CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The new year marks a new era for greyhound racing. It’s now illegal in the state of Florida, where the sport first originated.
Two years after Floridians voted to end legal dog racing, 11 tracks were phased out and closed by the end of 2020, including one located in Bonita Springs.
“Everybody can celebrate the end of this cruel industry that’s plagued Florida for almost 90 years," said Kate MacFall, the Humane Society's Florida State Director.
MacFall spearheaded the efforts to legally stop racing greyhounds in the industries leading state.
“These adoption groups are all across the country to absorb these dogs and find them loving homes around the country, so the phase out was to allow that absorption and a slow phase out and that’s exactly what happened,” said MacFall.
The retired racing dogs are known to be popular and get swept up quick.
Local resident Steve Grabarczyk knows from experience after adopting three greyhounds in the last several years.
He says while some people saw racing as cruel, others disagreed and saw it as a sport for working dog breeds.
“It’s like having three children. They are the most caring and sweet dogs that I’ve ever run across,” said Grabarczyk.
From pursuing his own greyhounds, he says agencies check that your home is safe and suitable for the breed first.
They also make you sign an adoption contract, where owner’s promise to return the greyhound to the agency, and not a shelter, if they can no longer keep it.