wasn’t nearly as mushy about the dogs as I am, but he had his favorites too, and he understood my wanting to adopt. I had a decision to make. “No, he can shine at another track. It’s too tough for him here. And I’m not anywhere close to getting my fence up. If he grades off here, I won’t be able to take him home. Please, send him.”
Nod. Scribble. Goodbar was on the list.
In the days that followed, I lavished cuddles on my darling boy. He didn’t know why I was crying and my words wouldn’t tell him. I traced his face with my fingers, to remember it forever. Every crease, every ridge, a sculpture in my hands. I love you. We almost got there, but somebody will love you even better than I do, I promise. I promise. And I don’t even have to tell you to be a good boy because you’re perfect.
And then he was gone, with my tears on his sweet head

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Informed Comments From the Trenches.... # 1

Grey2K USA (Grey2K) 990 Form, Greyhound advocacy, Retired Greyhounds & Greyhound Racing
Comment 1
I have spent many years in the trenches, getting retired greyhounds into loving forever homes. I have transported dogs, fostered dogs, done pre-adoption home visits, and have seen what goes on behind the scenes at the track. I have written letters and donated my hard-earned money to organizations that do TRUE greyhound rescue in SPAIN, where the dogs, called Galgos, are indeed horribly abused and neglected.  So any response I give is NOT a knee-jerk reaction. It's based on first-hand experience.


Clifton Gray and charge
I used to be very anti-racing, but after seeing first-hand, I no longer feel that way. The racing personnel I have met have been nothing but respectful and loving toward the dogs. Most of them would cut their arms off with a rusty saw before they'd let their charges come to any harm. True, it was not always this way, but it has changed and it continues to change due to the efforts of those of us who want to see conditions continue to improve. I take issue with Grey2K for the following reasons:
  1. Grey2K perpetuates outdated information from a time when tracks were not well-regulated.
  2. Grey2K, for shock value, has used pictures of greyhound abuse and neglect that originated outside the United States.
  3. Grey2K, for shock value, tries to equate greyhound kennel conditions as the same as those encountered by people interred in German concentration camps during WW2.
If people want to donate to Grey2K, that's their prerogative and I don't mind, as long as they know that Grey2K is nothing more than a political lobbyist group that wants nothing more than to get racing banned.  People need to know that:
  1. Grey2K is NOT a 501(c)3, tax exempt charity. Donations to Grey2K are NOT tax deductible. 
  2. Grey2K does NOT provide any direct assistance to greyhounds.
  3. Grey2K does NOT provide any direct assistance to greyhound placement groups.
If people want to put their money to that purpose, it isn't any of my business.  It IS my business, however, to get the truth about them out there so no one thinks they are donating to something they are not.

It IS my business to do everything I can to make sure every dog is treated well while racing and that they get a good home when they retire. It frightens me to think of the consequences should legal racing  be banned. Shutting down regulated, legal racing will only drive racing and betting on the dogs underground into unregulated "bush racing", which can and does result in terrible neglect and abuse of the dogs.  It may also drive the dogs into the hands of some coyote and other varmint hunters, who may or may not give a whit as to what happens to the dogs. It may even drive the dogs into the hands of disreputable breeders who only want to make money off those who desire to purchase a greyhound puppy.

If Grey2K minions find all of this abuse, why don't they report them to the proper authorities so it can be addressed and the offenders punished?  Why doesn't Grey2K go after PROVEN dog abusers?   I have no answer, but I do believe that anyone who personally knows about ongoing abuse of any animal and that person doesn't report the abuser to the appropriate authorities is just as bad as the person doing the abuse. Especially if they allow the abuse to continue to further a political cause. In my eyes, the enabler is much worse in some aspects.


Comment 2
In order to run with the big dogs - first you gotta takes off the shades and quit drinkin' the spiked koolaid!! They all (Grey2K & minions) keep complaining about race owners making a profit off the dogs, but ya know - they are too!  The only difference is they prey upon people by telling all sorts of pity stories to tug at vulnerable heart strings to get into their wallets, turning over money claiming "donation" when, in fact, it's actually declared as wages or earnings thru IRS. If they were truly in this for the dogs, they wouldn't accept 1 red cent from anyone. They would do this all on their own / out of their own pockets without any type of monetary donation from anyone. Take away their "donations" and they wouldn't exist.
Grey2K 990 Form File With the IRS for 2010
Comment 3
I want to share the wonderful journey I've had thanks to some wonderful racing peeps. 


