847 Greyhounds test postive for drugs

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) -  For years there has been controversy surrounding greyhound racing and now a new study is causing even more concern for the industry and the health of the dogs.

"The fact is that drugs are being used and its huge problem in the industry and they are just not willing to change," said Kate Macfall the Florida State director of the Humane Society of the United States.

Accusations of drug use in the greyhound racing industry are tied to a recent report by non-profit animal advocate organization, Grey2K.

"We found 847 greyhound drug positives over the last decade including 8 greyhound drug positives here at Sarasota Kennel Club. These positives are for drugs like cocaine, opioids, novacane, and lidocaine," said Carey Theil, the Excutive Director of GREY2K. 

Theil told ABC7, they submitted a public records request to state departments that regulate the industries throughout the country to compile the data. He says when the numbers are dissected further, the information is even more  disturbing.

"It's deeply troubling that we've seen 71 greyhound cocaine positives in Florida. This is a serious narcotic, it's dangerous to the health and welfare of these dogs. It's obviously something that calls into question the integrity of the bets being made," added Theil. 

While Grey2k questions the integrity of the dog racing industry, racing advocates question their report. 

"Grey2K deliberately failed to mention that these test showed no major drug presence but merely traces of cocaine or cocaine metabolites, most often attributed to contact with and transfer from human handlers", wrote Jim Garland the Executive Director of the National Greyhound Association.

Garland's statement went on to say that Grey2K's report of the positive drug test figure is misleading, "To put that number into context, out of more than 6,000,000 racing starts in the past ten years a total of 847 greyhounds tested positive for drugs. That's a .0001% rate of positives tests."

But animal advocates like Theil say that, less then a ten-thousandth of a percent is too much. "Rather than express concern and fix these problems they have a million excuses," said Theil.

Representatives from Grey2K and the Humane Society of the United State were on the Suncoast, hosting a grassroots meeting about this issue.