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Investigation Reveals Live Rabbits Used in Illegal Greyhound Training Sessions

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During the course of an investigation that spanned nearly a year, greyhound protection group GREY2K USA documented illegal greyhound training at breeding farms in three states, including at a property that is only two miles from the National Greyhound Association headquarters in Abilene, Kansas.

Greyhound Racing

“Across the country, greyhound trainers are torturing small animals in a misguided attempt to fix races,” said GREY2K USA President and General Counsel Christine Dorchak. “This cruelty has been hidden from the public for decades, and must end.”

The details of the investigation and all relevant footage has been provided to law enforcement officials and racing regulators in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, Arkansas, Iowa and Florida. Live lure training is a criminal act in these jurisdictions, and is now punishable as a federal crime under the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act of 2019. It is also a violation of the regulatory code of virtually racing in every state, particularly because race fixing is implicated.

More than one hundred dogs that were bred or trained at these live lure facilities are currently racing at commercial racetracks, including thirty-seven greyhounds that are racing in Arkansas, twenty-five greyhounds that are racing in West Virginia, and twenty-four dogs that are racing in Florida.

• On March 3 and 4, 2020, a GREY2K USA investigator filmed live lure training in Keota, Oklahoma. Forty-five greyhounds were observed chasing live rabbits, and were encouraged to rip the animals apart until they were bloodied and dead. Five individuals were filmed participating in these illegal acts, including a prominent greyhound breeder and also a Haskell County Deputy Sheriff. As recently as last year, that individual was the Chief of Police for Keota.

• On June 30 and July 2, 2020, live lure training was filmed at a greyhound breeding farm in Elgin, Texas. Dozens of dogs were encouraged to chase, pin and maul live rabbits. The farm is currently owned by a third generation greyhound breeder. At least 151 greyhounds have been bred by her family since 2017.

• On July 16, 2020, another longtime greyhound breeder was filmed engaging in the training of young greyhounds with live rabbits. As many as nine dogs were encouraged to chase, pin and maul their prey to death. It’s notable that this cruelty occurred at a property that is only two miles from the National Greyhound Association headquarters, and continued even after greyhound breeders and the NGA had become aware of successful investigations of live lure training in two other states.

“These individuals should be prosecuted for this criminal and craven behavior,” said Dorchak. “They should also have their racing licenses revoked in every state, and their dogs should be disqualified from racing.”

Live lure training, also known as “jacking,” typically involves the use of small animals to enhance a prey drive in greyhounds. Young dogs are encouraged to chase, maul, and tear apart live rabbits and other defenseless animals. This may occur on small training tracks or in enclosed coursing fields. Sometimes referred to as “blooding” or “baiting,” this barbaric practice has been discovered around the world, most recently in a 2015 Australian exposé that led to a temporary prohibition on dog racing in New South Wales.

In the United States, live lure training was first caught on tape in 1978, by reporter Geraldo Rivera on the premiere episode of ABC’s 20/20. Following this groundbreaking report, US Senator Birch Bayh introduced a bill to make it a federal crime to engage in live lure training. His proposed amendment to the Animal Welfare Act never became law, however, amid promises by the industry to police itself.

Greyhound racing is a dying industry, and now only exists in a handful of states. In 2018 Florida citizens voted to phase out dog racing by an overwhelming vote of 69% to 31%. That Constitutional Amendment fully takes effect later this year. The only operational dog track in Arkansas has already announced a 2022 closure date, leaving only West Virginia and Iowa as states where there will soon be active greyhound racetracks.

About GREY2K USA Worldwide

Formed in February of 2001, GREY2K USA is the largest greyhound protection organization in the United States with more than 250,000 supporters. As a non-profit 501(c)4 organization, the group works to pass stronger greyhound protection laws and end the cruelty of dog racing on both national and international levels. GREY2K USA also promotes the rescue and adoption of greyhounds across the globe. For more information, go to www.GREY2KUSA.org or visit GREY2K USA on Facebook or Twitter.

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