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74 greyhounds die at Florida tracks last year

Feb. 16, 2014 at 3:38 PM   |   Comments

MIAMI, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A total of 74 greyhound racing dogs died in Florida from May 31 to Dec. 31, which is about one every three days, officials said.

In Florida, race track operators are required to report to the state if a greyhound dies at a track or racing kennel -- a law that went into effect last spring, more than 80 years after dog racing became legal in Florida, the Miami Herald reported.

Grey2K, a Massachusetts-based advocacy group working to end greyhound racing, said race-related reasons were given for 31 of the 74 greyhounds that died or were euthanized in Florida since the law went into effect. Another 17 dogs appeared to have died of race-related reasons based on comments on their reports.

Carey Theil, executive director of Grey2K, said there is a correlation between the implementation of new laws such as the one in Florida and animal welfare.

"In the states where we have passed greyhound injury reporting laws, the number of dogs euthanized has declined significantly," Theil said. "In Massachusetts, the number of greyhounds that were killed dropped by 43 percent in the first year after passage of an injury reporting law."

The state is collecting information on the dogs' deaths and will take legal action if necessary, said Department of Business and Professional Regulation spokeswoman Tajiana Ancora-Brown. However, as of right now the department is focused on getting information out to tracks about the new rule.

"The department has gone over and above what is expected to try to communicate with the licensees," she said. "After we feel we have exhausted those efforts, there will be action taken to comply with the rule."

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