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While controversy surrounds Florida greyhound racing, the sport is quietly fading away

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PHOTO BY JEREMY REPER
  • Photo by Jeremy Reper

"It's a very low dosage," Cory says. "It's not any different than the amount you or I would get from using a nasal spray from an over-the-counter drug. They don't have anything to do with enhancing the dogs' performance. Otherwise, you'd have nothing but female dogs running."

Cory says the steroids are important to use as a sort of birth control for the dogs.

"Banning steroids is a bad deal," he says. "It's like telling women they can't take birth control."

He characterizes Grey2K as an "out-of-state, radical animal rights group" and says they don't spend time actually helping any animals in Florida. He says if they really wanted to help, they'd focus on the animals who are killed in adoption shelters rather than on legal greyhound racing. He also says Rep. Smith is simply parroting wrongheaded ideas from people he spoke to about the issue.

And he says the sport does good for Florida – it brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in revenue, he claims.

PHOTO BY JEREMY REPER
  • Photo by Jeremy Reper

But the sport can be deadly, and its darker side crops up frequently in the news now that greyhound deaths have to be reported under state law. A Naples Daily News study found that between 2013 and 2016, St. Petersburg's Derby Lane track had the most deaths in Florida, with 57 dogs having died there. Derby Lane didn't respond to multiple phone calls from the Orlando Weekly for comment.

The Sanford Orlando Kennel Club reported 35 dog deaths between 2013 and 2016.

A study by Grey2K goes into greater detail, listing the cause of death for many greyhounds in the year 2013 as an example of how they're chronicled.

"A greyhound was bumped into the rail during schooling and was electrocuted," one listing for a dog named Royal Runner at the Palm Beach Kennel Club reads, dated June 21, 2013.

Another, for a dog named WW's Key Stone who died on Sept. 14, 2013, reads: "At the end of the 2nd race during the evening performance on 9/14/2013, this dog collapsed at the escape and was gone. Dog came in 2nd in race."

And, in a recently publicized case, the Tampa Bay Times reported that five greyhounds at the Derby Lane track tested positive for cocaine in their systems. The dogs all came from a kennel owned by trainer Malcolm McAllister, who vehemently claims he didn't do it and has no idea how it had happened.

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