Greyhound abuse occurs around the world. Since 2008, more than thirty cases of greyhound cruelty and neglect have been documented in the United States alone. These included physical abuse, parasitic infestations, starvation, and depriving dogs of veterinary care. Worldwide, recent exposes have documented the routine killing of thousands of unwanted greyhounds. Greyhounds often exhibit signs of the neglect they endure in the industry, and overburdened rescues work to rehabilitate as many dogs as they can.
In May 2022, it was revealed that eight greyhounds linked to New Zealand’s largest greyhound breeder John McInerney were offloaded to an adoption kennel with severe signs of neglect and mistreatment, including examples of blindness, open wounds, bite marks, old injuries left untreated, lacerations, and severe worms. The next day, Newshub revealed up to 300 improvement notices were sent to “almost all” kennels in New Zealand, with failures including unvaccinated dogs, unapproved medications administered, incomplete treatment records, and an increase in dental issues.
In 2020 and 2021, GREY2K USA Worldwide documented live lure training in the four key America greyhound breeding states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Live lure training or baiting, also called "blooding," refers to the use of small animals to excite and enhance a chase instinct in young dogs. Screaming rabbits were dangled before greyhounds, dragged in front of them on ropes, or simply set loose to be attacked and killed. Twelve industry participants were observed, including a deputy sheriff and his daughter, as well as Ursula O'Donnell, who had previously escaped prosecution as part of a conspiracy to kill thousands of Florida greyhounds in 2001. O’Donnell was filmed live baiting in a field just outside the headquarters of the National Greyhound Association in Abilene. Authorities have refused to take action against any of these perpetrators.
On May 5, 2017, Florida investigators conducted an inspection of Blanchard Kennels, owned and operated by National Greyhound Association (NGA) Director James Blanchard. Blanchard initially advised his staff to refuse entry, although investigators were eventually allowed to inspect the kennels. They discovered three greyhounds with expired vaccination records and an additional 43 greyhounds missing proof of vaccinations. Blanchard was also unable to provide a kennel roster for greyhounds in either of his two kennel buildings, and could not produce dates of receipt and release, greyhound names, tattoo numbers, names of owners, names of trainers, nor the names and license numbers for those transporting the greyhounds.
In January of 2017 in South Australia, greyhound handler Tony Rasmussen was televised sexually stimulating a greyhound before a race, which resulted in a $1,000 fine.
In October of 2016, Florida kennel operator Michael Klingbeil discovered his greyhound BC Diablo Sam looking “lethargic, drawn, and dehydrated” prior to a race. Instead of seeking veterinary care or withdrawing his dog from the race, he administered his own medical care and raced the dog anyway. After the race, BC Diablo Sam was found dead in his crate. Though he was originally charged with failing to treat his dog humanely, he and Florida regulators agreed to a stipulated order in which he only acknowledged wrongfully possessing a hypodermic needle.
In July of 2016, in New South Wales, Australia, kennel operator Robert Newstead was caught on film using an electric cattle prod on a greyhound before a race, an action which resulted in a 15-month suspension.
In April of 2016, West Virginia kennel operator Taylor Jones was found keeping greyhounds in very dirty conditions. Greyhounds were sleeping in wet urine-soaked beds, and she was found to be keeping restricted medical supplies in her kennel. For all of this, Jones was given a warning.
In December 2015, ABC News broke the story that Australian greyhound breeders were exporting greyhounds to countries with no welfare standards, such as China and Vietnam. There are no known adoption programs in these countries, so this is essentially a death sentence. Since the ABC story broke, the Irish greyhound industry has also come under fire for exporting dogs to these same countries.
On March 5, 2015 in Ireland, it was discovered that farmer and dog breeder David Kirwan left his three greyhounds in such an emaciated stated that one had to be put down. Two of the greyhounds were “severely underweight,” and all three had lesions and pressure sores from inadequate bedding. Kirwan was fined €2,350, but was allowed to keep his non-racing dogs and herd of cows.
In June of 2014, Arkansas breeder Shane Vonderstrasse was found with 141 malnourished greyhounds and two dead greyhounds. These deaths occurred from a lack of food and water. In a police report, an NGA official stated that Vonderstrasse could financially support fewer than half the dogs he had. The NGA revoked his membership but refused to press official charges.
In 2011, greyhound Jack Sprat was forced to race in the United Kingdom’s former Wimbledon Stadium until his owner discovered he was blind.
In October of 2010, Ronnie Williams, Sr. was found with 37 dead and five severely malnourished greyhounds in his Florida kennel. In addition to his license being revoked, Williams was charged with 42 felony counts of animal cruelty, fined $170,000, and sentenced to prison for five years.
On March 4, 2009, during a routine inspection of Suncoast Kennel at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in Florida, an investigator found a severely injured greyhound named Dooley. The dog had an approximately four-inch open and infected wound on his neck that was dripping blood and fluid. The track veterinarian had examined Dooley on February 25, determined he had suffered a "very serious injury," and told trainer Osman Martinez to take the dog to a veterinarian immediately. Despite this instruction, Martinez did not obtain professional care for Dooley and instead treated him with unprescribed medication. It was not until state investigators discovered the dog that Dooley finally received proper medical attention. Dooley was subsequently released for adoption to Greyhound Pets of America, Florida Southeast Coast Chapter. Martinez was arrested for felony cruelty to animals. Several months later he entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the State Attorney's Office.
Read our full report “High Stakes” on dog racing in the United States (PDF)
Read our International Fact Sheet (PDF)
Colorado Courthouse News - Bill to ban betting on simulcast greyhound races advances in Colorado Legislature
Casino.org - Greyhound Racing Trainer Gets Life Ban for Bludgeoning Dogs to Death
Greeley Tribune - Animal advocacy nonprofit files complaint against Weld Sheriff’s Office investigation into cruelty case
WUWF NPR for Florida's Great Northwest - Dog Racing in Pensacola 1947-2018
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