Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday Hound Blogging

Regular readers of this blog have grown tired of being told they could do mean, have often be regaled with our tales of the glamor and romance of the greyhound racing industry. It seems each passing day brings more opportunity to the overlords, and the future looks even brighter.

Last year gamblers at the Birmingham Race Course wagered just over $16 million on the live races, a decline of 87 percent, according to data from the Birmingham Racing Commission. Oh sure, when you put it like that it doesn't seem so great.

Total wagering at the track, including betting on simulcast horse and dog racing, has fallen by nearly 50 percent over the same period. Come on. If you look hard enough you can find something bad to say about anything.

And attendance has fallen more than 67 percent from more than 1 million to just over 330,000. Criminy, what a gloomy Gus.

"Greyhound racing is experiencing a decline everywhere," said Steve Barham, a former horse and dog track executive who now helps run the track management program at the University of Arizona. Well sure, if by 'everywhere' you mean, like the world and stuff.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of America, which has long monitored the sport and is perhaps its most vocal critic, said anecdotal evidence indicates betting on dogs is down sharply nationwide. Well, only if by 'anecdotal' you mean everyone.

Willie Henry, a 67-year-old retired bakery worker from Fairfield, is a regular. He bets $20 to $30 a race because "you don't win nothing betting $2. Course, I don't win nothing betting $30, but I think not being able to read has something to do with it."

At the beginning of the Wednesday matinée - the only daytime live dog race during the week - just six people sat in the club-level seats, a cavernous room designed to hold hundreds of people for thoroughbred races. "Well, it's really only three," Henry said. "Those other people are homeless. They're here all the time."

Homeless, huh? You know about that, right Austin?

Austin is very easygoing and mellow. He is very affectionate and loves to give kisses. He is a mild, confident dog that enjoys laying in the “cockroach” position (on his back, with is feet in the air). He enjoys playing with toys and will gather them and put them in his crate. Austin would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children. He is good with other dogs and would probably be fine as an only dog. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

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