In 2005, a litter of 10 pups were being raised by Cathie & Bill Lambert in Jacksonville. The litter, out of CM Lil Baby & Jupiter Conch, was 4 girls and 6 boys. Two of the pups were sent to the stud owner. The other 8 were destined to race for B & J Racing in Jacksonville.


Peanut
I preadopted from Follow That Hound a pretty little fawn girl with a dark mask called FTH Buttercup. The rest of the litter were preadopted by the time they started racing.  Peanut raced twice, officially!  I went to Sandy Paws 2007 and brought home the best souvenir ever!  The rest of the litter raced a bit longer, but all of them were off the track before their 3rd birthday. I kept track of the two who went to the stud owner and, when they were finished racing, they were placed with FTH members. Four of the boys live together in Tennessee with four more greyhounds and a Jack Russell.  The rest of the litter live scattered from the east coast to the west coast. 


Preadopting Peanut was one of the most positive experiences I've ever had. I made a lifelong friend in the person who raised her. I gained a huge, extended family of FTH adopters. I learned so many positive things about racing and have a huge respect for what they do on a daily basis. 


Sadly, my little 'Nut became ill in January. On January 31, I set her free.  One of the most difficult things I had to do after that was email Cathie to tell her. I couldn't even call as I knew neither of us would be able to talk. You can't tell me that racing people don't care about their dogs!  They care deeply!  My loss is their loss; one we share.


Comment 4
I've been working in greyhound adoptions since 1996 and the only "broken spirits" I've seen have been in greyhounds & greyhound crosses that were misused by private owners. These dogs were NOT registered with the NGA; they were being used to run on the bush tracks (which are illegal) and also to hunt. Other dogs with broken spirits were bounces from adoptive homes who mistreated them or did not appreciate the dogs for what they are - greyhounds.  

I ask those who claim the abuse, have you ever personally seen how greyhounds are raised or are you just going by the headline grabbing, sensational "reports" published by animal rights groups?  If you have not personally been to a greyhound farm or a greyhound racetrack, you are sadly misinformed. 

As a greyhound owner and a person active in adoption, greyhound racing people have nothing to prove to me. I see them in action, time & time again, with my own eyes. I suggest that you investigate them on your own and decide for yourself, if you have not already done so. Many of us in adoption learned a long, long time ago that Grey2K lies.  They use photographs of abuses that occur overseas; they use old & dated reports from 20 years ago; they really use the pity factor so they get more money in donations and then line their own pockets. You need to check out the $130K+ salaries on their 990 forms filed with the IRS.  Those salaries are paid to Dorchak & Theil, a husband & wife team.  NONE OF THEIR DONATIONS go to help either the dogs or the adoption groups helping to find homes for the hounds.

One of this blog's followers put it into perspective...

"If Grey2K actually cared for the welfare of the dogs, they would not want the tracks to close. My first greyhounds was neglected and abused, and it was not because she was racing on a legal track. She was a coyote hunter, owned by a drug dealer, and left to starve under a collapsed chicken coop with her litter of pups. Two of the five pups were already dead, when she was rescued, and another died shortly thereafter. She had no food and only a shallow pan of scummy water to drink. Should the tracks close, this will be the fate of thousands of greyhounds as sighthound sports are forced to go underground where animal cruelty laws cannot be enforced. Seems to me the "gotcha day" photos that people post of their newly-adopted greyhounds, that the greyhounds look a whole lot more like the second photo than the first.  That should tell you something!"
Here is my sweet girl at the time of her rescue.
And here she is two months after.


Something to think about....  for sure....

Yours in greyhounds....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Open Letter to Christine Dorchak & Grey2K

And open letter to Christine Dorchak and Grey2K USA (Grey2K) surrounding comments from Grey2K board member, Karyn Zoldan, about Auschwitz and her racist comments about middle class educated white people. Boycott Grey2K since they will neither condemn nor apologize for their Board Member.
By Jan Vasquez

I am posting this letter on your opponent’s site, as I am unable to do so on your own pages. An email would also most likely end up in the trash folder, so since it is obvious that you and/or your supporters monitor this site I will post it here.

