Frequent reader(s) of this blog will recall the freshening breeze of youth that once blew across the bright fields of promise and has now become the desultory wind of disappointment pushing crumpled dreams across the blighted landscape of relentless entropy...erm...we mean will recall that for the last few weeks we have been featuring come to Jesus stories of various overlords who, at least to a degree greater than they did before, have become dimly aware that the wholesale exploitation of innocent living creatures for (no) profit is not the path to fame and riches they were led to believe it was. This week we bring you the story of the overlords in West Virginia who seem to be running out of people willing to prop up an industry that died long ago.
The arrival of slots in the 1990s was a jackpot for West Virginia’s fading dog-racing industry. As in many states, lawmakers here allowed new casinos to open only in conjunction with existing dog and horse tracks and steered a cut of their winnings to purses at the track. “It was kind of a golden age after that,” said Sam Burdette, head of the West Virginia Greyhound Breeders Association.Ah, those were the days, Sammy boy you are absolutely right. Casino operators so greedy they'd do just about anything to get at the rubes, and legislators so scruple free they'd agree to enable that greed as long as they could get at some of that sweet, sweet campaign cash. What a time, what a time.
But now, an explosion of casino gambling is strangling the greyhound industry that it once rescued. The bettors have largely migrated to the faster-paced gambling inside; the dogs are running in front of mostly empty stands, and the marriage between the bing-bing-bing and the bark-bark-bark is heading for divorce. “We’ll be done in a couple of years if nothing changes,” said Harvey Maupin, 50, a longtime West Virginia greyhound trainer who races at both of the state’s dog tracks, in Charleston and Wheeling. At one time, he and his wife, Loretta, operated two kennels with a dozen employees. Now they are down to two workers and are about to let one go.Oh the humanity! Oh rending of garments and tearing of hair! How can this be? How can a so called advanced civilization allow this to happen? How will Walmart handle the influx of applicants to greeter school? We feel your pain, Harv. Of course it's not the same as a broken leg on one of your dogs, and at least you're not going to be electrocuted by a malfunction on the track, but hey, it's all relative, right?
“People want instant gratification these days,” lamented Burdette, a retired civil engineer who raced dogs as a sideline before becoming head of the greyhound lobby. “It’ll take you half an hour to lose $50 at a racetrack. You can do it in five minutes sitting in front of a slot machine.”Yeah, uh Sammy? We understand that you are trying to convince people that greyhound racing is something supposed sentient beings with souls should engage in, but we're not sure telling them they'll lose money slower doing it is the best approach. Just spit-balling here.
“I honestly think they’re working against us,” said Rod Monroe, who raises about 100 dogs on a farm near Wheeling. “I think they want to make it hard for people to come out to see the dogs.”What Ho! A dastardly plot is afoot! It's elementary Watson. Tracks are disappearing like spit on a hot griddle all over the country, and the world. Obviously someone is behind it. We blame Obama.
Danny Adkins, a senior executive of the company that owns both the Charleston casino and another in Hollywood, Fla., published an op-ed with Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle that called for allowing casinos to get out of racing on animal welfare grounds. Adkins, in an interview, said he does not consider the racing itself to be cruel. But as the money dries up, he said, it’s fair to ask whether kennels can still afford to provide the dogs with proper care. In the op-ed, he cited the case of a kennel that falsified vaccination records to cut expenses. “When we were making millions of dollars, they were making millions of dollars,” Adkins said of the kennels. “Now I wonder how they’re paying for it.”Umm...Mr. Adkins sir? We don't mean to be impolite or anything, but we think if you reflect on what you just said for a moment, you'll find you answered your own questions, and the answer is they're not paying for it. It's kind of obvious.
“He didn’t think greyhound racing was inhumane when he was making millions from it,” said Charleston-area trainer Tim Byrnes.Now, Mr. Byrnes, we understand you're upset with the prospect of having to go out and find a real job and all, what with your lack of marketable skills and such, but if you'll just calm down for a minute you'll see the Mr. Adkins still doesn't think the commodification of innocent living creatures for (no) profit is inhumane. What he is saying is that in an industry based on money, money is the only thing that matters and when the money dries up people start to notice things. What about you Daisy? When did you first notice there was no money in racing?
I am a very sweet, playful, and overall good dog. I love to play with my toys. I do really well when I go for car rides. I haven’t tried to go up and down the stairs yet so I’m not sure about them. I am housebroken. I love to go for walks and I don’t even pull on my leash. I need a little coaxing to go in my crate but once I’m there, I’m fine. I love the two other Greyhounds in my foster home. I have seen little dogs through the fence and I am fine with them but I would have to meet one in person to see how I get along. I cannot live with kitties. I love everyone I meet and I’m not afraid of anybody. 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 and here.