Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Hound Blogging

We're coming to you today from the Echolalia Department here in the marbled  halls of IM Central. The Echolalia Department is a division of the Where Have We Heard This Before Corporation, a wholly owned subsidy of Talk To The Hand, LLC.

This week we're continuing our theme of overlords serving up word salads about why they shouldn't have to join the workforce so let's visit West Virginia, the state with the highest mean altitude east of the Mississippi. Yeah. That makes sense. Lack of oxygen would certainly explain this:
A number of greyhound owners and breeders Monday urged legislators to continue greyhound racing in the state, disputing a state-funded study that found the industry is in sharp decline and survives in West Virginia only because purse funds are 95 percent subsidized from casino profits.
OK, now we're not business experts or anything, but it seems to us that if you have to have someone else give you 95% of what it takes to keep your business afloat, well, you you don't have a business--you have charity case.
“In a system that has made the state a tremendous amount of money over the years, and still employs a lot of employees, I don’t think you crumple it up and throw it away,” Steve Sarras, a Wheeling greyhound kennel owner and president of the state Kennel Owners Association, told members of the Joint Committee on Finance. 
We would agree with that. Sure casino revenue fell by $140 million last year, but they still pumped almost $50 million to the state so it's...oh were talking about greyhound racing weren't you? is a little embarrassing...see, your business actually draws money away from the state because the casinos are forced to support you instead of making those funds open to state taxes. Sorry to be the ones to tell you this guy, but you are actually a drain on the economy. Don't take it too hard though. We're sure you didn't intend to spend your life leeching off other people, that's just the way it worked out.
“The state’s making money on it. The tracks are making money on it,” greyhound breeder Patrick McMillon told legislators. “To have a report out saying we’re done … I see a lot of discrepancies in it.”
Oh we're with you there overlord McMillon. We see discrepancies too. Like the discrepancy between what you are saying and the fact that the subsidy required to continue placing helpless greyhound at risk of injury and death in the heartless pursuit of (no) profit has gone from 49% of the purse to 95% of the purse. It's not the state that's making money here Mr. McMillon, it's you because of the free ride you are getting on all that casino cash. Right Adam Steinberg, senior vice president for Spectrum Gaming Group?
In the 2013-14 budget year, greyhound racing provided $1.2 million of revenue to the state, while it cost the state Racing Commission $965,000 to supervise those races, Steinberg said. “This year, the cost to regulate will exceed the revenue to the state,”
OK, let's recap. The barbaric commodification of innocent living creatures brought the state $235,000 and next year will actually cost the state money while the casinos, even on a down year, chipped in $50 million. You know Mr. McMillon you're right, there is a pretty big discrepancy there.
Sarras countered that critics of greyhound racing misuse the word subsidy to create the impression that tax dollars are supporting the industry. “Subsidy’s a word you can throw around in the media if you want to get people upset about dog racing,” he said.
Hmmm...perhaps you have a point Mr. Sarras. Freeloading off the state is certainly going to be viewed in a less favorable light than freeloading off the casinos. Well, unless you happen to own a casino, then it's pretty much tomato tomahto.
Sarras said he believes greyhound racing benefits the Wheeling and Nitro casinos, allowing them to stand apart from the two dozen casinos in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, and said he believes they would suffer as freestanding casinos.
Hard to argue with that Mr. Sarras. We mean in Ohio and Pennsylvania all you can do is go to a casino whereas in West Virginia you can go to a casino with a greyhound track attached that everyone is ignoring. OK, that didn't come out right. You got a better way to say that Brody?