On February 17, 2012 Grey2KUSA posted several photos taken outside of Tucson Greyhound Park showing several muzzled dogs in the turnout areas. (Was permission given to be on that part of the property?) Numerous negative comments were posted decrying this facility, calling it a dump, likening it to Auschwitz, condemning the use of muzzles on the dogs, and in general wailing about the perceived abuse of these dogs. Having lived for many years in Tucson (and having visited  Tucson Greyhound Park on several occasions) I can attest that the desert is very different from the lush greenery of Florida or Massachusetts. I happen to think the sprawling, open, undeveloped desert is quite beautiful, but to others it may appear akin to the surface of Mars. So maybe Tucson Greyhound Park is not the most attractive racing venue, but in any event I posted the following comment under the last photo:

“Seriously????? I see clean carpets, shade, cooled buildings, tails wagging (not tucked), muzzles to project in case of arguments …. Wow.”

Within two hours, my post was deleted and I have apparently been blocked from posting on not only the GREY2KUSA Facebook page, but your personal page as well. I do not think my post was in any way
disrespectful. I only pointed out facts. I did not resort to name calling or personal attacks against you or your followers. While I vehemently disagree with your agenda, I can respect an anti-racing viewpoint if it is a legitimate belief based on facts and a personal preference to not support racing. I have personally adopted three beautiful greyhounds from an anti-racing group and consider many in this group to be friends. I have spent the last eight years trying to find more facts about the racing industry. Not until recently, mostly due to Facebook, have I seen the “other side” – owners, breeders, pro-racing adopters – who love their dogs and work countless hours raising, training and caring for dogs which may or may not become successful racers. I have found that even those in the industry readily admit that all is not perfect, but are determined to right any wrongs and weed out the few bad apples.

Greg Morse & his "girl", Isabelle
The Anti vs Pro Racing issue is no less volatile than Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life, or Gay Marriage, or even Democrat vs Republican politics. There will never be a meeting of the minds. However, one thing pro-racing and anti-racing folks do seem to agree on is that greyhounds make wonderful pets and that’s why there are so many “adoption” groups (rescue is really a misnomer for the majority of placements).  While AR people will probably disagree with this, many feel that racing, far from being exploitative, is a wonderful career for the dogs. They are being put to work doing what they were created to do – chase!

JoJo, courtesy of Greg Morse
When their careers are over, the next phase of their life is to become a beloved pet - thus, adoption groups. How many greyhounds do you find in shelters or listed on Craigslist? A few maybe, but not anywhere near the millions other breeds. Why? Because there is an entire network of greyhound lovers who specifically check every day for those instances and who network to get those dogs out and re-homed. It is my understanding that most, if not all, greyhound adoption groups spay and neuter all dogs before being placed as a pet. That’s why you rarely see greyhound puppies, other than occasional oops litters, which get adopted since they cannot officially race. Greyhounds are bred responsibly and great care is taken so that they are not bred irresponsibly after being retired. Unlike puppy mills, there IS a plan for retired racers - adoption. I don’t see greyhound breeders and owners “selling” their retired racers – on the contrary the dogs are either returned to their owners or are freely given over to adoption groups to be placed in loving homes with comfortable couches. Ending organized racing will surely result in abandonment (Ebro 37), backyard breeding and/or illegal racing (Dallas/Ft. Worth 28), leading to far more injuries and deaths, not to mention the negative economic impact of putting thousands of hard working people out of a job.

It is unfortunate that you will not allow even a modicum of thoughtful discourse on your site. There are far more heinous instances of animal abuse than greyhound racing that could benefit from the hundreds of thousands of dollars your group spends lining the pockets of politicians.

Your source for accurate Greyhound information:  All About Greyhounds
Thank you Jan for your contribution to the blog.  For anyone looking for an accurate source of information on Greyhounds, please visit:  All About Greyhounds.

It is sad that people would rather stifle dissent to promote their political agenda rather than working together to find appropriate pet homes for the greyhounds. I find it particularly heinous to compare a racing greyhound kennel to Auschwitz, a notorious Nazi extermination camp, where millions of people: Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and Soviet POW's, were killed.
Prisoners in their bunks. It was normal for 3 people in one bunk.

"...it looks like Auschwitz..."


Courtesy of  Grieb, Kennel compound
Kevin Campbell & Ike, courtesy Greg Morse
"...it looks like Auschwitz..."

How would she know?  Has she ever been to Auschwitz-Birkenau?  Has she seen any photographs from there, back during its hey day?   It is hard to imagine a more ridiculous and inappropriate analogy. Greyhound racing kennels are clean and happy places.  The dogs are happy.  Compare that to the brutality suffered by those in Auschwitz.

