Sarasota animal activist protest dog track

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SARASOTA, FLA. - A few dozen protestors held signs on the sidewalk in front of the Sarasota Kennel Club Saturday.

“I don’t think animals should be used for monetary gain for human entertainment,” said Farrel Hansen from the Sarasota Animal Advocates. Hansen organized the protest and was happy with the turnout.

“We have people from Tampa, Hollywood, Florida, of course Bradenton, Sarasota and North Port.”

The animal lovers stood in front of the Sarasota Kennel Club because they believe dog racing is cruel and they say too many greyhounds are euthanized once their racing career is over.

“Once they loose the races, they die. They are not a money making machine any more,” said Carolyn Repeta.

Florida law requires dog tracks to offer a set number of dog races in order to provide other lucrative forms of gambling like poker.

“For them to have their card games, the dogs must run whether anyone is looking at it, they’ve got to run around in a little circle,” said Kathy Pelton, the Florida director of Grey2K USA, a group that advocates for ending dog racing nation wide.

Groups like Grey2K and even track owners hope Florida lawmakers will decouple dog racing from other gambling opportunities.

“It would just eliminate some of the racing requirements and we could still have other forms of gambling,” said Thomas Bowersox.

Bowersox is the director of racing at the Sarasota Kennel Club. He says they have a five-month race schedule and believes decoupling would be good for the Sarasota Kennel Club by allowing them to determine how many races they want to hold during their season.

Decoupling would be a small victory for animal activist like Repeta. She believes the number of dog races offered at dog tracks would because track owners would then be free to chose more lucrative gambling alternatives.

”They wont need the dogs to keep this building afloat and to keep it open and to get tourist to come here.”

On April 8 in Tallahassee, the Senate Gaming Committee will discus decoupling and requiring dog track to maintain records and report dog injuries which is part of SB 742.