We have received several inquiries about the outcome of the passage of Florida Amendment 13 on Election Day.
The essence of the Amendment is to prohibit wagering on Greyhound racing (not Greyhound racing itself) held in Florida. Effective January 1, 2019, tracks holding parimutuel wagering licenses may "decouple" live Greyhound racing from their license and continue to offer other forms of wagering, such as poker rooms. This means that any Florida track *may* cease live Greyhound racing as of December 31, 2018. All Florida tracks *must* cease live racing as of December 31, 2020.
It is not known at this point which tracks will choose the "early out" option and which tracks will operate live Greyhound racing until the final deadline. Some tracks, like Palm Beach Kennel Club, have already announced their intention to continue offering live racing until the final deadline. Others have not yet made an announcement, but are expected to do so soon.
Once all tracks have made their announcements, GPA will begin to have a general idea of the numbers of displaced Greyhounds -- those not going to other tracks or retained by their owners -- that will need to be rehomed and when they will need to be moved from the racing kennels to adoption groups.
Greyhound Pets of America National is currently taking the lead in organizing the early stages of the efforts to rehome all the Florida Greyhounds as they become available for adoption. GPA has already been in touch with the NGA (National Greyhound Association) and the American Greyhound Track Operators Association to begin discussions aimed at making the track closure and Greyhound dispersal process as orderly and as organized as possible.
The goal of course is to see that 100% of the Greyhounds not being moved to other tracks or retained by their owners are rehomed through established, creditable Greyhound adoption groups. The goal is that no Greyhounds will end up in general animal shelters or be euthanized. GPA believes that ultimately the adoption community working in the partnership with the racing community that has worked so well in recent years, we will make certain that "no Greyhound is left behind."
Given our organization's proximity to Florida, it is likely that we will be asked to take more Greyhounds during the dispersal period of the next two years. If and when that occurs, we will need extra foster homes. This is when YOU can help by opening your home to foster a Florida Greyhound. We will know more about what is asked of us in due course and keep our followers, volunteers and supporters updated accordingly.
What is the future of Greyhound adoption, both for GPA and across the country? Only time will tell, and there are a variety of possible scenarios. Greyhound racing will likely continue at current tracks in Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas, Iowa and Texas. Wagering on Greyhound racing continues to be legal in Kansas, and an effort is being made to re-establish racing at one or two tracks in that state.
In summary -- the passing of Amendment 13 presents challenges to track owners, kennel operators and Greyhound adoption groups alike. GPA's ultimate role in this process over the next two years is to find homes for as many Florida Greyhounds as possible. We remain committed to those Greyhounds, our future adopters and our current adopters and fosters. We will need YOUR support -- as volunteers, fosters, haulers and donors. Contact us or make a donation and help us ensure the safe future of Florida Greyhounds.