Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chucky And Rita.... Their Lives....

By Jason E Hancock

I have recently noticed an increase of negative, anti-racing propaganda being passed around. I was recently called a dog abuser for supporting greyhound racing. A friend of mine, who had never said a word all these years I have been pro-racing, spoke up yesterday. I was told that this person was glad I saved Chucky from the racing world.

Chucky retired from his long and accomplished racing career this past June. He is a full littermate to Rita, who I have had in my home since May 2012. I contacted his racing owner and was allowed to “pre-adopt” Chucky. That means that the owner agreed to let me have Chucky once his racing career was over. Chucky raced 165 races, many at top grade, and several stakes races at Bluffs Run Greyhound Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa. As far as greyhound racetracks go, Bluffs Run is a very competitive racetrack, and Chucky racing 165 races there is an accomplishment in itself. He graded off the track at Bluffs Run and was moved to Dubuque, when it opened in April. He raced another 12 races at Dubuque Greyhound Park before retiring. I have spoken to EVERYONE who was involved in Chucky’s career, and all but the trainer at Flagler in his sister Rita’s career, who also lives with us.

I am writing this because I have a personal account about how the racing industry operates and how the people involved in the daily operations in racing care for these magnificent athletes. Because I was told that I rescued Chucky, this is an account of his Chucky’s life thus far……

Greyhound puppies are born on greyhound farms, Chucky and Rita were two of the four born in Janesville, WI on Oct. 1, 2008. They were the result of the breeding of a famous proven sire, Flying Penske, and a brindle and white dam named Gotcha Bobbi Jo.

Greyhound puppies are unique from any other breed in more than one way, but the most noticeable way is that this litter of 4 puppies will grow and play together until they are around a year old. This litter was given the litter number of 48531 by the National Greyhound Association in Abilene, KS. That number was tattooed in their left ear, along with the numbers 108 and a letter from A-D in their right ear. This numbering system serves as a way to track the individual dogs and to insure that the dog racing is in fact that dog. I have been present during the tattoo process and I can attest that it is humane and I would have no problem helping or watching a litter being tattooed again. Once the litter was about a year old they left for training in Abilene, KS from their birthplace in WI. The litter at this time was down to three. The “B” puppy in the litter injured her leg on the farm and was sent out to adoption at around 9 months old. As the pups grow they begin to play rougher and, occasionally, they do hurt each other. That fourth pup lives happily with no problems with a family in MO. The three that went to training were sprinted, learned what the lure was, taught how to break the box, and how to behave in the racing world.

During training in Abilene, KS, Chucky showed good times and was a strong runner, so he went to Bluffs Run in Iowa. Rita was sent to Victoryland Greyhound Park in Shorter, AL, and their sister, Abby, was sent to Flagler Greyhound Park in Miami, FL. Chucky was by far the best pup in the litter, he raced top grade at Bluffs Run from August 2010 to September 2011. During that time, he won a stakes race and made the finals in two other major stakes. Chucky then raced as a solid B/C racer until February 2013. He was moved to Dubuque after grading off at Bluffs Run in March 2013. He gave it his best at Dubuque but at this point in his career he was 4.5 years old and racing against 18 month old pups heading up the grades, Chucky didn't have the stamina he once did and faded at the end of the race. His trainer in Dubuque is a great trainer who cares about his pups. He talked to Chucky’s racing owner and the decision was made to go ahead and retire him before he had a career ending injury. Chucky is a professional athlete, which is obvious by his career. I am proud of my retired racers past careers, no matter how good or poor they performed.

How did he become this amazing athlete?…..partially because of genetics but mainly by being treated with love, respect and tender loving care. Once Chucky’s racing career was over, he was not “abandoned” or “thrown away”. The truth is that the owner of his racing kennel paid his neuter and vet fees so that when I arrived in Dubuque to pick him up, he was ready. When I picked him up, he looked great! He was clean; had no fleas; had been vetted; and was very happy in the kennel setting.

The people in the racing industry DO care about the dogs! Racing greyhounds are neither abused, mistreated, nor are they malnourished. My retirees here at home have been called skinny and underfed, because I keep them within no more than 3 lbs over their racing weight.

I have visited MANY kennels at several tracks and in more than one state. I have yet to find a kennel I would not leave my dogs in. I have been on more than one farm; again, I have never seen anything that would cause me any concern. There are several trainers and racing kennels with pages on Facebook, look them up and see their pictures…..the dogs are SOOOO happy. If you own a retired racing greyhound and think that your hound was mistreated……do your homework! Go visit a track or a kennel! Bring your dog to a track; see what happens to your laid back couch potato once they hear the lure. You will have a nut case on a leash, who will no longer acknowledge that you exist! It is something they love to do! I will defend the trainers, owners and tracks that I have firsthand knowledge of doing the right thing, and I would call out anyone not doing the right thing…..but so would the trainers who do right. There are some great people in this industry, and a lot of great dogs!!! I have thanked everyone involved in Chucky and Rita’s career, and I will do it again! And to complete the litter, Abby had a short racing career in Miami and was retired and lives with a family in FL.

