Friday, September 8, 2017

These are the best of times & the worst of times...

One thing about natural disasters, such as hurricanes, they bring out both the best and the worst in people. With Hurricane Irma, a strong Cat 4, bearing down on The Sunshine State, Florida - home to the largest number of greyhound tracks in the nation, the people who work in greyhound racing are putting themselves at risk and are staying in the kennels with the dogs. They will not let the dogs ride out the storm alone. They are battening down the hatches and riding it out with their families and beloved charges in the kennels. These people who are constantly berated and called cruel because they work with dogs in dog racing, are putting their own lives on the line.

According to Jan Vasquez,
The greyhound community in the US is collectively holding its breath and awaiting the oncoming devastation Hurricane Irma may bring. At every track in Florida, kennel personnel are preparing to ride out the storm, sacrificing their own safety, to care for the thousands of greyhounds in their charge. We pray they remain safe throughout the upcoming week and come out unscathed.
As of Friday morning, 9/8/17, at 9:30 am Eastern time, the self-proclaimed protection group out of Arlington, MA has not posted ONE WORD of concern for the greyhounds they purport to protect, nor have they offered one penny of financial assistance. Their primary focus today seems to be the promotion of a calendar to raise more donations for their own coffers.
And Derby Lane really raised the bar... From the Florida Greyhound Association...
In preparation for Irma, not only did they cancel racing to give the kennel operators time to prepare... the racetrack has given each kennel $5,000 to have what they need to be ready for her wrath.
Stay safe!!! Protect your hounds & protect yourselves.

And then there are the offers of a place to stay for hounds & humans rolling in from across the nation. People offering up their homes to strangers & their dogs.

So that begs me to ask the question, what is that group of so called greyhound lovers & advocates doing for the dogs in Florida? Have they donated any time and/or money, like Derby Lane, to ensure the dogs safety? Have they offered their homes to dogs & kennel workers? Have any of them offered to come down and stay in the kennels during the storm to ensure the dogs are safe?

What have they done? Nothing other than attempt to line their pockets with more $$$.

Some of their minions have also wished death upon the kennel workers.

Think about that and chew on your bone.

Yours in greyhounds...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Grey2K's Itch & Scratches

It has recently come to our attention that Grey2K has an itch to know why dogs are scratched on the day of racing. They want to see, they are demanding to see, injury reports to find out why. Well, here are some reasons...

Brindle dog- The dog stubbed his toe & . I looked at his nail & the offended digit.  There was nothing wrong, nary a scratch. I rubbed his foot for an hour and he told me, "Don't stop! It feels so good!" He got the day off to recuperate from the toe massage.

Black dog - He was so upset! He wouldn't stop whining. The reason? His brother went to adoption & he missed him. I gave him a pillow, a blanket and a stuffed teddy bear. I told him to take the day off.

White dog - He puked. The reason? I showed him a picture of Christine of Grey2K. Yellow bile stinks!

White and brindle dog - She puked. The reason? She heard the name Christine while I tended the white boy. Sheesh! It's contagious!

Fawn dog - Soiled his crate with diarrhea. I think he saw a picture of Carey and became very, very nervous, giving him stress diarrhea.

Blue fawn dog - He just didn't feel like racing. And that's what was put in an injury report for him. He's running next Wednesday.

White and fawn dog - She got mad at me for not giving her a cookie. She wouldn't look at me, preferring to  look at the back of her crate. So, I gave her one.  Well, now she's decided she's NOT leaving the crate until she gets three more. No racing for her today.

Fawn dog #2 - he was a late scratch last night. As the dogs were being led from the paddock to the track during a rain storm, he laid down and refused to go outside in the rain. Permission was given to scratch.

Now then, I hope this report scratches their itch. You just know Grey2K is going to say this is all made up, fiction, and that will just make their itch even crazier, like poison ivy spreading. To that, I say, all of these dogs have names but they are being withheld to protect the innocent.

Yours in greyhounds...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

What’s In A Name?

