Famed St. Pete dog track to remain open until 2020 ban takes effect

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Racing greyhounds have rounded the tracks in Florida for decades, but they're headed for their final laps thanks to the passage of Amendment 13.

Florida voters approved the amendment by a wide margin Tuesday. It will outlaw dog racing by 2020.

"It was an overwhelming win and it just feels so good to get those dogs off the track, so we're thrilled," said Sherry Silk, CEO of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

Almost 70 percent of voters said yes to the amendment, which backers say will put an end to what they believe is a cruel practice.

At Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, they've been racing dogs since 1925.

CEO Richard Winning said, "It's sad to end the tradition."

He said racing will continue at Derby Lane until the amendment outlaws it in 2020. Winning said the 94-year-old business can survive after racing ends with simulcast racing from other tracks and card rooms. 

The racing greyhounds aren't owned by the track. The people who raise and race the dogs may lose their livelihoods.

"I think it's going to be monstrous on so many levels," said Jennifer Newcome of the Committee to Support Greyhounds, which opposed the amendment.

She believes it will leave thousands of people unemployed and thousands of dogs needing homes, or worse, having to be euthanized.

Silk disagrees.

"We've been talking about this for years," she said. "There are a lot of people to foster them if they need a home. None of these dogs will be harmed and will have a wonderful life."