Once last thing; Retired racing greyhounds are not rescued, they were not mistreated and ate better than most humans. My dogs are adopted, more like they adopted me truthfully! Thank you to all involved in the greyhound racing industry!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teachable Moments

By Dennis McKeon

There is a really ugly video being circulated by various individuals, which graphically depicts a pack of greyhounds killing a Coyote. This video, to me, has no redeeming value. It doesn’t focus on or celebrate the mechanics or dynamics of the chase, but concentrates only on the visceral and brutal depiction of the kill. 

However, we would be loathe in missing the opportunity here to seize and make use of a teachable moment. Despite what many may have learned or inferred when reading the litany of misinformation and disinformation regarding the breed on the internet, Racing Greyhounds are purpose-bred dogs. 

The traditional parlance for that would be "game dogs". They are very efficient hunters and killers of vermin, by evolution and by nature. That is a proficiency and predisposition imprinted upon their DNA. It has been reinforced by nearly a century of highly selective race-breeding.

This doesn't mean that the dogs are mean-spirited or vicious. What it means is that when they see something which even vaguely resembles what they have been chasing and hunting since time immemorial, they are hard-wired to react decisively and instinctively to that stimulus (hence, they chase the lure at the racetrack).

It's not an easily controllable behavior for most of them. Unfortunately, for small dogs and other creatures who have been mistaken by greyhounds as “prey”, this perfectly natural and instinctive behavior has lead to serious misadventure.

Now, like everyone else, I enjoy reading the stories of goofy and endearing behavior that many greyhound pet owners relate to us online. But we can never forget that just below the paper thin skin of that loveable, sweet-natured, couch potato you see draped elegantly across the sofa cushions, beats the heart of a highly efficient "game" dog, an otherworldly athlete, who is quite capable of committing mortal acts easily.

Please exercise all appropriate caution with your greyhounds when encountering other or smaller dogs and animals. While it is understandable, with the realms of greyhound misinformation and deliberate disinformation out there, that one might have a somewhat skewed if not completely whimsical view of a greyhound's essential nature---but they are what their true nature says and demands that they be, and they have many dimensions. Take my word for it, you don’t want to be re-running in your imagination, your own version of that disgusting video, for the rest of your life.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Simple Way to Dispell Anti-Racing Mythology

By Dennis McKeon

You’ll need only a kennel full of Racing Greyhounds, one anti-racing zealot and a camera phone.

Courtesy of Rachel Hogue
I used to dread it when friends of mine (or anyone who was a comparative stranger to the dogs) would come to the kennel for a visit. Not that I didn’t want to see them. I did. But they would invariably insist on coming out into the turnout pens with the dogs, and then I’d have to worry about them being smothered to death with dog-love and unbridled enthusiasm. I think most kennel operators and trainers shared my conflict there. You love to show off your dogs, but people who simply aren’t used to the sheer power of the “surge” of a small colony of hounds, can unknowingly present a danger to themselves. Back in the days of heavy wire muzzles, there was always the chance of a fat lip, a broken nose, or in the worst case scenarios, a knocked-out tooth or two, courtesy of those hounds who would suddenly stand on hind legs to get eye-to-eye with their new visitor. Until one has been the “new human” (and thus the sole object of desire in the entire world) for 25-30 greyhounds, simultaneously, you really have no idea of just how friendly they can be, or how competitive they truly are, even when it comes to seeking your acquaintance and friendship.

 Only the real troopers could put up with more than a few minutes of this mass-marketed bonhomie, and even they could become quickly exhausted with being the most important thing in the universe, however temporarily, to a kennel full of muscled-up, smotheringly affectionate, finely conditioned athletes.

I’ve always figured this is why so many anti-racing activists say they’d never want to go near a racing kennel or a breeding establishment. Have you ever noticed that? None of them could possibly have any idea of what they’re talking about, or what they’re missing, because they’ve never been to a racing kennel or a breeding facility. Huh? That’s right, they haven’t a clue. Most of them know only what they’ve read on the internet, courtesy of extremist and donation-seeking propagandists.
Courtesy of Rachel Hogue

It would shatter many of them to actually have to come to grips with their own prejudices, looking into the faces of these happy, gregarious and ebullient greyhounds, while trying desperately to keep from being overwhelmed or knocked to the ground with unabashed greyhound affection. They would realize at once, in their hearts of hearts, that they have been grievously unfair to these remarkable dogs. They’d have to admit to themselves that they were wrong and/or that they had been lied to.

Because abused, brutalized and poorly socialized dogs don’t unquestioningly shower their affections and friendliest attentions on complete strangers. Dogs just don’t work that way. Even the most demure, reserved, timid, tightly-wound Omega greyhound personalities can become beguiling, impish coquettes on their home turf, at the prospect of making a new friend.

I challenge anyone who is a true believer in the popular, false anti-racing narrative, to arrange a visit to kennel full of actively racing greyhounds, and to partake of the turnout festivities just once. And let the kennel operator or the trainers film your introduction to them. You won’t soon forget it. And you’ll know the truth, and then so will everyone else.