By Dennis McKeon

We often hear from new adopters of retired greyhounds, that the greyhound they have adopted doesn’t respond to its “call name”. A call name is the name that the trainers and the assistants use when training, handling and addressing an individual greyhound.
Many times, the greyhound’s call name bears no resemblance to the dog’s registered, official, racing name, but sometimes it is a derivation or abbreviation of that name. Nevertheless, it is to both the greyhounds’ and their adopters’ benefit, if the call name is known. Sometimes, the greyhound’s call name is lost in the transition from track, to adoption kennel, to adopter, however.
Irrespective of all that, given that the newly adopted greyhound is about to go through (what for some of them is) a cataclysmic change of venue and lifestyle, it can be of some, small comfort to them, to hear their familiar name spoken and used by these complete strangers--who will soon become the focus of their new lives. There are many challenging adjustments ahead for the newly re-homed greyhound, and having to learn to respond to an unfamiliar name, can only serve to complicate making those adjustments.
Now there are some greyhounds who may choose not to respond to a strange voice, or to a person with whom they aren’t familiar, or with whom they aren’t yet entirely comfortable. This should not be interpreted by the new adopter as a personal rejection. It’s just that some greyhounds can be almost cat-like in their aloofness, or their reaction to new people within their sphere and environment. That aloofness can be amplified by their shocking discovery that their environment is now entirely unfamiliar, full of strange, and often, mysterious or intimidating sights, sounds and objects. Their call name may be the only familiar thing they have to hold onto, at that stage of the game.
Back in the day, when I was plying the trade, most of the time greyhounds would arrive at the racing kennel with their call name taped or otherwise written on their collars. Since it was a racing commission rule that the greyhound’s official racing name could not be in any way affixed to their crate (so that no stranger could tamper with them in order to affect a dog’s performance), the call name was usually printed on a piece of masking tape, and then affixed to the dog’s crate.
The popular misconception among some adopters, is to infer that in cases where the greyhound is unresponsive to what they were told was its call name, that he or she must not have actually had one. While I suppose that it might the case in very isolated instances, I can assure you, that in my experience, they all had familiar names. It would be virtually impossible for any trainer to maintain order and efficiency in his/her kennel, if the individual greyhounds in their care, were not responsive to their trainer’s call or commands.
Looking back on it all now, there are times when I can’t recall the racing name of a greyhound I may have handled, but I can almost always remember their call names. That’s how we knew them.
For example, there is the curious case of one red-brindle, 76 pounder, called Lamont. He had the most vexing habit of racing on the outermost part of the track, right next to the grass apron---all the way around. He didn’t simply veer wide on the straightaways, and then drop down to the rail to shotgun the turns. Au contraire—he parked himself as wide as was canine-ly possible, and stayed there, for the entire race.
Because he was giving up gobs of ground to his rivals, he had some difficulty recovering that ground in a 550 yard race. And while he was gifted with otherworldly speed and stamina, he just couldn’t get up in time to beat good dogs, given his bizarre, extreme fixation on the outer lane of the racetrack. No amount of training, high, holy novenas, sorcery, witchcraft, or even trying to reason with him, was about to change that.
So I decided that his future success would probably be more easily secured with a change in distance--to longer distance. Even though that would present him with another, additional turn, on which he would inevitably give away even more ground, there was no doubt in my mind that he would easily stay for 770 yards (marathon distance), eventually. The plan was to give him a few races at 660 yards, see how he handled that, and then, go onto the longer, marathon distance.
Now, you have to let the racing secretary know when you wish to change a greyhound from one distance to another, and there was a standard form to fill out, so that he could draw him into a race at the distance you had indicated you preferred. I did that, and went to work on Lamont, getting him ready for yet a new adventure in practiced ground-losing.
Normally, the dog will not miss a day in rotation, and might even draw in to race a day earlier, when you switch from shorter to longer distance (there are always fewer greyhounds entered for distances longer than the standard, 550 yard “sprint”, so the turnaround can be faster). For some reason, Lamont didn’t draw in at all. I guess I waited about 5 days before I decided I had better inquire of the racing secretary, just what was the problem.
But I didn’t have to. That evening, after weighing in the night’s racers, in my message box in the racing office, was a note, from the racing secretary himself. It read simply:
“No dog named Lamont on roster”.
I was god-smacked. I had, mindlessly, entered the dog by his call name!
Lamont wasn’t Lamont, to the public or to the racing secretary. His official racing name was---ironically enough---Beyond Recall.
copyright, 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Greyhounds & Cocaine Metabolites

By Steve Sarras



Information regarding Bezoylecognine in urine and accepted threshold cutoffs by credible experts.