It took me a long time to find a photo to display the misery that wasn't too upsetting, too graphic of the horrors suffered there. I truly do not understand how ANYONE can support people like this!  It is so disrespectful...  so unbelievably insensitive...  It's a slam on those whose families were lost in the Holocaust, regardless of ethnicity. It is "Shock Propaganda" made on the graves of 6 million dead. 

Hungarian women in Auschwitz
Auschwitz funeral after Liberation


"...it looks like Auschwitz..."
Georgia with the Froggy, by Christopher Grieb

Georgia & littermate
Is it really a surprise that that this comment was made by the same Grey2K Board Member, Karyn Zoldan, who most recently said,

"Middle class educated white people don't go to bet on the dogs."

My mother always told me, you are judged by the company you keep.  If a Grey2K Board Member makes comments like this, what are the rest of them like????

Yours in greyhounds.........

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Greyt Expectations...

Greyt Expectations by Melissa McEwan - Diatribe about Greyhound Racing based upon dubious facts by Grey2K USA (Grey2K), Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) and the ASPCA - all animal rights organizations.
Not too long ago, a post by Melissa McEwan on the blog titled "Shakesville" was called, "Greyt Expectations."  No...  it wasn't a commentary about the Dickens novel.  It was a poorly researched, overly emotional, misinformed (disinformed) diatribe on greyhound racing based upon questionable and old 'facts' put out by Grey2K, HSUS and the ASPCA.

McEwan's post was not rational and, when comments pointing out the disinformation were posted, they were promptly removed.  One such post was by  Pam H.  Pam has asked that her response to the article be shared as it was removed within minutes.  Pam has actively worked in greyhound adoption in Texas for at least 10 years.

"Might want to do a little fact checking before reaching for those hankies.  20,000 greyhounds are not put down each year. Take the numbers whelped in the last 4 years:
 2008 - 20,365
2009 - 15, 584
2010 - 12,801
2011 - <12,000

Sarasota Kennel Club
Hard to imagine 20,000 being put down when only 12,000 are born (and those numbers include stillbirths and dogs that are petted out before racing). Now, probably, just over 10,000 a year might even make the track, much less twice that number being put down.

Know how Dudley's earliest days were spent?  On a farm in a big run surrounded by his littermates for more than a year, playing and playing while his bones grew. If he retired before two, he spent about six months in the "hell hole" you describe.

You say you've seen pictures of bad kennels (and yes they exist - there are bad people in everything from greyhound owners to dentists) but have you been to a farm and seen the hands playing with and loving the pups?  The owners that plop their grandkids down to play with the little puppies?

Have you been to a track kennel and seen the trainers love on the dogs and give them marshmallows after a race? As far as the crates they can barely stand up in, I am 5'8" and can easily curl up in a kennel crate.
  • They are not starved - a starving dog won't win you any money.
  • They are not denied vaccinations - an unvaccinated dog cannot race
  • As for stairs - they've never needed to learn but can learn quickly. However, the 100+ foster greyhounds and my own 5 never needed to learn that as I live in a ranch style house.
  • Fetching - Greyhounds are sighthounds, not retrievers. All of mine will go after it then lay down when it stops. Maybe you can teach some to fetch, but they aren't wired that way.
Photo by Rachel Hogue
I seriously doubt Bluffs Run will close as it is one of the better tracks in the nation, but if it does, thousands of dogs won't be in danger. Every dog at Bluffs is at the top of his/her game and can either move to a similar tier track like Southland or to a lesser track. There was no carnage when Wonderland closed, except for the workers.

I'm all about getting greyhounds into homes, but not using heart string pulling stories and mistruths."

More untruths espoused in this blog include, but is not limited to....
  • "In one infamous case, an owner told a trainer not to bother trying to rescue dogs from a kennel which had gone up in flames because, "they're insured." "
FACT: I worked in the kennel that caught fire. The owner of the kennel was there first, before the trainer was! So help me God, the truth and nothing but the truth!   James had dogs in the pens and Brandi, the trainer, and Randy Floyd from the kennel next door were pulling the dogs out of the turnout pens and putting them in another kennels pens, while James was coming out the back, coughing & choking on the smoke.  Others were also helping, including his wife, Michelle.  Greg Morse
    Courtesy of LuLu 
  • "Even with rescues doing as much as they can, as many as 20,000 dogs are still killed (and nearly half that number (10,000) of rabbits illegally used to train the dogs) each year in the US alone.
FACT: Her "20,000 dogs" and her "10,000 rabbits" numbers were taken from the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), a Grey2K bedfellow.  If anyone involved in greyhound racing is found and convicted of using live animals for training purposes, their licenses are revoked and they are banned from racing.