My foster mom says I am a “perfect” dog. I am very well mannered. I am calm, gentle and friendly. I will approach you for petting. I love to go for walks and I walk great on the leash. I am housebroken. I have met dogs my size, small dogs and even some kitties. I get along with all of them except for small white ones. I guess they remind me too much of my racing days and the electronic bunny. I had a big outing at the recent Pet Expo. I met all kinds of people and I loved them all so much. 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.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent reader(s) of this blog know that the true measure of success is how quickly expectations are lowered to match circumstance...erm...we mean know that on occasion we like to treat you to the pensive musings of a particular overlord on the benefits of placing innocent living creatures at risk of meaningless injury and death in the pursuit of (no) profit. In that regard we would like to introduce you to  Jack Corey who is the chief (and only) lobbyist for overlords in Florida because he was the only one who would work for shiny objects. Mr. Corey has recently had his medication re-balanced and is here today to share some of what the voices in his head have been telling him about why the heartless cruelty helpless greyhounds are subjected to on a regular basis is really a good thing. Take it away overlord Corey:
Now, some of you who are less informed might have thought people went to Florida for the almost 2000 miles of coastline, or the beaches, or the temperate climate. Nope. All around the other states people would often ask "Where can we go when we want to see hapless greyhounds get injured and killed while we're losing the rent money? Oh we know. Florida!" It's right there in the travel brochures.
Just as important, greyhound racing track owners have made billions in revenue and made a big contribution to Florida’s economy over the years.
Wow, billions! Boy, we bet if you presented that in graphic format it would really be impressive. Wonder what that would look like?

 OK, so maybe not.
Well, by the looks of that graph they need all the help they can get, but here are our questions: If they're doing that poorly with protection from competition, what's the point of protection? And who is being protected? The overlords from the job market?
Right. We get that. Greyhound racing was in the tank so the state let the tracks open a new business rather than fold.
Those enhancements were added only because of the track owners’ continued commitment to their underlying business: greyhound racing.
OK, so you're saying in order to show their commitment to greyhound racing they created a whole new arena for gambling in the clubhouse away from the track that no one was coming to anyway? We don't think commitment means what you think it means.
Despite the promise to keep racing, many track owners now want the Legislature to allow them to get rid of greyhound racing while keeping the card rooms and slot machines. They want to create small casinos that will dot Florida’s landscape from Pensacola to Miami and everywhere in between. That’s despite the state’s constitutionally mandated prohibition of casino gaming, with the exception of Indian gaming controlled by the federal government.
Umm...maybe you haven't noticed but they already have the card rooms and slot machines so "create" has kind of already happened, know what we mean?
Oooo. injecting a little class warfare in there. Those evil millionaires against the poor yeoman small business persons. Elitist scum care only about making money at their tracks, as opposed to the owners, trainers and breeders who are in it for the love of the sport and of the dogs. You can tell the depth of this love by the number of tracks that have opened in states that have banned betting on live racing.
Many of our members are multigeneration owners, trainers and breeders. They love their greyhounds — and love racing.
Apparently you never met Ronnie Williams, or Ursula O'Donnell, or James "Barney" O'Donnell, or Lance LaFreniere or Nancy Guimond, or, well let's just say you need to get out more, Mr. Corey.
Asking the Legislature to end greyhound racing, or as it’s called in Tallahassee “decoupling,” is wrong for several reasons. First, it gives Floridians no voice in deciding whether they want to convert pari-mutuel facilities into mini-casinos. 
Well, like we said Mr. Corey that's already happened, and as for giving the voters a voice, it sounds like they've already spoken.
Gross receipts at cardrooms across the state rose from $2.8 million in 2001-02 to $125 million 2010-11. The state’s 10 percent tax has risen right along with it. Meanwhile, the amount wagered on horses, dogs and jai alai has seen a steady decline, from $1.7 billion in 2001-02 to $883 million 2010-11.
Have you had your hearing tested recently? Just asking.
OK, now we're beginning to think you just aren't paying attention Mr. Corey. Core operation? Dude, track owners are running away from racing faster than a republican runs from a fact checker.
Logically then, if there is no greyhound racing, why should these facilities be allowed to operate?
Oh! Oh! We know! We know! Because they are in business to make money and Honey, ain't no money in racin' dogs. Word up.
If track owners can’t succeed at greyhound racing, with a guarantee of a no-competition monopoly, they should simply surrender their pari-mutuel license to the state and give someone else the opportunity to make it a success.
Careful what you ask for there Mr. Corey. We're thinking there's more than a few track owners that would be more than happy to drop dog racing in someone else's lap and get on with the parts of their operation that can turn a profit.
Greyhound racing remains a viable form of entertainment in Florida.
Aww, Mr. Corey. You're so cute when your delusional.
The Sanford Orlando Kennel Club proves that point. With no other type of gaming, Sanford Orlando Kennel Club uses innovative marketing to make greyhound racing as popular as ever in Central Florida.
"[A]s popular as ever in Central Florida."  Which is to say not very popular at all, unless you count the homeless people who come into the clubhouse to get out of the rain.
It’s a model for the rest of the country. It just takes a desire to make greyhound racing work, and not undercut its success in order to convert tracks to casinos.
Darn straight Mr. Corey. All it takes is a desire and commitment to make greyhound racing successful. Just ask the folks in Iowa, right Noir?

