Amendment supporters: Greyhound racing 'outdated'

- This November, Florida voters will be faced with a choice: Whether or not to end greyhound racing.

State Senator Dana Young says it's time to end it. The Republican joined supporters at the Tampa Humane Society, which launched its "Yes on 13" grassroots campaign, named for Amendment 13 on this fall's ballot. 

"This is a great day for greyhounds and animals in the state of Florida," Sen. Young said at the event.

Young says greyhound racing is outdated.

“The sport of greyhound racing was very big in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but today, it costs the state of Florida more to regulate the industry than it takes in in tax revenues,” she said.

Jennifer Newcome, the chairwoman of the Committee to Support Greyhounds, disputes that claim.

“Greyhound racing brings more revenue into the state of Florida than any sporting team, except for the NFL team,” she said.

According to state reports, dog tracks took in half the revenue in 2016 than they did a decade before. Still, an estimated 8,000 dogs remain at the tracks.

Sonia Stratemann founded a rescue for greyhounds a decade ago. For her, it’s not about economics.

“For me, it’s the injuries. I’ve just seen so many of them," Stratemann said. "I’ve had dogs come to me with their legs dangling. The confinement is awful for me. The broken legs that we have seen are just horrific.”

Both sides of the issue are confident, going into November, that their side will prevail.

“Watching these greyhounds run is really poetry in motion," Newcome offered. "These dogs are happy, they’re healthy, they’re loved.”

If the amendment passes, racing will be phased out by December 31, 2020. Supporters of the amendment say adoption groups from all over the country will work to get the dogs adopted. 

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