It couldn’t be any simpler, or more logical.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Couch Potato, Meet Crate Potato

By Dennis McKeon

There is so much hateful, ignorant and deliberate disinformation out there it simply boggles the mind.

Canines are all pack animals. All canines are "denners". This means that left to their own devices, they will seek out places to sleep and rest that provide close cover and protection, not only from the elements, but from their enemies.

Greyhounds, unlike most domestic canines, are raised in a pack. As puppies and then as saplings, that pack is comprised of their littermates and/or other greyhounds their age who are being raised on the facility where they reside.

When they arrive at the racing kennel as young adults, they become members of a larger pack, with sub-packs. Each pack member in the racing kennel has his/her own "den", which we (and those companies who sell them commercially) refer to as crates, and anti-racing propagandists prefer to call "cages", for maximum, negative connotation.

Canines have been observed, ad infintum, to sleep anywhere from 12-16 hours per day, both in domesticity and in the wild. That is perfectly normal behavior for canines of almost any stripe. Greyhounds, whether in a racing kennel or kept as pets in the home, are so fond of sleeping for protracted periods of time, and for such huge portions of the day, that they are known by all and sundry, affectionately indeed, as the infamous "45 mile per hour couch potato".

After a brief period of adjustment and evaluation, once they begin their racing careers, greyhounds are kept on a program of vigorous exercise, training, handling and grooming. They gallop in long runs, or on the racetrack itself. They are schooled behind the lure. They are walked on walking machines or by hand, and sometimes they even swim at facilities that have hydrotherapy units, nearby lakes or other bodies of water that the trainer can make use of.

They take whirlpool baths and/or receive relaxing massages, and they are brushed, combed, pedicured and slicked up before and after racing or training sessions. They are kept busy, and at all times, share their lives with their pack members. In all cases, conditioning them to race successfully takes time, repetition, commitment, and more than anything, it takes a lot out of the greyhound. Greyhounds cherish and require their downtime, their rest and their relaxation, to recover from the exertions of playing, training and then, racing.

Those of us who have never seen a greyhound immediately after a race or a training session behind the lure, have no idea just how much effort and energy they expend getting after it. Until you see the pumped up muscles, almost appearing to bulge through the greyhound's skin, the heaving sides, and the expression of pleasant fatigue and satisfaction on the face of the dog, it is impossible to imagine the degree of their desire, contentment and commitment. Once you witness it, it all becomes perfectly clear. The amount of sleeping and lolling about they do is roughly a reflection of the depth of their natural and healthy expressions of their genetic and athletic heritage.

So that couch potato you have at home, blissfully snoozing the day away as you occasionally check in to see if he or she is still alive, was, before he met you, a 45 mile per hour "crate potato" in the racing kennel. He learned to rest and snooze in his own private den space, feeling perfectly secure, while the kennel was a virtual beehive of activity all day long. He was deprived of nothing, was anything but bored, and was perfectly exhilarated when his name was called for either galloping, schooling, walking or racing---or just about anything other than the dreaded nail-trimming.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Importance of a Population

By Dennis McKeon

I wish some of the late racing professionals who began the process and who envisioned the concept of comprehensive adoption for retired racing greyhounds, could see the way things have worked out. No doubt, they’d be pleased.

It was a quantum leap of faith back in the late 70s and early 80s, to imagine that racing greyhounds, a breed that had been publicly and raucously vilified by the jackrabbit crusaders and their media allies, could someday have become the sensation they are today in adoption.

This was a time when most young greyhounds, before they were trained to chase a lure on the training track, were allowed to course after live game, specifically the pestilence of jackrabbits. Even though a good “jack” can run a good greyhound right off his legs, even though greyhounds have been chasing hares since prehistoric times, this method of pest-control provoked an outcry from the animal rights activists of the era. The crusade to outlaw the coursing of live jackrabbits was successful in some states, but at a great cost to the greyhound.

He was said, by those activist minions of ignorance, to be “trained to kill”, and to be “bloodthirsty” and “vicious”. The public lapped up this nonsense, regurgitated by the old media at every opportunity. Needless to say, the great jackrabbit crusade and its attendant propaganda inhibited the progress of those early adoption pioneers, who were not only attempting to evolve culture within the racing community, but who now had to deal with re-educating a thoroughly misinformed public.

Fast forward to the present day, and we see the same sort of ignorant and willful misinformation prevalent in all forms of media. The most galling aspect of this mythology, to any of us who ever have worked 24/7, 18 hours a day, seven days a week, caring for greyhounds, would have to be the accusation that racing greyhounds are “abused” and treated cruelly, as a matter of routine.

This is preposterous for many reasons, not the least of which would be that greyhounds are very expensive, and require a significant financial commitment to be raised to the stage where they are track-ready, and finally able to win back some of that investment capital. The fact that this blanket condemnation still has traction, even as thousands of retiring greyhounds each year beguile and fascinate their enchanted, new adoptive owners, is a testament to the power of pure propaganda and shameless bias in media and pop culture.