Noir is a three year old female. She will need a home without cats or small 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 and here.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Friday Hound Blogging

We're pretty sure the overlords don't read this blog much. There's that whole having to put on shoes and tie them, making sure your pants are on frontwards, then going down to the library to use a computer, plus you've got the typing, the little kids staring at you and people moving away. It's a hassle, you know? Much easier to stay home and hope the neighbor forgets to take returnables out of his trash again. Occasionally though we do hear from an overlord, usually to explain to us that the reason we have trouble seeing what is plainly a fact is because we have our craniums fully inserted in our rectums. This is sometimes followed by a personal testimonial concerning how that particular overlord goes above and beyond in the care of  his or her canine charges and if we truly cared about the dogs instead of being bought off by the obscene amounts of cash we collect for being mouthpieces for the animal rights wackos we'd be down at the track with the rest of the rubes losing our savings $2 at a time.

OK so a stopped clock is right twice a day thinks us. Maybe we have been overly critical of the people who put innocent creatures in harm's way on a regular basis in the futile chase after (no) profit. Maybe if we look carefully we will see that in fact the overlords do what they say they do. Maybe it's all just bad press, a vendetta by the animal rights wackos because they are jealous of the overlords, their talent; their prestige; their glamorous lifestyles. Maybe we should stop having Stoli for breakfast.
The Mayhew Animal Home, a rescue organization in London, is searching for someone to adopt Kiddo, a greyhound whose owner gave him away when he was no longer of any use.
Now, one way of reading that sentence is that Kiddo was given up when his owner was no longer of any use--which would make a lot more sense--but we're pretty sure it's the dog. But look, we don't know the details here. This could be a very complicated situation. There could be many reasons Kiddo "is no longer of any use." Maybe he was a therapy dog and the local hospital closed. Maybe he was a service dog and his owner had a miraculous recovery. We're sure there's a logical explanation.
Greyhounds can live well into their teens, according to the ASPCA, but are often retired from racing after just a few years old. Afterward, they are euthanized, sent to breeding facilities or surrendered to shelters.
 Well that is sort of logical because when greyhounds retire from racing, they're pretty used up, right Coach Hero?
According to an analysis by GREY2K USA Research Director Matt Read, greyhounds routinely race on little rest at the Mexico track. For example, a dog named Coach Hero has entered in a shocking 413 races since 2011. Nearly half of his races occurred after he received only a single day of rest, and nearly three-quarters of his racing starts occurred after he received two days or less. An examination of other dogs competing at the track shows that Coach Hero isn't the exception. When it comes to racing on little rest, he's the tragic rule.
 But you know, it's all good because the dogs come off the track and those that aren't killed head off to a new life as pets. They have a great career to look back on and a carefree, comfortable healthy life ahead of them. No harm no foul, yo?
Racing dogs on little rest is inhumane and irresponsible. It increases the risk of injury, and can cause a disorder named exertional rhabdomyolysis, in which skeletal muscles begin to break down. According to industry handbook Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound, this disorder appears in overworked greyhounds, which it defines as "two to three races or trials per week."
Oh. Umm...OK, we're going to need one of you overlords to borrow bus fare and get down to the library so you can tell us again how much you care about the welfare of the dogs and what a great job you do taking care of them. What's that you say Maxim? Don't hold our breaths?

