While banned in all but six states, competitive dog racing is still causing controversy.
Malcolm McAllister, a dog trainer who's been a part of the Florida Greyhound racing scene for 40 years, has had his license revoked after five of his dogs tested positive for cocaine.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation reported that the successful racing dog named Flying Tidalwave first tested positive for the drug back in January. The incident happened after a race at a dog track called Derby Lane in St. Petersburg.
Shortly after testing Flying Tidalwave, several of McAllister's other dogs were also tested. Dogs P Kay Sweetmissy, Kowa Wellington, Flying Microsoft, and Roc A By Sevenup were also found with cocaine in their systems. The dogs are all of varying ages, but they have brought considerable success to McAllister's racing business. Since he first arrived at Derby Lane in 2005, the Tampa Bay Times credits him with over 5,400 wins and more than $900,000 in prize money.
In response to the accusations, McAllister puts the blame on other trainers in his employ. The DBPR released a letter in which McAllister said;
"It is with great sadness and disbelief this very serious charge has been brought against me. In the 4 week period in question my name was entered 'Trainer of Record' whilst hiring a new trainer. My awareness at age 70 is at fault to where I had 4 different helpers in this time frame, one of these undesirables had to have either dropped or administered the 'cocaine'. My only plea is that it was not me."
The competitive sport of Greyhound racing is banned in every state except for Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia. According to the SPCA, more than half of the nation's active dog racing tracks are in Florida where McAllister operated.
The reasons for the widespread ban are due to the inhumane conditions racing dogs are kept in, the high rate of injury, and the bleak lives of retired racing dogs. Many trainers keep their prized racing dogs either in small kennels or dirt yards where they receive little human interaction and only the minimum amount of care.
Race injuries are extremely common, and dogs suffer from broken necks, cardiac arrest, broken legs, and spinal cord paralysis. When a dog is deemed too old or too slow to turn a profit, they're often euthanized or sold as breeding stock for the future generation of racing dogs.
The SPCA, as well as several other animal advocacy programs, are fighting to have the sport completely shut down. Their efforts have lead to significant decreases in the number of tracks and racing kennels, but Greyhound racing is still threatening the well-being of hundreds of dogs.
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