Sarasota track prepares for final greyhound races

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At the Sarasota Kennel Club, it's a race to the finish line. 

"We've been packing everything up and transferring dogs to adoption groups and transferring racers to new destinations," said kennel owner and trainer Debra Linn. 

Linn has been preparing herself and her greyhound dogs for their final race on Saturday. 

"It's boiling down to this is the end of my life. I don't' know what I will do," she continued. 

Amendment 13, banning live greyhound racing in Florida, passed last fall with nearly 70% of Florida voter support. Tracks can keep greyhounds racing until the end of next year, but with the end of their season and the availability of dogs running out, Sarasota Kennel Club decided this will be their final run. 

"I've been here most of my life and it’s kind of a sad deal, but I guess it was the wish of the people. So here we are. There’s not much we can do when the people vote," said Thomas Bowersox, the director of racing. 

Bowersox said the club has been around for 75 years. They'll still have televised racing, but once live racing is finished, many of their staff will be out of a job. 

"I'm sure it’ll be close to 100 that’ll lose their jobs, positions," he said. 

Animal advocates came out in full force for the amendment. Sherry Silk, the president of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, said dogs were mistreated. 

"Do the dogs like to run? Of course they do. They’re greyhounds. A lot of dogs like to run. They are not a pet. They are not well cared for. They are forced to run in the heat and in any terrible weather conditions," she said. 

Linn said that's not the truth. 

"They’re well taken care of. A dog that’s not taken care of will not race," she insisted. 


That argument is over now. And so is greyhound racing in Sarasota, come Saturday. 

"I think the Florida people meant well. I think the activists kind of went over their good hearts and ruined it for everybody," Linn offered. 

The Sarasota Kennel Club will still be open with the poker room and televised races. Saturday's final races start at 12:30 and go until 6 p.m.