The idea that such universally abused and cruelly treated dogs, who are not even “bred to be pets”, could have become the pet sensation of the canine world, flies in the face of everything we know to be true about canine disposition and temperament. Greyhounds have been universally acclaimed for their sweet and loving nature, and their unassuming, level temperament. These and other attributes manifest within a population, as a cause and effect of bloodlines, breeding, raising, training, handling and environment. Greyhounds, like all other canines, are the sum total of all these things. The racing greyhound is who he is, with all his affections, charms, instincts, quirks and foibles, because of his racing genetics, his racing background and his racing life experience--not in spite of them, as popular greyhound mythologists would have us believe.

It should go without saying, that making the complete life adjustment from racing athlete to family pet is no mean feat. Yet retired greyhounds do just that, by the thousands each year, to near unanimous acclaim. It could hardly be inferred by anyone of even modest critical thinking ability, that horribly abused and traumatized dogs would, without so much as a pang of conscience, make it their first order of business when beginning their lives as pets, to commandeer the living room couch.

Even though, when entering their new lives as pets, they are without their pack mates for the first time in their lives, they adjust. Even though they are facing brave, new, challenging and intimidating objects, environments and routines for the first time in their lives, they adjust. Even though they are among strange humans, whose voices, commands and mannerisms are unfamiliar to them, still they adjust. And they are able to adjust, because they have learned to trust the humans they have encountered during their lives. That has been the essence of our relationship with canines, from antiquity to the present day. Most retired racing greyhounds are charismatic exemplars of it.

Now, without a doubt, there are timid, nervous and skittish greyhounds, for whom this process of completely re-habituating themselves is more problematic. Some of these are “Omega” personalities, who, within their pack, were always the followers. Some of them are just high-strung, and hard-wired to be reactive. Much of greyhound temperament is highly heritable, and “racing temperament” is a fundamental feedback that breeders use to select which greyhounds will be bred. Yet we must remember that “pet-ability” is never a concern or a consideration among greyhound breeders in the process of selectivity, and “petability” has nothing whatsoever to do with racing ability.

Greyhounds are bred to be bold, tenacious, courageous and athletic race competitors. Some of the most dead game, aggressive and totally dominant greyhounds who ever set foot on a racetrack, however, were edgy, or skittish, or nervous submissive sorts when not competing. Yet many greyhounds of this type were also quite successful as breeders. Hence, those traits they expressed, both on and off the racetrack, were passed onto sons and daughters, and so to future generations.

One of the reasons for this Jekyl/Hyde conundrum we find in some greyhounds, is what they call in Ireland and the UK, “keen-ness”. The much-desired attribute of “keen-ness”, that is, being “keen” to chase and compete, is rooted in the greyhounds’ heightened powers of observation, his acute awareness of his environment and his surroundings, and his natural place in the evolutionary scheme of things as a sight, chase, catch and kill hunter.

“Keen” greyhounds are hyper-sensitive to everything going on around them. They are super-focused. They are the alpha-predator in any given moment. They are always on the lookout for something that offers the possibility of a chase, or anything that constitutes a threat. In an unfamiliar environment fraught with novelty, this aptitude can sometimes be paralyzing, or even render them oblivious to their owners. The latter situation is especially so, when something they feel might be fair game is interpreted by them as being afoot.

The Racing Greyhound pack is all things canine, from the stalwart alpha personalities, to the ebullient and envelope-pushing betas, right on down to the timid, supplicating, sometimes even pathologically fearful omega types. His diverse and ancient bloodlines assure us that there will be a plethora of personality types in the racing and adoption colonies, none of those personalities the result of fashion or fancy, and all of them sharing the common heritage of pure, unadulterated functionality, breathtaking speed and thrilling athleticism.

In pop culture today, the Greyhound holds a unique place. He is widely viewed as a victim of human greed and ruthless exploitation. This, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, in the form of hundreds of thousands of loving, well-adjusted, retired greyhound pets. This is still the misconception, despite the fact that not one greyhound from among that remarkable population has ever been bred to be a pet. The Racing Greyhound is still regarded by many low information and/or propagandized enthusiasts, as an object of pity, rather than the brilliantly adapted athlete and superbly tempered hunter he is.

Some even wring hands and gnash teeth over the supposed indignities, cruelties and abuses poor little Snowflake has been subjected to, without truly knowing anything about their greyhound's history. Their concern is touching, but most times unfounded in the greyhound’s reality.

Nevertheless, there is a chasmic “disconnect” among many greyhound lovers, between the individual greyhound(s) they love so dearly and the greyhound population. Without a genetically diverse, splendidly adapted and supremely functional population, we cannot have an individual greyhound who expresses those many attributes that emerge from such a population—which are the very things that endear the greyhound to all of us. At the cellular level, your greyhound is the embodiment of nearly a century of the genetics, the inputs and the feedback of racing alone. Racing is the one and only thing that supports the Racing Greyhound population.

When a population contracts to the point whereby irreplaceable DNA strains and entire female families of greyhounds are lost forever, we have irreparably damaged that population. For each one lost, we have reached the point of no return. The more a population contracts, the more problematic the breeding of sound and well-adapted specimens becomes.