HSUS is another political action & lobbying group (PAC) that has publicly stated it wants to ban pet ownership.  If you side with Grey2K and its purpose, you are siding with HSUS and PeTA!  Here are some quotes by various animal rights activists.  Abolishing greyhound racing is the 'toe in the door' for more breeds to follow.

Courtesy of Candy Beck
A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed that more than 120 complaints have been filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) since December 2011 regarding HSUS. Many of the complaints come from Americans who have given money to HSUS, thinking they were an animal shelter based upon HSUS's deceptive advertising. It has been found that more than 85% of the animals in the HSUS ads were cats and dogs but ONLY 1% of the money donated to HSUS is sent to 'hands-on' shelters and 'hands-on' efforts.  So, for every $100,000 HSUS receives, only $1,000 goes directly to the animals.  That is disgraceful!  The report was based upon the HSUS tax returns.  Public polls have shown that 71% of Americans believe that HSUS is a pet shelter and 68% believe that HSUS spends most of its money on helping pet shelters.  To date, at least 6 Congressmen have requested an investigation into the activities of HSUS, specifically whether or not their lobbying activities violate the charter of their 501(c)3 - tax exempt charity - status.  For more on HSUS, please visit - Humane Watch.
  • "Most greyhound pups are bred at breeding farms, where only a select few actually become racing dogs. This massive over-breeding is done in order to produce winning dogs. The unwanted pups, those who don't measure up to racing standards, are simply destroyed. 
Farm Scene, Courtesy of  TLC Greyhound Adoption
FACT: Greyhound puppies are not killed on the farms.  You cannot tell what kind of a racing dog a puppy is going to be, regardless of whether it is an 8 wks old puppy or a 12 month old puppy.  It is well beyond stupid to kill a puppy.  Good greyhound breeders are not stupid.  

  • "The racing industry also sells some of the dogs considered unfit of racing to laboratories, which use them in experiments." 
FACT: Greyhounds are not sold to research facilities (labs). The American Greyhound Track Operators, a professional organization of track owners, opposes the sale or donation of these dogs for research.

McEwan's comments re: over-breeding is a direct copy & paste from the ASPCA website.  The ASPCA, while not as bad as HSUS & PeTA, has become another animal rights oriented organization. In recent decades, the ASPCA has drifted away from its roots, which were in animal WELFARE, not animal rights. The ASPCA talks of animal "guardians" rather than animal "owners".  

FACT:  Greyhound racing organizations fund veterinary studies into other aspects of greyhound health and that of all canines, including:
  • the physiological effects of racing
  • the incidence and prevention of orthopedic injuries
  • the effect of specific medications or drugs on racing performance
  • the effect of track surfaces on injuries and prevention
  • the effect of nutrition on racing performance.
  • committed nearly $300K to scientific research aimed at developing a more effective vaccine for kennel cough
  • financial support to clinical research conducted by the Morris Animal Foundation re: osteosarcoma (canine bone cancer), which is one of the most common forms of cancer in all dogs, not just racing greyhounds
Seems to me that the racing greyhound folks care a whole lot more than anti-racing groups and animal rights groups give them credit for.

Thank you Pam for your comments.

Yours in greyhounds....



Monday, February 20, 2012

Grey2k…Home of the Whopper?