In the first paragraph of introduction it clearly states, “Because of the presence of cocaine in the environment, human workplace drug testing uses cutoffs or “limitations” designed to exclude BZE identifications resulting from innocent environmental contamination”

Trace Level Benzoylecgonine (BZE) Identifications in Post-Race Urines: Probable Sources and the Regulatory Significance of Such Identifications. AAEP Proceedings 52:231-36, 2006

Contrary to news media reports fueled by animal rights extremists, this is not doping or animal abuse. This IS an issue of innocent, environmental contamination laws needing to be updated according to technological advances and federally used drug testing standards. No dogs were put in harm's way or have exhibited any health issues.

My dogs have been tested at a disproportionately higher level than other kennels in Jacksonville since the beginning of political sessions. I may have been targeted because of my active involvement in defending the greyhound industry. My name and my political involvement in West Virginia is frequently cited in the media, even though this occurred in Jacksonville, Florida. I have been licensed to race greyhounds in almost every state to offer greyhound racing since 1986. I am very active and well respected in the both racing and adoption communities of the greyhound world. Numerous veterinarians, who see our dogs daily, will confirm that we always strive for the highest level of care for everyone of our dogs.

The 17 positive tests involved 12 dogs in my kennel. The dogs have tested positive for trace amounts of a metabolite called Benzoylecgonine in amounts normally accepted as environmental contaminants or from casual contact. All dogs that tested positive WOULD NOT have failed any federally mandated human drug test. Horse racing has also started to use these federal drug testing guidelines.  A commercial airline pilot or a truck driver would have to have tested at concentrations 4 to 14 times higher than the  greyhound’s to even warrant a second test to confirm a positive or failed drug test. Animal rights extremists are intentionally withholding the amounts found in the positive samples. Quite simply it is propaganda against the greyhound industry. These animal rights extremists also have ties to domestic terrorist groups. They prey on hysteria and  fears to elicit anger and support in any form especially in terms of donations. Check their websites and social media sites. You won’t have to look hard for the DONATE button. These groups use manipulation of information to promote their own agenda.

To date, these are  the facts during this ongoing investigation:

State Regulators have suspended my former trainer’s license pending a formal hearing in August of 2017. Americans are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The trainer has appealed his positive samples and is entitled by law to due process. It is very possible that the results were from human contact by a trainer, kennel staff or state specimen collectors handler may have used the drug or contamination of feed at the source. If it is proven that this is a result of drugs in the workplace it will be dealt appropriately.  I do not condone the use of illegal drugs. Steve M. Sarras Kennel also has complied with all aspects of Florida Pari Mutuel Wagering laws. We care deeply about all of our dogs and would never put them in harm's way.

The positive tests are for trace amounts of Benzoylecgonine. Trace positive results of benzoylecgonine are not proof of dogs being drugged for performance enhancement.  Unfortunately, propaganda groups would like the general public to believe otherwise.




13 OUT OF 17 WERE  BELOW 20 ng/ml; 6 WERE  11 ng/ml OR LOWER.

THE DOG WITH THE HIGHEST CONCENTRATION of 36.5 nanograms came in 5th

THE THREE WINNERS HAD CONCENTRATIONS OF 11, 11, AND 13 NANOGRAMS. (CLEARLY NOT A PERFORMANCE ENHANCING EFFECT as proclaimed by animal rights group promoting false news)

Technological advances  of urinalysis equipment can detect trace amounts of any substance. These positive tests are registering in nanograms. A nanogram is a billionth of a gram. A very fine grain of sand is 350 nanograms, for reference. The highest positive was 1/10th of a fine grain of sand. Threshold levels have been established by the government  because it is well documented that casual contact and environmental contamination from cocaine is frequently detected in urinalysis using today's modernized and advanced lab equipment