So while it is heartwarming to see all the love and concern that is showered upon individual greyhounds by their adopters, we have yet to see that concern translated, within the popular greyhound culture, to the greyhound population--which is the wellspring of all greyhounds, past, present and future.

Those original pioneers of greyhound adoption understood this unbreakable interconnection. They cared for the individual greyhound, but understood the crucial importance of the population, and from where, how and why the objects of their affections came to be.

You can’t have one without the other.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When Is a “Charity” Not a Charity?

By Dennis McKeon

Having been educated by Dominican Nuns in my earliest youth, I was made quite familiar with the Biblical verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13.....

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

Some people dedicate their lives to performing works of charity. Charity can raise the fallen from the floor of the darkest and most hopeless of places. Charity can liberate the self from destructive self-obsession. Some people, regardless of their circumstances, refuse to accept charity. And some people make a great show of paying lip service to the concept of charity, cloaking themselves in the warm-hued tones and vestments of it, while seeking only to promote a hurtful and mean-spirited agenda.

Contributing to charitable organizations and to those who provide charity is as American as Harley Davidsons and Baconators. Americans, to their eternal credit, are always soft-touches for a good cause, no matter what the state of the economy or their own personal finances.

In contemporary society, it is easy to conflate “tax-exempt” organizations with charitable organizations. The ever more schizophrenic tax codes exacerbate this problem. For example, a lobbying group might be classified as a tax-exempt 501c4…as opposed to an entity that provides hands-on charitable services, which could be classified as a tax-exempt 501c3.

To further muddy the waters, the tax code reads like this, concerning the 501c4 designation:

“501c4s are:

*civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare

*or local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality

*and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.”

A non-profit, non-charitable organization can be classified under a definition which also describes an entity whose “earnings are devoted exclusively to charitable…purposes”. Confusing, isn’t it?

Certain tax-exempt, radical, animal rights lobbying groups like PETA and the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), have come under increased scrutiny for their perceived lack of charitable activity and commitment, and for what could be interpreted as insidious implication and self-portrayal as charities. These organizations take in stupendous amounts of money in donations, yet provide little in the way of actual animal welfare, services or animal charity. Instead, they spend much of this money on salaries and perks, self-aggrandizing commercials, luxurious office complexes, and of course, on lawyers and lobbyists. Their true objective is to promote, by increments, “animal rights”, which is an extremist political agenda, not to be confused with traditional animal welfare. There is a vast and crucial difference between the two. The latter concerns the humane treatment and well being of kept animals, while the former, fully implemented, demands the complete extinction of all domestic breeds of all species, and would forbid legal animal ownership for any purpose.

Many smaller and less well-funded animal activist organizations have followed the basic template of these two main players, seemingly doing little to discourage public perception of them as “charities”, when in fact they are nothing of the sort. PETA, perhaps the most infamous of all animal rights groups, has even been listed by the USDA as a “terrorist threat”. (Huffington Post, 3/18/10)

Let’s have a look at the anti-greyhound racing activist group, Grey2k, based in Somerville, Massachusetts. For the 11-plus years they have been in existence, they have provided almost nothing in the way of actual, hands-on Greyhound welfare, while exhorting the public to “help us help the greyhounds”--by donating to them. They take great pains to portray the Racing Greyhound as a pathetic object of pity and the victim of cruel and inhumane enslavement…and themselves as “greyhound emancipators”.

The way they “help the greyhounds”, however, is to spend the public’s donations on almost anything other than materially or physically administering to those greyhounds. Their agenda of outlawing wagering on greyhound racing, moreover, necessitates the destruction of businesses and jobs that involve breeding, raising and caring for greyhounds. In so doing, the greyhounds they are supposedly emancipating are forced into premature retirement from racing, placing tremendous burden and stress on the existing charitable adoption networks and infrastructure, as well as the greyhounds themselves.

At that stage, Grey2k seems to be no longer interested in “helping the greyhounds”. They provide no direct greyhound adoption or welfare services, and never have, despite having begun only recently--perhaps in light of increased public awareness of the true agenda of mentors like PETA and the HSUS--paying any significant lip service to such things. Perhaps they have finally been shamed into acknowledging that real greyhound welfare groups, with whom they compete for donations, actually exist.

It has recently been brought to light, that from 2006-2011, Grey2k received over $2.2 million dollars in donations. Of this, their actual charitable contributions during this period, per their IRS 990 forms, amounted to just over $31K.

That is, for those who are and should be keeping score, just 1.4% of total Grey2k revenues given to actual charities.

Which charities those parsimonious donations specifically supported is unknown. It is known, however, that an officer and a board member of Grey2k each happen to sit on the board of the anti-gambling activist group, Stop Predatory Gambling. The Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation is—oh snap!--a 501c3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization.

If that doesn’t raise an eyebrow, then consider this. Grey2k is fond of condemning the breeding of greyhounds for the purpose of racing, contending that the yearly retiring greyhound population displaces dogs in the general population, who might otherwise find adoptive homes. However, they themselves have diverted, since 2006, well over 2 million dollars that might have been used by real greyhound charities to provide real welfare for the greyhounds Grey2k professes to care so much about. Instead, much of that money is used to pay the salaries of Grey2k’s officers, for lawyers and lobbyist fees, and for endless and shameless self-promotion.