Grey2K USA (Grey2K) - Home of the Whopper - Grey2K Lies
by Rockingship



Seriously folks, I get tired. Writing about the antics, misadventures and shenanigans of Carey Nation (Grey2k), rather than about the astounding feats of athleticism and speed displayed by the Racing Greyhound athletes who are now competing for the World Classic championship in Hollywood, FL, isn’t what I’d choose to do if I had my druthers.
Yet, here we go again. Recently, the blogger-in-chief of Grey2k embarrassingly demonstrated that he has no conception of the role of the Scientific Method in research, and even less understanding of Greyhound locomotion. He cited and commented on a self-described “subjective” and non-peer reviewed study of bone remodeling observed in the central tarsus bones of 12 New Zealand-based greyhounds—a statistically insignificant sampling, by the way. This supposedly means that because racing on oval tracks causes asymmetrical bone remodeling between the left and right “hock” and can cause micro-fractures (which can then become the precursors to more serious fractures) therefore, it must be written for all and sundry of Carey Nation:
“Catastrophic greyhound injuries are an entirely predictable result of this cruel industry. As long as dog racing continues, thousands of greyhounds will suffer broken legs and die on the track.”
So spaketh the blogger-in-chief. He might just as well have said “As long as greyhounds continue to run at all , in any venue, thousands of greyhounds will suffer broken hocks and die, whether they at the dog park running into trees or other animals, in a coursing meadow stepping in chuck holes or on rocks, or charging across the road after a squirrel.”
Aside from the melodrama, he neglects to mention that catastrophic injuries which are the result of any activity at all are often “entirely predictable”, and that is why we have things like insurance. The insurance company has no idea whether you will suffer a heart attack this year playing tennis. But they know quite precisely how many people of your age and sex will. That’s how they set their rates so that they can stay in business and turn a profit. So, tennis lovers beware—-you and your sport could be the subject of the blogger-in-chief’s next editorial. We won’t bother discussing your automobile/liability insurance … for now.
I don’t mean to trivialize a serious subject as the blogger-in-chief has — one that is paramount in the minds of Greyhound Racing professionals the world over and a major source of heartbreak and anxiety for all lovers of the Racing Greyhound breed. However, the cited study shed little new light on the matter of “broken hocks.” Nor did it use a control group of Greyhounds, such as straight-line coursing dogs, to investigate how bone remodeling may have occurred and differed between the two groups, and what that might mean. We may have learned something we didn’t already know had that been the case.
The fact of the matter is that each and every dog, whether they are a straight-line coursing greyhound or a track racing greyhound (or a Shih Tzu), is either “left-footed” or “right-footed”, preferring to run on either its left or right lead. The term “lead” is indicative of the sequence of footfalls in one complete phase of stride. The sequence of footfalls is different from left lead to right lead. For example, when a Greyhound turns left, as he does during a race on the track, he must be on his “left lead”. The left lead, whether starting from a standstill, coursing a straight line, or turning, places more of the loading stresses of thrust and the centrifugal forces of turning on the right rear. It is vice-versa when the greyhound is running on his right lead (and/or turning right).
If the “subjective” conclusions of the aforementioned study are to be taken at face value, then greyhounds who prefer to run on their left lead when starting or galloping on a straightaway will exhibit greater bone-remodeling on their right, even if they never set foot on an oval-shaped racetrack. And that makes perfect sense, as coursing greyhounds, whose main energies are spent coursing in a straight line, can and do suffer hock injuries and fractures, as do common, active pets.
The bottom line, which the blogger-in-chief also neglected to mention, is that in order to achieve “skeletal fitness” for any activity, the athlete must train at that precise activity, because bones strengthen and “remodel”, not unlike muscles, with targeted exercise.
The following, from a paper entitled “STRESS FRACTURES IN RACING GREYHOUNDS” by Alessandro Piras DVM MRCVS ISVS
“An important conclusion based on these concepts is that skeletal fitness for a specific activity, cannot usually be achieved unless that activity is part of the training program. For example, training dogs by only galloping in a straight line or by swimming, is very unlikely to achieve skeletal fitness for racing anticlockwise on a circular track because both activities do not allow the specific skeletal adaptation to the asymmetrical loads generated during the race around bends in a specific direction.”
So, unless we are just looking to evoke an emotional response from the public, or promoting the concept of track racing on a straight-line course, the broader study of racing injuries remains a work-in-progress and is best interpreted and explained by real experts, who actually know something about greyhounds. That broader study, it should be mentioned, has been of untold benefit to the general canine population in pioneering revolutionary and state of the art surgical techniques among other advances in veterinary science.
The question that all these negative aspersions cast toward greyhound racing always brings immediately to mind, but the one never answered, is “compared to what?”
Grey2k is fond of reciting the number of injuries sustained by greyhounds while racing, over a given period of time at a given racetrack. What they never do is to include the number of opportunities there were for the greyhounds to have sustained those injuries. For example, on a typical program of racing, there might be 15 individual racing events. There are 8 greyhounds in each of those events….therefore, 8×15=120 “opportunities to sustain an injury” of any type while racing—in only one night of racing activity. Each and every statistical analysis of the number of injuries versus the number of opportunities to sustain an injury, however slight, has shown that the RATE of injury is always just a mere fraction of one percent. That rate of injury, however, is never compared to the injury rates of other unique groups of working or sporting canines, nor to the general canine population.
Grey2k has managed to create in the public mind, a “Xanadu”, where no greyhounds are ever beset by illness, where they never suffer an injury, and where no risky behavior, however natural, is ever exhibited by any greyhound in any situation for any reason. This mythical Xanadu, however, is only for Greyhounds and their breeders, owners and trainers. All other canines and their people are not allowed to enter it.
With that GREYHOUNDS ONLY Xanadu in mind, we might note that a 2003 article by Consumer Reports, concerning the costs of pet ownership, included this:
“Roughly 1 in 10 cats and dogs visited the vet for an emergency in 2001, according to a survey of 54,240 pet owners by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2002.”
Lawrence Scanlan (of Horse Whisperer fame) writes, in his book “The Horse That God Built”…
“A University of Minnesota study, done in 1993, revealed that 840 Thoroughbreds were fatally injured on American racetracks the year before. One horse in every 22 races—3566 horses in all—-was so severely injured that he pulled up short of the finish line.”
Comparatively speaking, even compared to ordinary pets, racing greyhounds, in their tightly controlled racing environment, would seem to be relatively safe as houses. And that’s really the only issue that should have ever entered the public discourse. Are Racing Greyhounds in their racing environs at greater or lesser risk of injury than are other unique groups of canines or than the general canine population? If one cannot answer that question with factual, un-spun data, then one has no business trying to turn an entire working class of racing professionals into felons because of some mythical, unattainable Xanadu, with which they choose to rhetorically imprison only Racing Greyhounds and their caretakers.
On a personal note, having had the great good fortune to have known and trained thousands of racing greyhounds, I’ve splinted my share of fractured hocks, like every other good trainer has. Any one of those trainers can tell you, and I will do so here and now, that the biggest problem you usually face with a greyhound who has injured their hock, is to keep them from doing further damage to it. That is what they invariably attempt to do, immediately looking to horse around with their kennel mates, as if nothing extraordinary had ever happened, as soon as you’ve set the darn splint.
Reprinted with permission. Originally published in All About Greyhounds on February 14, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Oh What a Tangled Web...