Maxim is a three year old boy will need a home without cats or small dogs. 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.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent reader(s) of this blog sense in the bright, crisp days of fall another year slipping away and the slow, inexorable darkness of winter spreading across the scowling horizon like the raven-black wings of death...erm...we mean will recall a few weeks ago when we "chortled in our joy*" at the impending demise of Gulf Deathcamp for Greyhounds. As this week has seen no overlords go to jail, nor has it seen anymore greyhounds turning up with illegal substances in their bloodstreams--although admittedly the week isn't over yet--we thought we'd take a little trip down to the Lone Star State (Motto: We aren't stupid, just under-medicated)  and check in on how the overlords were dealing with their own personal version of the end times.
Dead insects decorate cobwebs draping from aged, teal-colored chairs in a sea of stadium-style rows. Most of the chairs are empty. A smattering of onlookers clutch betting cards.
Whoa! Now, we have to tell you gentle reader(s), we were awake in English class the day they talked about foreshadowing and when you open with dead insects and cobwebs that cannot be good.
In August, the park announced it would cease live racing effective Jan. 1. The first floor will remain open for those who want to bet on simulcast races.
Yeah, that's sort of like saying, "We're closing down but we'll leave the door unlocked in case you want to get in out of the rain or something. Watch our for the rats though."
The park's management and city officials seem uncertain about the facility's future.
Really? You're probably the only people who are. The rest of us are all like stick a fork in it brother man 'cause it is done.
"Our city coffers will feel little to no effect from the partial closure, since GGP has been on the decline for many years," La Marque Mayor Bobby Hocking said.
"That dump hasn't made a buck for the city in over 15 years," Hocking said. "We get more from parking meters than we ever got from idiots who bet on dog racing." Now, now Mayor Bobby, let's not disparage the voters. After all, some of those idiots who bet on dog racing probably voted for you. This is Texas after all.
"It's an economic engine," Jimmy Hayley, president of the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce, said of the park. Hayley said it's the small things that make the park important, like jobs created for people like his grandson, who helped lead greyhounds out to the starting blocks during summers.
We see. Apparently you don't talk to the Mayor very often Mr. Haley. Or perhaps you should quit going to City Council meetings drunk because it looks like your economic engine is missing a few pistons.
In August, Nick James, former executive director of the Texas Greyhound Association, claimed the closing will eliminate between 250 and 300 jobs and 11 nearby kennels. Calls to nearby kennels found otherwise, as many denied knowledge or involvement with the park.
"Holy crap is that place still open?" said one incredulous kennel owner who asked not to be named because his family thought he was a used car salesman. "I thought in closed down years ago."
Like previous Texas tracks that closed live racing (Corpus Christi in 2007 and Harlingen in 2009), the La Marque facility will have something to offer gamblers with the simulcast races. "They're gamblers, they gamble," said Sally Briggs, the track's general manager, who suggested that regulars would continue to frequent the park.
"Besides, what else are they going to spend their Social Security checks on? Food? Rent? Have you seen these people? They couldn't win a game of checkers if they played a jellyfish, if you get my drift bless their little hearts." We're providing a real service here, keeping them off the streets so they don't wander out into traffic."
Some onlookers told a different story. While they reminisced about days when the atmosphere of packed races rivaled that of any sporting event in Texas, some admitted they didn't plan to come after live racing ends.
"Why should I come all the way out here to watch racing on the tee vee," said one patron. "I'll just stay home and watch  it on my own set soon as they tell me what channel it's on."

Well all righty then.  Maybe Ms. Briggs was on to something when she said the park was keeping these people off the street. What do you think Wilson?

This senior gentleman is looking for his forever retirement home that will spoil him rotten! Wilson can live with small dogs, but not cats, and can be 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 and here.

*Just trying to culture up the place a little. The neighbors were beginning to complain.