Far from being anything akin to a greyhound charity, Grey2k manages to negatively stereotype and works toward disenfranchising an entire class of working people and their families, whose sole focus in life involves caring for the Racing Greyhound. It works to destroy their businesses, their breeding programs, their careers and their jobs, and if Grey2k is entirely successful, it will eventually destroy the Racing Greyhound. They are still, thanks to their racing heritage and activity, a genetically diverse, athletically adapted, thriving population of dogs, but one whose sole means of support is the revenue generated through racing.

St. Paul describes charity:

“it is not jealous or boastful… it does not rejoice at wrong”

Grey2k describes itself:

“GREY2K USA is the largest greyhound protection organization in the United States. Since our formation, twenty-six dog tracks have closed for live racing all across the country, and the number of states with dog racing has been cut in half.“

St. Paul describes charity:

“if I have not charity, I am nothing…charity is superior to all the virtues”.

Grey2k describes the cornucopia of options the public has been provided with to donate--to them:

*ONE TIME DONATION--make a secure online gift or send a check today…

*PLANNED GIVING--leave a bequest through the Hope Fund…

*MONTHLY GIVING--join the Gracie Club by pledging a monthly donation…

*HONORARY GIFT--give in memory of a loved one or commemorate a special occasion…

*OTHER WAYS TO GIVE--shop or sell online, search the web, or donate a vehicle to help the greyhounds.”

St. Paul describes charity:
“Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful”.

Grey2k describes its agenda:

“Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane, and should be prohibited.”

Please support real providers of real animal charity and welfare—such as your local, no-kill animal shelter, or if you are inclined to help greyhounds, your local Greyhound adoption group. Don’t assume that simply because an organization asking for your money is tax-exempt, that they are providers or supporters of animal welfare or of charitable works--or that they aren’t competing with those who actually perform those charitable works, for your hard-earned, charitable donations.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Greyhound Friends of Massachusetts - Killing Healthy Greyhounds.... Part 2

In response to Part 1 to the story of Greyhound Friends of Massachusetts destroying two, healthy greyhounds, Yogi & Roller, this blog received this note from "James"...
JamesApril 8, 2013 at 4:20 PMWhere were these dogs owners, Lisa Lussier and Mud River Greyhounds? Why were these dogs in a shelter in the first place? Irresponsible breeders are what causes these unnecessary deaths, not overcrowded shelters which are a result of this breeding.
Here is our response....

Regarding ONLY Lisa Lussier....  Here is her response as to where she was...
"I am ANGRY and HURT! That woman PROMISED me! That woman has my phone number! I would have taken MY dog if I had been alerted of the plan! Oh my dog, do I have stories about this guy! I loved Yogi! I PROMISED HIM he would have a couch someday! OMG I am angry! I could have brought him home if I would have known! It was only a year ago I spoke to Louise and got some phony reassurance! What are my options now? RIP Yogi! I am so sorry! I think Louise Coleman should pay for this and WE need to prevent this from EVER happening again! I am at a big loss in my heart!  Yogi had an option that was not exercised!"
Lisa was not the ONLY option available either.  Other groups, when they found out about this have said, "Why didn't she ask us for help? We would have taken them!"

Primco Yogi
Regardless of the fact that there were options available and not taken advantage of, Greyhound Friends of Hopkinton is listed as a "NO KILL" shelter.  It is one thing to put a dog down because it is sick with little chance of recovery.  It is another to put down a healthy dog with no history of aggression, and that is from Louise's own statement. In addition, this is not the first incident of her destroying healthy dogs.  She admits to putting down 2-3 dogs each year, MANY of which are sick...  NOT all of them.

Dogs bred for a purpose, any purpose, are not irresponsibly bred. If this greyhound "rescue" group has too many dogs, it is beholden upon the operators to say, "not this time".  There are other adoption facilities which do not destroy healthy dogs because they are taking up room and are difficult to find the right home for.  As far as most I know are concerned, these killings were a matter of convenience for this "rescue" group.  They were killed because they were taking up space...  space which could have been occupied by dogs more easily placed which would then bring in more dollars.

For that reason and that reason alone, a "rescue" destroying dogs for convenience, this so called "no kill shelter" needs to be exposed for what it truly is.  They should NEVER get another greyhound.  They should never get another dog.

Yours in greyhounds....

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Attack

The writers of this blog are praying for Boston and her people, visitors, etc.  May God bless Boston and keep her safe.

Also, as much as we detest Grey2K and its founders, Christine Dorchak & Carey Theil, Christine has run in the Boston Marathon in the past.  We sincerely hope that they are safe & sound.  We do not wish them any harm and we'd hate to hear that they were injured.

Yours in greyhounds....

Monday, April 8, 2013

Greyhound Friends of Hopkinton.... Louise Coleman.... Grey2K Connection... Killing Greyhounds

Something disturbing has just come to my attention - it's one of those things where I ask "Should I involve myself?"... after sleeping over it I've come to this conclusion; Damn right I should.

