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New York Times on fate of greyhounds when track closes ~DawnWatch

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Old May 6th 05, 03:11 AM
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Default New York Times on fate of greyhounds when track closes ~DawnWatch

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New York Times on fate of greyhounds when track closes 5/5/05

The Thursday, May 5, New York Times has a story on the front page of the
B section, (B1) headed, "As Racing Ends, What About the Dogs?"
Focusing on the closure of one track, it discusses the issue of
greyhound racing, but unfortunately, perhaps in an attempt to be
balanced, it tends to whitewash the industry.

It opens:
"When the news came last week that live racing would end on May 14 at
Plainfield Greyhound Park, Max Friedman did not waste time worrying. He
started working the phone.
"Mr. Friedman, who owns 45 dogs that race at the track, said he quickly
arranged for 25 of his dogs to race at Shoreline Star Greyhound Park in
Bridgeport. He found room for 15 more at Hinsdale Greyhound Park in New
"Yet while Mr. Friedman was personally relieved that he would have only
five dogs left to 'pet out,' the phrase used by greyhound owners to
offer dogs for adoption as pets, his success addresses just a fraction
of the problem: There are about 1,000 dogs that need to be moved to new

On the fate of the dogs:
"The fate of the dogs has become a pressing topic here, with some
longtime critics of greyhound racing stirring fears that hundreds of
dogs could be put to death.
"In fact, firm answers about the fate of the dogs have been hard to come
"Track officials, after initially offering little information, are
trying to calm concerns. They do not dispute that many of the dogs at
Plainfield cannot race elsewhere, but they say their kennels will stay
open until they find places for each animal, either for racing or as

"Karen Keelan, executive vice president of Connecticut Yankee Greyhound
Racing, which owns the track, said she could not release a precise
account of dogs and where they will go. She said she was still taking
inventory and dog owners were still seeking spots at other racing
What the article misses is the fate of the dogs once they stop winning
races at the other tracks. Last year, "Real Sports" on HBO did a
terrific expose on the industry in which viewers were told that a dog
who has lost a race will be described, coming off the track, as "Dead
Dog Walking." I transcribed much of the show. You'll find it on my
website at: http://www.DawnWatch.com/12-04_Anima...erts#GREYHOUND
OR http://tinyurl.com/bgkna

Keenan spoke of the "near-hysterical reaction from animal rights
advocates" and said, "We're not going to let unnecessary euthanizations
take place," adding, according to the article, that "dogs that suffer
from disabling injuries or illnesses are sometimes euthanized."
In other words, dogs, injured racing, who can no longer race, are
Amongst many quotes about how much the industry cares about the dogs,
the animal protection side of the argument is briefly presented:

"Some greyhound advocates say the industry's promises to care for the
dogs were misleading, that dogs may simply be transferred elsewhere to
be killed. They say the closing of the track provided a window into what
they call a largely self-regulating industry where uncompetitive dogs
die mysteriously.

"If they don't end up dying in Connecticut, they may die in New
Hampshire or Massachusetts,' said Melani Nardone, the Connecticut and
New York representative of the Greyhound Protection League. 'It's a
very, very shady system and it happens all the time."

You can learn more about the Greyhound Protection League, and about dog
racing, at http:www.Greyhounds.org The front page of the group's website
on racing greyhounds tells us: "Some are placed as pets, but nearly
20,000 are killed each year. The 'fortunate' ones are killed humanely.
Others become documented horror stories. But thousands disappear to
fates unknown."

Another good source of information is PETA's fact sheet on the issue,
"Death in the fast lane":

You'll find the full New York Times article on line at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/05/nyregion/05dogs.html It is terrific
that the New York Times covered the issue and gave it prominent
placement. Letters to the editor should be appreciative, partly because
studies have shown that papers, including the New York Times, are far
more likely to publish laudatory than critical letters. Our letters can
keep alive the discussion of greyhound racing and give New York Times
readers more information on the dark side of the industry.

The New York Times takes letters at

Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when
sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues
in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media
outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at

If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts, please do so unedited --
leave DawnWatch in the title and include this tag line.)


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