Grey2K USA (Grey2K) and how they and other animal rights activists use gossip, lies, rumor, and propaganda to advance their cause - disinformation.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive..."  A famous quote by Sir Walter Scott.

Grey2K and minions are masters of deception. Their deceptions are presented as facts and they present them by means of gossip.

Gossip....  What image does the word conjure up in your brain?  Can you see the two biddies gossiping across the back fence?  Can you see the high school girls whispering to each other in the hall?  Can you envision Grey2K's minions blogging and sharing their dis-information across the world wide web?  If you can, congratulations!  All of them are forms of gossip and / or the closely related activity, rumor mongering.

In today's world, gossip is one of greatest and most popular forms of entertainment amongst people! For some reason, it is entertaining to hear about others' lives and drama.  The problem with gossip, however, is it is 1) the fastest way to spread untruths and partial truths (dis-information), 2) it cheapens a persons life and 3) it can and does destroy people and their lives. Make no mistake...  gossip is evil.  We have to wonder what is missing from people's lives for them to take such an exaggerated and superficial interest in others?

Gossip is one of the methods that the anti-racing faction and animal rights activists employ in their attacks against people who work with animals in any way. They've been known to attack guide dogs for the blind, ranchers, racing folks (both dog & horse), dog show folks and even people who just don't share their view!  According to them, if you use an animal in ANY way, it is evil. They spread their litany by gossip, rumor and innuendo, masqueraded as "sharing information."

Gossip is distinguished from "sharing information" based upon the following:
  1. Intent - Gossipers often have the goal of building themselves up by making others look bad and by exalting themselves as some repository of knowledge, and
  2. The type of knowledge shared - Gossipers speak of the failings and faults of others, and
  3. A gossip is a person who habitually reveals and spreads personal or sensational facts, rumors and/or reports about others regardless of veracity and/or resulting consequences.
It is very common for gossips to masquerade as "do-gooders" and they do not see their actions as immoral, but as a means to achieving their noble & just cause!  Face it, it is a lot easier to accept gossip when it is passed off as sharing info for a noble cause.  That fits Grey2K to a tee...  Grey2K and its minions aka "The Carey Nation" habitually spread sensational facts, rumors, and reports, whether or not they are true!  They do it for shock value.  The Carey Nation have been known to fabricate stories and to use reports from other countries to display the "inhumane treatment of racing greyhounds in the USA."