First, I'd like to point out that I have a sincere and deep respect for the vast majority of folks in the Greyhound Adoption Community; my involvement with greyhounds began with adoption dogs. Without them and their tireless work to help our retired racers into loving homes, our lives as breeders and trainers would be near impossible. So, this isn't about my bashing anyone in the adoption world - this is about one single, solitary woman and group.

I found out last night that UMR High Roller (5 y/o) and Primco Yogi (7 y/o) were recently put to sleep. Both boys were healthy and vibrant. Their problem? They were taking up crate space their 'adoption group' needed to accept new, more "adoptable" dogs. Apparently, these boys had outstayed their welcome and because of this, their lives were snuffed out.  They were destroyed.

UMR High Roller

The anti-racing group, Greyhound Friends of Hopkinton, MA, which is run by Louise Coleman, destroyed them.

I don't care as to what this "woman" might have done to help greyhounds in the past when racing was alive in the northeast.

For years, greyhound racing professionals were demonized for humanely euthanizing older greyhounds to make room for younger ones - adoption signified a rethinking of that mindset and the mainstreaming of the breed. Apparently, Louise Coleman has a lot in common with those people who were often the object of her scorn and condemnation years ago. To do what she has resorted to is abhorrent and unacceptable - despicable and deplorable.

I urge EVERY single owner of a racing greyhound to refuse to send this group another dog. If you have one in her groups custody right now, I strongly urge you to do whatever you can to get that dog moved to a reputable group. There are plenty of groups out there now who would love to help place your dogs into a loving home and not the ground.

R.I.P. High Roller...   R.I.P. Yogi.


In Carey Theil's blog post dated Wednesday, April 4, he states,  
"On Monday, we hosted a small party at the GREY2K USA office to celebrate the birthday of my adopted greyhound Zoe. Although this was a joyful occasion, it does remind me now of all the family birthday parties Bubbles Sidekick will never have."
Carey, where is the concern for the birthdays that the 5 years old, healthy greyhound, UMR High Roller will never have?  

Where is the concern for the birthdays that the 7 yr old, healthy greyhound, Primco Yogi will never have?  

These healthy dogs that were destroyed by an anti-racing rescue group aren't even given a passing mention in your blog.  WHY?  Is it because they were destroyed by an anti-racing group that Grey2K has referred to as a "partner"?  

Does it matter to Grey2K that this 'rescue' group has assets in excess of $1 million dollars and they are making money off the dogs?

Does it matter to Grey2K that they are destroying healthy dogs that are not making money for them, dogs that are taking up valuable kennel space?  Space which could be occupied by a more profitable, more easily sold greyhound.

You have complained about responsible owners humanely euthanizing dogs that have suffered traumatic injuries, yet you do not say a word about a "rescue" group destroying HEALTHY dogs because they cannot find them homes.

The hypocrisy of the anti-racing crowd doesn't have any bounds!  Do don't as we do; do as we say!

Yours in greyhounds....

Friday, March 29, 2013

Deny... Deny... Deny...

The prior post includes a comment by C. Theil, who continues to vehemently deny the link between ALF & G2K's Christine Dorchak, who is his wife.  Mr. Theil also states,
"When political opponents use the terrorism label like a cheap trick it demeans all of us. It is Un-American."
ALF Poster
Well, it's the FBI that says ALF is a domestic terrorist organization.  And, as far as most reasonable people are concerned, any group that promotes terrorist activities, i.e., fire bombings, death threats, etc., are, in fact, terrorist groups.

What can I say....  a picture speaks a thousand words.... Especially a screen shot with the URL clearly shown.

It's not like the picture is photo-shopped or staged, as are some photos used by at least one anti-racing, lobbying group.  It's not like inflammatory and emotional language has been used, such as that used by at least one anti-racing, lobbying group. The fact is, this is a screen shot of an ALF page, which has since been removed, that clearly shows Mr. Theil's wife being promoted as an ALF speaker and also as a member of the ALF Hall of Fame.  

The 2nd screen shot is a list of files from the ALF website which ahows his wife as a "Saint" and residing in their Hall of Fame (or 'Shame' as the case may be).  Please note the dates as the last time that parent directory was modified was 30 July 2012 in the evening.

Decide for yourself whether or not there's a link.  

'Nuff said....

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Animal Liberation Front & Grey2K

The Animal Liberation Front, ALF, is an animal rights organization touted as a domestic terrorist group by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  In testimony given before the House Resources Committee, James Jarboe the Domestic Terrorism Section Chief stated,
"During the past several years, special interest extremism, as characterized by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), has emerged as a serious terrorist threat. Generally, extremist groups engage in much activity that is protected by constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly. Law enforcement becomes involved when the volatile talk of these groups transgresses into unlawful action. The FBI estimates that the ALF/ELF have committed more than 600 criminal acts in the United States since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of 43 million dollars."
That's a lot of criminal activity and a lot of damages.  Mr. Jarboe continues on, saying,
"These groups occupy the extreme fringes of animal rights, pro-life, environmental, anti-nuclear, and other movements. Some special interest extremists -- most notably within the animal rights and environmental movements -- have turned increasingly toward vandalism and terrorist activity in attempts to further their causes."
As bad as these "activists" are in the United States, they are worse in Europe and in the United Kingdom. They are heavily involved in trying to ban all hunting activities, all animal research, all farming....  everything and anything to do with animals.  Yesterday, 24 March, the Daily Mail published an article indicating the possibility that a hound was beaten to death by ALF members, who then dumped the poor animal next to a car, which had been vandalized, on the driveway of the Ross Harriers  huntmaster, Lee Peters. This was NOT a hunting dog, but a pet. The reason the police suspect ALF is because the letters ALF were scratched into the vehicles where the dog was found dead on the drive.

