HB 743 protects Florida’s greyhounds from dangerous
practice of pre-game dog doping
Tallahassee, FL – Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) and Rep. Alexandra Miller (R- Sarasota) joined forces with Sen. Dana Young (R-Hillsborough) Friday to introduce bipartisan legislation aimed at banning the use of inhumane anabolic steroids on greyhound racing dogs (HB 743/SB 512)
Female racing greyhounds are routinely given injections of anabolic steroids, or testosterone, to prevent the loss of race days and push their bodies beyond natural limits. This reckless practice is outlawed in several countries but allowed in Florida. The use of anabolic steroids is one of several shortcuts greyhound breeders use to maximize short-term profits off racing animals at low cost.
The industry handbook Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound cites serious side effects including virilization and aggression, and steroid use has been shown to have a negative effect on dogs’ heart function. This form of greyhound doping via the use of anabolic steroids is linked to liver, kidney and cartilage damage, gastrointestinal problems and shock.
Rep. Smith offered comments on this legislation, stating “Greyhound racing is a cruel, but dying industry that will hopefully be phased out soon in our state. I am proud to be part of this bipartisan effort with Senator Young and Rep. Miller to ensure the humane treatment of greyhound racing dogs at all 12 of Florida’s remaining racetracks facilities.”
There are currently 19 racetracks in the United States, 12 of them here in Florida. Thousands of greyhounds endure lives of confinement at gambling facilities, kept in cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around. Many greyhounds suffer broken legs and other serious injuries, and on average a dog dies in a racing facility in Florida every three days.
Virtually all Florida dog tracks are losing money, but are forced to hold races because of an outdated state dog racing mandate. “Decoupling” laws would end this mandate, and allow racetracks to succeed or fail in the free market. Lawmakers may consider decoupling as part of the an omnibus gaming package during the 2017 legislative session.