Unattended Urine Collection Cups
Anyone can access & contaminate them.
Florida law mandates all kennels relinquish their dogs on race day for at least 1 hour up to 6 hours . If cocaine was given on race day, any effects would be over while in the state and track’s custody. During that time kennel staff is prohibited from access to the dogs racing to protect the integrity of wagering. The only individuals with access are track and state employees until after the dogs race. Urinalysis is performed prior to a race, contrary to what the track’s spokesperson stated in an earlier report to the media. We are actively investigating the cause of the contamination, chain of custody, and handling of the urine sample. The urine specimens are  collected outdoors in a common area. None of the samples were witnessed or signed for by any employees of Steve M. Sarras Kennel.

The state conducts of all the drug testing and receives the results. I have yet to be officially notified by the state in regards to these positive samples.

An alarming 90% of US paper currency has trace amounts of cocaine on it, which could cause a trace positive urine sample on anyone handling that money.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Greyhound Adoption: The Great American Success Story

By Dick Ciampa

This is a story about adoption, racing greyhound adoption. Greyhound racing started in the United States in the 1920's, when it was thought that greyhounds were vicious and would not make good pets. It was said they wore muzzles and were trained to kill so being a pet was out of the question.

Through the 20's, 30's, 40's, and 50's, greyhounds were either put down or held for breeding. Since the number held for breeding was a small percentage of the population, the majority were put down.

Cora Eisenzimer adopted a greyhound in 1957 and while that was probably the start of greyhound adoption, it wasn't until 1982, when greyhound tracks in St. Petersburg, Florida and a year later in Seabrook, New Hampshire started what would be considered the first formal adoptions of racing greyhounds.  

It was the greyhound industry that started what is now one of the great American success stories - Greyhound Adoption.  

As the years went by, adopting greyhounds become more & more popular. Adoption groups started popping up and the Great American Success Story was underway. What started out as REGAP, Retired Greyhounds as Pets, went nationwide when they became Greyhound Pets of America (GPA). With chapters of GPA now growing into many states, the number of greyhounds being adopted was now in the thousands & growing.

If you fast forward to 2011, there were an estimated 200,000 greyhounds adopted as pets. That is not an estimate by anyone in the greyhound industry, but an estimate in a paper done by Jen Krebs, Grey2K Board of Director, and Dr. Couto, a most respected greyhound veterinarian.

Those who believe today's greyhounds are in grave danger when their career is over are living in the past and getting fleeced out of their money, if they are donating to a group that is telling them otherwise. 

Today greyhound farms routinely hold a few crates for adoption dogs. Relationships have been forged between adoption groups and farmers in the Midwest and those farmers will hold dogs at no cost until those dogs can be moved into adoption. It may be as little as a few days, or a few weeks, even months but farmers do it because adoption is important to them. It is one of the ways they help out.

Greyhound farmers don’t have time to hit the keyboard to try and defend themselves from the Grey2K’s of the world. Greyhound farmers have to tend to their dogs 24/7/365. There are no holidays, there is no taking the day off because you are sick, there is no not going out to take care of the dogs because it is below zero and snowing. Greyhound farmers are doing the real work for the greyhounds, they are the greyhound keepers, and they are the people that make the greyhound what it is today.

Unlike the promoted, self-interested myth, your greyhound pet was not an abused and neglected creature magically transformed into the loving pet that resides in your house because Grey2K waved its magic wand and threw some fairy dust in the air. The process that made your dog who  s/he is today started from day one on the greyhound farm. The dogs are handled and cared for and romp and play in their runs with their littermates. 

Farmer walking with pups
Greyhound farmers are just like everyone else in many respects. They get married and have kids and those kids go to school just like yours. Those kids play basketball or soccer or golf and do the same things your kids do. The one difference is the greyhound farmer’s children get to play with greyhound puppies and that is something that will benefit the greyhound later in life when s/he becomes a pet.

Sometimes the transition from track to house pet can take a bit of time, because you have rocked your greyhound’s world and s/he is in a strange place with strange people without friends or a familiar routine. However, the true greyhound goofy, playful personality developed at the farm will come out in time. 