Common Untruths Spread by Grey2K



 
  • "20,000 to 50,000 greyhounds are killed each year"
FACT: Most retired racing greyhounds, estimated at more than 90% of retirees, find appropriate pet homes after their racing careers are over thanks to greyhound adoption efforts nationwide. 


  • "The dogs get no personal attention."
FACT: Greyhounds get constant personal attention from the day they are whelped. They are handled as puppies and taught to walk nicely on lead. Their feet are regularly handled. Their toenails trimmed. They get massages. They are groomed and they go to the vet. They are hand slipped to chase a lure. They are petted. They are fed. They get tummy rubs and their ears are scritched. Their people talk to them AND, at times, curl up with them in their crates.  If that's not personal attention, I don't know what is!
  • "Greyhounds are starved so they will be motivated to catch the lure and eat it." 
FACT: Greyhounds are naturally lean and athletic. While racing, they are kept in optimum condition. Greyhounds cannot win races if they are starved and in poor health.
  • "Greyhounds are fed a poor diet." 
FACT: Greyhounds are fed a diet of raw and/or cooked beef mixed with kibble and/or vegetables, rice, pasta, and nutritional supplements. They also get raw bones to gnaw on to clean their teeth. Greyhounds cannot win races if they are not fed properly or if they are in poor health and condition.
  • "Greyhounds do not like to race and are forced to chase the lure."
FACT: Greyhounds are not forced to race. They either will or they won't. Chasing the lure is an instinctual reaction for a greyhound, which is a member of the sighthound family. Prior to a race, they exhibit great excitement because they know they are going to chase.
  • "Greyhounds are trained with live animals."
FACT: Greyhounds are trained with artificial lures. State laws and racing regulations prohibit the use of live animals for the training of greyhounds. Those who violate these laws and regulations may find their licenses revoked and themselves banned for life from the sport.

There are many, many more sensational "facts" espoused by the anti-racing faction all spouted to show everyone all the good they do.  There are so many, this blog isn't big enough to expose them all!

In addition to being gossips, many of the people associated with Grey2K seem to be afflicted by Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Why?  People with this disorder are very preoccupied with themselves and their energies are often devoted to shoring up their own fragile sense of self-esteem. They have a strong desire to feel special and to be admired by others. Therefore, they often use others as a sort of prop to bolster their ego - other people are frequently seen as an audience who exist to satisfy their need to feel good about themselves. When possible, people with this disorder will associate themselves with people who are famous, wealthy, or powerful. Their wish in assembling such a prestigious audience is that some prestige and glory will reflect back upon them; less important people who cannot reflect glory are not worth their while.

Grey2K Dis-information

Grey2K states "a few times a month, greyhounds are removed from their cages and taken to the racetrack where they compete"
A fit greyhound usually races two to three times a week.

Grey2K claims that "7 states have banned racing."
It is LEGAL to hold greyhound racing in 49 states. What is illegal in some states is parimutuel betting. The only state to have actually banned greyhound racing is Idaho.


Grey2K states that greyhounds are confined to their crates more than 20 hours a day.
If that were the case, these dogs would not be in shape to race. Like people, the dogs need exercise so they don't get fat and flabby. They need exercise to maintain their muscular condition as well as their overall physical condition to keep them fit for racing.

Grey2K is a tax exempt charity
Grey2K has posted on their FaceBook page that they are "A national, non-profit organization dedicated to ending the cruelty of greyhound racing. We are a network of humane-minded citizens who work to pass stronger greyhound protection laws nationwide."  This statement is somewhat misleading as  it leads one to believe that Grey2K is a non-profit, tax-exempt charity. It isn't. Donations to Grey2K are NOT tax deductible.

Grey2K presents itself as placing greyhounds in homes. 
Grey2K does NOT participate in greyhound adoptions. They do not place retirees in homes.  They LOBBY...  They are, more or less, POLITICIANS as they attempt to influence public policy.  They attempt to influence it so much that Grey2K was named in an election extortion and tampering case.

As previously stated, this blog isn't big enough to enumerate all of the questionable statements.  However, the ones listed should get people thinking.

Yours in greyhounds....