Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent reader(s) of this blog know that our journey through this life is a crumbling, treacherous footpath up the mountainside of disillusionment to the cliff of despair...erm...we mean know that we have occasionally made light of the overlords' penchant for fleeing from reality like republicans from a library, so you will not be surprised that we were immediately attracted by this headline: Greyhound racing’s days may be numbered. May be numbered? Jeez, ya think? And where do you come down on the whole sun rises in the east controversy? Well, we've never been ones to prejudge here in the marbled halls of IM Central, except when we do, so let's give a listen in, shall we?
As part of his trip to Florida each year to watch greyhound racing, Bob Feijo was making a round at the Ebro track this past Wednesday night. The New Bedford , Massachusetts resident, who was enjoying the races with his friend’s grandson, said there’s nothing like it.The kids love to watch this,” he said. “And it’s not promoting them to want to throw away all their money. They just love to watch it. They really do.
Yeah, uh say there, Mr. Rube sir? We're pretty sure the kids would enjoy watching the dogs run around in your backyard as much as at the track, and you have the added advantage of not having to worry about them witnessing a gruesome death. Just something to think about. As for the money thing, unless you're telling them they have to go to the neighbor's and ask for dinner again tonight because you lost the grocery money, they probably have no idea it is even involved.
The same organizations are at work in Florida to eliminate the sport, which they say is a form of animal abuse. But Feijo and other greyhound racing enthusiasts beg to differ. “These dogs are treated well,” he said. “There is a 95 percent adoption rate. It’s documented.”
About that documentation Mr. Rube sir. You might not want to rely on the word of a fellow whose sole purpose in life is to convince people that the wholesale exploitation, abuse, and abandonment of innocent living creatures, commodified for the purpose of earning (no) profit for the overlords. Now that we think of it though, apparently you think betting on greyhounds is something a so called sentient being should engage in, so your judgement probably hasn't won any awards lately anyway. OK, our bad.
The most recent 2012-2013 numbers show the Ebro track lost $2.63 million on dog racing when expenses were factored in, and made $2.22 million in the poker room, for a net loss of $409,834. “Our poker room has been the bread and butter,” said Rick Hess, whose family owns the track. Hess said the track is making a slight net profit when a more than $600,000 tax credit is factored in. “On paper it looks like (the track is losing money), but we get tax credits that keeps us going,” Hess said.
Umm...Mr Hess sir? Now we're not Harvard MBA's or anything like that, but it seems to us that if the only reason your track is making a profit is that the state gives you free money, you're not really making a profit. In fact, you're leeching money away from the state that could go for other more, let's say beneficial things like lunch programs for poor kids, help with utilities for seniors, mental health programs, you know, stuff like that.
The track employs more than 100 people, and had a payroll of more than $1.4 million in fiscal year 2012-2013.
Whoa, $1.4 mil! Well, that changes things doesn't it Mr. Hess? Now, let's see, about 100 people making about $1.4...OK, if we assume everyone makes the same amount--which we know isn't true because who's gonna get the biggest piece of the pie? Why you are Mr. Hess! Yes you are! Who's the big Kahuna? Who's the big boy? But let's just play all things being equal for a moment. 100 people getting $1.4 million works out to $14,000 a year, or just under $2000 a month per person, or about $300 a week for a full time position which we know you don't have because benefits. Now, if all your workers were to quit and go down to the local Walmart they'd make about $15, 576 a year which is still a little less than $6000 below the Federal poverty level for a family of four, so, like we said, leeching money away...
Tracey and Tracee Pope of Rockmart, Georgia came to the track with their young children. Tracey Pope said they have no dog racing where he lives, and the Ebro track is the reason they come here as opposed to another vacation spot like Myrtle Beach.
 OK, we're going to let that Tracey Tracee thing go because they're probably cousins anyway, but Ebro over Myrtle Beach? We bet this guy goes to Baskin Robbins and asks for a sauerkraut sundae, right Pearl?

Prince Eric: "Isn't this great? The salty sea air, the wind blowing in your face. Aaah, the perfect day to be at sea!" Oops! Wrong Disney movie!! Our beautiful Black Pearl doesn't mind. She is on her voyage to find her prince, or princess, or a whole family of them! Yo ho! This gem has been doing great in foster. Pearl is sweet and affectionate. She is curious and ready for adventure! 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, July 18, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

