Your help is needed now to pass a bill to keep dog racing out of Kansas.
In a wonderful legislative twist, a bill that was introduced to help bring slot machines to the former dog tracks of Kansas has now been successfully amended to do just the opposite! In its current form, Senate Substitute for House Bill 2055 makes expanded gambling impermissible at these locations for at least the next twenty years. Senators will vote on this measure on Tuesday, so please act quickly!
Dog racing proponents have been working for over a decade to obtain a favorable legislative vehicle to cash in and re-open their old tracks as racetrack casinos (racinos). But the passage of HB 2055 will put these aims out of reach.
Dog racing was first approved in Kansas in 1986, when voters decided to amend the state constitution to allow it. The Pari-Mutuel Racing Act was passed into law in 1987 and the first dog tracks opened in Wichita and Kansas City two years later. A third opened in Frontenac in 1995.
Even though Kansas is home to National Greyhound Association and also hosts the "Greyhound Hall of Fame," this has done nothing to save dog racing from its rightful decline. The closure of Camptown (2000), Wichita (2007) and then the Woodlands (2008), was preceded by years of financial loss and documented greyhound suffering. In its last months of operation, the Woodlands reported eighty racing injuries, including dogs with broken legs, a "ruptured chest," a dislocated spine, and a torn shoulder. Seventeen dogs died. But just last year, the legislature restored greyhounds to the definition of dogs under the anti-cruelty statute, and now we have an opportunity to make sure these gentle friends stay out of track cages for good.
Please sign this petition to remind lawmakers that greyhound racing is a dying industry and propping it up with slot machine profits will not only hurt the state but resuscitate a cruel industry.
Together, we can make sure greyhounds are protected for good.
Greyhound racing is a dying industry that is cruel and inhumane. When first introduced to our country in the 1920’s, it could not be foreseen that thousands and thousands of dogs would suffer and die. Records were not kept of track injuries or deaths, and the public could not know what really happened to racing dogs in the past.
When not racing, these gentle dogs are kept confined in warehouse-style kennels, inside small, stacked cages that are barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around. Other than for brief turn-out periods, greyhounds live restricted for an average of twenty hours per day with little ability to interact with one another. Large greyhounds stand thirty inches at the shoulder, but a standard cage size at racing kennels is just 30” wide by 43” deep by 34” high. To put it simply, this is no way to treat a dog.
The standard diet for dogs in the racing industry consists of diseased meat from downed animals. Deemed “4-D” by the federal government, this meat may not be sold for human consumption; but it is purchased at very low cost by greyhound trainers and owners. As revenues continue to plummet, it is essential that tracks and kennels keep overhead as low as possible. This suggests that veterinary care may also be subject to a cost-benefit analysis.
The decline of greyhound racing has been ongoing for years, and media outlets have long reported the spiraling collapse of this industry. Between 2002 and 2010, the total amount gambled on greyhound racing declined by 63%. Not only have humane concerns come to the forefront, but competition from other forms of gambling has forced tracks to close. The shuttering of the three Kansas dog tracks followed this trend. For example, after six months of operation in 1995, Camptown Greyhound Park was losing $250,000 a month and closed. Phil Ruffin purchased the facility and opened it again in 2000, expecting that a slot machine bill would be passed. After 74 days in the red and no slot machines to sustain it, Camptown again closed.
Please do not prop up this cruel and bankrupt industry with the stimulus of slot machine gambling. Please lend your support to HB 2055.