There is an old saying “believe what your eyes tell you” and if you think back to the 1980’s or before and think about how many greyhounds you saw walking around your city or town you will probably say I didn’t see any. Now think about the last twenty or twenty-five years and you will probably say I see greyhounds being walked or running in a park quite often. Greyhounds seem to be everywhere.

If you believe what your eyes tell you then it makes sense that the greyhound is getting adopted at a very high rate today.  What was the fate of a greyhound before the 1980’s is not what it has been in the decades since.

It is not uncommon for a greyhound hauler with space in his truck to take adoption dogs at no charge in the direction he is going. It is not uncommon for a kennel owner or farmer to haul some of their dogs from one place to another and take adoption dogs as well and drop them off on their way. It’s not uncommon for the National Greyhound Association or American Greyhound Council to pay for a haul of dogs to a part of the country that has trouble getting greyhounds to adopt out.

What is uncommon is for Grey2K to pay for anything that has to do with adoption. Grey2K doesn’t pay; they want you to pay. Grey2K will show a dog on their Facebook page that is looking to be adopted, but they aren’t donating to help that dog, that is what you are meant to do, separately. You donate to them, they take. 

There are hundreds of greyhound adoption groups in the United States, some pro-racing, some anti-racing and the rest neutral. Most do a good job of adopting dogs out, however none of the dogs are in need of rescuing. They are waiting for a home and were in no danger at the track. Today ever track has an adoption group or groups that they work with and most, if not all, tracks provide space and crates for the dogs waiting to be adopted out or moved to another adoption group.

Many anti-racing adoption groups do a disservice to people adopting their dogs by not providing the dog’s racing name or acknowledging the dog has been adopted on the Greyhound-Data web site. This is done to make it appear that the dog has “disappeared”. Call or email the National Greyhound Association with your dog’s tattoo numbers and they can provide you with your dog’s racing name.

Because of the combined efforts of the greyhound industry, National Greyhound Association, American Greyhound Council and the hundreds of adoption groups that work tirelessly adopting these wonderful greyhounds out, greyhound adoption really is:



Saturday, July 8, 2017

West "By God" Virginia!

The greyhound community had some pretty high hopes that the GOP with its "Jobs" Agenda would support the racing greyhound community, that their jobs, 1700+ jobs in West "By God" Virginia, wouldn't be under attack. Boy, did we get it wrong! Thank God that the Democratic Governor, Jim Justice, and others understood what was at stake and he got it right!
Photo courtesy of the Governor's Office &
WV Metro News

Governor Jim Justice vetoed the decoupling bill that would have killed thousands of jobs, displaced thousands of dogs, and wrecked families. He said,
“If we get rid of greyhound racing it will mean job losses and fewer people coming to West Virginia,” Justice later stated in a release.
Eliminating support for the greyhounds is a job killer and I can’t sign it. The last thing we need to do is drive more people out of West Virginia. We can’t turn our back on communities like Wheeling that benefit from dog racing.
Greyhounds are born runners, and I hope to keep them running in West Virginia for a very long time.We can’t turn our back on dog racing in WV!”
He also questioned the legality of the Legislature unilaterally decoupling West Virginia casinos and race tracks because counties authorized gaming and racing as a package deal.

At this time, we want to offer our thanks to Governor Justice and all those who supported West "By God" Virginia greyhound racing in its time of need.


Yours in greyhounds....

Monday, February 27, 2017

In Answer To...

This comment has been removed by the author. on Greyhound Racing -- The Truth. A journey from anti-racing to pro-racing.

That's what showed up on this blog, sometime back, when the author was called on a bizarre statement. Anyway, it prompted me to write this...

In response to: "I have had 3 off the track Greyhounds.... LOVED them. One of the owners slept with them when they had puppies and continued to do so for some time. Their conditions were pristine, clean and they had the best meat for meals. They were very cared for. This is of course my only experience. I have heard of other. It is also my understanding that the industry is loosing money which may put a natural end to it in time. by Nancy Lovell."

How wonderful you have this lovely bit of information about your hounds & how they were treated and loved as puppies!  I am so happy that you recognize the truth!

