(RNN) – Florida will have to find homes for thousands of dogs by the end of 2020, a side effect of a vote to outlaw greyhound racing on Tuesday.
The measure was overwhelmingly passed in the otherwise divided state, passing with 68 percent support.
It will end operations at eight tracks around Florida within two years’ time, at which point officials and animal care professionals will hope to have found homes for all of them.
There are more than 6,000 dogs at race tracks in the state, USA Today reported.
The law “allows a 26-month phase-out period for the dogs that are currently at the tracks to be placed into loving homes,” Kelly Driscoll, with the group Grey2K, told WWSB.
The group helped write the measure that the state voted on, the station reported.
“Dogs are treated very inhumanely at the tracks,” Driscoll said. “They’re left in cages for up to 23 hours a day. They suffer multiple injuries, broken necks, broken spines.”
The state director in Florida for the Humane Society of the United States told USA Today that organized adoption efforts were already underway.
“There are groups already mobilizing in other states,” said Kate MacFall. “We see this as an incredible opportunity to find homes.”
A racing industry representative, Jim Gartland of the National Greyhound Association, pledged that “we will do everything we can do to make sure that every one of them gets adopted,” NBC News reported.
He told NBC that 98 percent of retired dogs usually get adopted.
Activists are promising to ensure that.
“We’re not going to just abandon these dogs, our work is not done,” Driscoll of Grey2K told WWSB. “We’ll keep going until every dog is in a home.”