Once again our Florida Legislature had the opportunity to do the right thing but found a way to fail.
Since last May, over 100 greyhounds have died as a result of racing in Florida, and the tragedy is that very few people are watching those races or betting on the results. The races are held so that people can play poker or use slots due to an arcane law in Florida requiring tracks with card rooms to have live races.
This year the Senate considered a bill that would require the greyhound industry to report injuries to greyhounds as a result of racing, not just the deaths. Florida is one of only two states that do not require such reporting (Alabama is the other), and where such reporting is required, the number of injuries and deaths has been drastically reduced.
On the last day of the session, the Senate passed the bill 40-0 and sent it to the House, where Speaker Will Weatherford from Wesley Chapel refused to let it come to the floor for a vote, even though they had time for a “Greatest Loser” contest, innumerable selfies, much patting of backs, and 30-minute-long pauses with no legislative action.
They had plenty of time to make the greyhound racing industry acknowledge the injuries it causes to these magnificent, gentle dogs, but Weatherford did not allow it, and he should be ashamed.
The writer is a volunteer with Greyhound Rescue and Adoptions of Tampa Bay Inc. (GREAT).