In response to: "Two dogs is a tragedy. It is not even a drop in the bucket to the numbers of healthy pups that get put down each year because they aren't race quality. By all means raise Cain over these two, but don't pretend this is some great tragedy for greyhounds. by Anonymous"

Anonymous...  Why not post your name?  What are you afraid of?  Anyone who stands by their convictions should have the backbone to post their name.

That being said, do you realize your claim makes no sense at all? It takes thousands of dollars to breed a greyhound litter and raise it properly.  Thousands...

There's getting a classy bitch (female dog) and they're not cheap. Then, there's testing to ensure they have no communicable diseases like brucellosis. A "cheap" bitch costs anywhere in excess of $3500. After getting her, there's the costs of feeding & vetting her until she comes into season and is ready to be bred. Have you priced a good dog food lately? A good, base kibble is about $35/bag...  wholesale. A 65 pound hound can go through a lot of kibble in a short time. That's just kibble. There's not even considering the cost of beef, vegetables, vitamins, and whatever else the kennel boss decides is appropriate for them to eat. So now, you have a fat & sassy greyhound ready to be bred.

An appropriate stud dog has been chosen and you talk to the stud owner. "Hey Barney! I'd like to breed Gypsy to Gadabout. How much?"

"Well, George, you know that Gadabout is a hot sire. He's produced a lot of fast running dogs and a couple of stakes winners. Right now, he's standing for $5,000."

You agree to the price and then you run your girl over to the canine insemination veterinarian. Yep.  Most greyhound breedings in this day and age are done by artificial insemination. That means progesterone testing, usually around $65 each and there's usually a minimum of 4. Then there's the insemination for a hundred or so. The actual breeding is the least expensive part of this venture so far!  So, before the puppies are even conceived (there's always the possibility of a "miss"), a greyhound breeder has invested at least $9,000.

So, let's say the breeding takes and 63 days later your girl goes into labor. Uh oh...  stuck puppy.  Off to the doc! Uh oh...  she needs an emergency c-section.  Thankfully, all goes well and you get a litter of 6 puppies. The cost of the c-section?  $1,500.  It's a holiday weekend after all.

Beginning around week 5, those little beasties are being weaned by their momma. That means dog food... lots of dog food...  A litter of 6 puppies goes through 40 pounds of dog food in a week. It's incredible how much those little buggers eat. A tray of good vaccine costs about $120 for 25. Pups get their first DHPP at  8-9 wks and then 2 more over the next 6 wks. Most states require a rabies vaccination to be given by a veterinarian at 13-14 wks of age. That's another $120 for shots. Then there's the cost of worming. A bottle of Panacur is $140.  Then, gotta start them on heartworm meds, another $50. So, by the time they are 4 months old, there's another $2,000, excluding the cost of the food ($350).

The $160+ a month in feed goes on for the next 10 months, easy. Barring any accidents, that's another $1600 added to the cost of a litter. We're now up to $13,000! And, you know what, there are still 6 puppies and we haven't any idea as to their racing ability. We won't know that for at least another month or two.  Now, we start adding the costs of training.

Anyway, with at least a $13,000 investment, do you really think it is likely anyone is going to kill a healthy puppy?  If you really think that, I've a bridge to sell you.

In response to: "An adoption group is not a "shelter", not in the sense of the word that most people think. ALL retired greyhounds who are not returned to their original owners or retired for breeding, go to an adoption group (at least they are meant to). Adoption groups are supposed to be a SAFE place for dogs to go until they are adopted, not killed because they hung around too long. As a greyhound adoption person, I can tell you the only reason I would EVER put a foster dog down is if they had a deadly and incurable disease, like hemagiosarcoma or something similar. For Louise Coleman to do this is UNFORGIVABLE and she should not be allowed the privilege of caring for ANYONE'S dogs! The breeder is not at fault here, not at all. This is all on Coleman's head. I have since found out that she has been doing this on a REGULAR BASIS over many years. This just absolutely makes me sick...., by Anonymou

I have always said that bad adopters & bad "rescue" groups are the ones who truly abuse the dogs. Anonymous, there's nothing more to be said. Thank you.

Yours in greyhounds....