WATCH: In Florida, Thousands of Ex-Racing Greyhounds Will Soon Need Homes
Here’s what you can do to help.
For animal rights activists and other dogged opponents of greyhound racing in Florida, the state’s recent vote to pass Amendment 13 was a gigantic win.
Florida is home to 11 of the nation’s 17 remaining greyhound racing tracks, according to the Humane Society of the United States. It’s believed that there are approximately 3,700 greyhounds currently in racing in Florida, though other estimates point to a population nearing 8,000. The measure, which passed by 69% on Election Day, will shutter the industry by 2020, leaving thousands of dogs in need of homes.
“There is no way to know when the tracks will close or how many dogs are coming into the market, so we are sitting on pins and needles, but also quietly working to try to find new foster homes, calling vets about care packages and looking for people willing to drive vans to Florida to pick the dogs up,” Carol Becker, president of God’s Greyts, a greyhound adoption group in Orlando, told The New York Times.
Unfortunately, not all of the dogs will be able to retire from racing.
“When the ban takes place, they’re not all going to be pets,” Dennis Tyler, co-chairman of the Greyhound Adoption Action Alliance, told the Times. “I’m assuming 1,500 to 2,000 will go to race somewhere else.”
Since the ban doesn’t fully kick in until 2020, there won’t be a tidal wave of dogs entering rescue. It’s more likely that the slow phase-out will have dogs trickling in at a steadier pace.
If you don’t live in Florida and are interested in adopting a recently emancipated greyhound, Tyler suggested contacting local greyhound adoption groups. Groups around the country receive ex-racing dogs, essentially bringing them to you. To find a local greyhound rescue, HuffPost recommends The Greyhound Project Inc., which lists groups by state.
Wondering if a greyhound is right for you? Contrary to their popular belief, greyhounds are actually a surprisingly social and mellow breed, which has earned them the nickname “40 mph couch potatoes.”
“They’re amazing pets, so gentle and sweet,” Humane Society Florida Director Kate MacFall told NBC News. “They really are gentle giants.”