It is thought that this act is connected with the fact that a badger cull is to happen in the same area as where the Ross Harriers Hunt are located. Threats by the AR's have been made against those who support the cull.

Now then, what does this have to do with Grey2K?  Well, Christine Dorchak of Grey2K was a keynote speaker at an ALF conference.

That should say it all....

Yours in greyhounds, not terrorism....

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oh Happy Grey..... NOT!

This is how Kiraz Downey at Oh Happy Grey (supported by Grey2k USA) feels about people in the greyhound racing community. 


I think so.

Hate speech?

I think so.


Most definitely.

Grey2K and its minions promote hatred.  Rather than donating to Grey2K and other animal rights lobbying groups, donate to your local adoption agency, greyhound or other.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tumble Bug, Handsome and Fast

This article first appeared in the Winter 2003 issue of Celebrating Greyhounds (CG) Magazine as part of the Hall of Fame series.  Celebrating Greyhounds is printed by The Greyhound Project, Inc. and takes no stance, pro or con, on greyhound racing. It is a magazine for greyhound adopters.

Laurel Drew is a regular contributor to CG Magazine. It is reprinted here courtesy of the author, Laurel E. Drew.

By Laurel E. Drew

Add caption
Tumble Bug*, sire of Rocket Jet and grandsire of Tell You Why*, is indelibly inked onto pedigrees in both the United States and Australia, where he was born in 1945.  As a pup, he was a devil. At 3 months of age, he was given to a neighbor because of the havoc he was creating in the dog yard. Because of the pup's wild attitude, after several weeks, the neighbor gave him back.

After training and a lot of work, Tumble Bug went to the track, one of the fastest dogs that Cliff Abraham had ever raised. He finished one race with a 15-length lead, and another by an estimated 50 yards.  In fact, the dog was so fast that he injured himself, which eventually led to his retirement. Shortly before his retirement, there was much talk of a match race with the great Chief Havoc (also in the Hall of Fame); however, Tumble Bug ruptured a muscle in a hind leg and was retired before the race occurred. Chief Havoc and Tumble Bug were to match up on a number of pedigrees, however, as their offspring produced top-quality runners.

Tumble Bug won the Easter Cup, the Melbourne Cup, the H.G.R.C. Stake, and many others. In fact, TB was often handicapped by being placed in a starting box several yards behind the other dogs.

When first retired to stud, TB did not attract the high quality bitches that Abraham had hoped for, but when his offspring began to make their mark on the track, that changed.  His stud fee went from 10 to 12 guineas in a hurry.

About that time, H. W. Shugart, a former traveling salesman from Iowa turned boxer, visited Australia and was smitten with Tumble Bug. Shugart bought the Greyhound because, after studying the records, he concluded that Tumble Bug was producing dogs as good as or better than those produced by Chief Havoc, who was being bred to superior bitches.

When Shugart purchased TB, he received a lengthy letter from Abraham detailing Tumble Bugs faults and foibles, along with explicit directions as to how he was to be used at stud.  Included were such details as: "Always have his collar up fairly tight when out exercising or he will slip it otherwise and always lead him on the right hand side."  Another observation: "He is not a very good car traveler and therefore never feed him less than 6 or 8 hours before a long car journey."  The instructions went on for 21 pages. They are printed in Gary Guccione's Great Names in Greyhound Pedigrees, vol. 1 and are fascinating reading.

Tumble Bug produced some excellent dogs. Saddler was one.  Saddler went on to produce Westy Kinto, Miss Whirl, and Kithed, all top producing bitches.  Another of Tumble Bug's well-known sons was All Man.  Tumble Bug's daughters carried his name to high ranks. They included Tiny Bug, Tumble Through, Flash Bug, Velvet Ribbon, Star Billing, and Rain Step.

In Australia, he had produced the great Rocket Jet, also a solid black dog, who was to sire several outstanding dogs who later were exported to the United States.  Many of Tumble Bug's descendants were crossed back into the TB line through offspring of Rocket Jet.

In the twilight of his breeding career, Tumble Bug sired Mac's Lamb, who produced Mac's Diane, dam of Tuf Miler and other greats. Shortly after this, Tumble Bug developed a heart condition. He died of a heart problem in 1956 at age 11.  The bloodline developed from Tumble Bug proved to be Australia's answer to the Irish-born Hi There and America's Mixed Harmony. He was a dog who was both handsome and fast.

(Note: the asterisk after the name of the dog indicates that he was imported to the United States.)