We're in a kind of meta mood here in the marbled halls of IM Central this week, so instead of our usual critical exegesis of a particular overlord, we thought we'd take a step back and look at the whole fetid blister on the buttocks of polite society that is the heartless exploitation of innocent living creatures for (no) profit...erm...we mean the exciting and vibrant sport of greyhound racing.
Greyhound racing is illegal in 39 states, and waning interest and profits have shuttered racing in four others. In most of the places where it continues, track operators want lawmakers to boost or continue to boost their businesses.
Well, if by "boost" you mean continue to pour tax money down the racing rat hole while other, more needed social programs and services are underfunded, or don't get funding at all, so yeah, "boost" about covers it in the same way a shoplifter might say "I'm going to boost a Gucci from Nordstrom's."
Two tracks, one in Birmingham and the other just outside Mobile, hold live racing year-round. Each is regulated by a county racing commission rather than the state. The tracks are not required to report greyhound injuries.
Hey, come on, this is Alabama we're talking about, a state that ranks 47th on the list of healthy states. We're sure they'd require reporting greyhound injuries if so much of their time wasn't taken up  reporting their residents' deaths by heart attacks. Let's head over to Arizona and see what's going on.
The state’s lone track, Tucson Greyhound Park, holds live racing year-round. In May, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill that requires the track to report dog injuries to the Arizona Department of Racing.
What we have here is the classic good news, bad news situation. The good news is the overlords have to report how many greyhounds they injure trying to keep themselves out of the labor pool. The bad news is they have to tell the Arizona Department of Racing which is sort of like confessing a string of bank robberies to an illegal immigrant who doesn't speak English. And is drunk. And deaf.What's going on in West Virginia?
Southland Park in West Memphis, adjacent to Memphis, Tennessee, opened in 1956. The state’s only track is among the nation’s largest, with capacity to kennel about 2,000 greyhounds and an average of 6,000 races a year, many with nine dogs per field. As is standard at horse tracks, an on-site commission veterinarian examines dogs that are pulled from a race due to injury and decides when they can return to racing.
Well, unless they're dead of course. The overlords generally tend not to race them much after that. Now you might think, what about a dog that is injured and can't return to racing. Like we said, unless they're dead...
The birthplace of greyhound wagering in the U.S. nearly 90 years ago, Florida has a dozen of the nation’s 21 active dog tracks. This spring, the Florida Legislature rejected a bill that would have ended the requirement that dog tracks hold races on-site in order to keep their gambling permits for casino-style games. Lawmakers then considered and eventually also turned down a measure to require tracks to report all dog injuries to the state. Reporting greyhound deaths became mandatory for Florida tracks last year.
Now, if you're an overlord this is a very important distinction. See, if a dog is dead, well, it's dead. Inventory spoilage. Throw it out and get another, but if it's injured, that's different. People are likely to say, OK, the dog is injured, you gonna fix it?  This represents a dilemma for you because of all the hot air you expend telling people how racing is all about the dogs and how much you invest in them and how much you care for them, so these people just naturally expect that when a dog is hurt giving you its all, you would feel some responsibility to that dog. These people just do not understand greyhound racing, so it's better for everyone if they just don't know what happens to injured dogs. Actually, it's just better for the overlords. Let's move on to Iowa.
In May, Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill that will shutter Bluffs Run Greyhound Park, part of a Horseshoe casino complex in Council Bluffs, by 2016. The compromise law, similar to the one that failed to pass in Florida, will allow the Iowa Greyhound Association to continue operating a track at the Mystique Casino in Dubuque.
 And this is why they say Karma has no menu, you get what you deserve. The Iowa Greyhound Association is going to operate the track in Dubuque on their own dime. No subsidies. No tax breaks. No free money from anywhere, just them and the four people still interested in greyhound racing in Iowa. What can go wrong? Next up, Texas.
Gulf Greyhound Park near Galveston is the state’s only track with live racing, though two other tracks that normally only offer simulcast racing have recently been allowed to hold brief, one-time-only meets.
OK if you can hold "brief one-time-only meets" plural, doesn't that kind of contradict the idea of one-time-only? And what's "brief?" Do the dogs run in their underwear? We're confused. What about you Lester?

I am a joyful and happy boy. I love to play with my toys and meet new people. I love to go for walks and I am learning to do better on the leash. I get along great with all size dogs. I do not mind being in my crate. I am housebroken. 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, July 11, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

You know, say what you will about the overlords--and we always do--they've never been a group of alleged people who let a little reality interfere with their belief that if they just hang on a little while longer, if they just kill and maim a few more dogs, if they can just convince a few more legislatures to keep pouring money down their rat hole, that we will eventually make contact with an alien race who thinks that exploiting innocent living creatures for (no) profit is an acceptable activity for a sentient being. Of course this will be a race of lizard people who will eventually enslave the overlords and send them to the lithium mines on Delta Vega, but in the meantime, Money!

Take Stocky Hess, Ebro Greyhound Park president for example.
Greyhound racing will continue at the track in Ebro despite predictions from some racing experts that it is a dying industry, the track president said Wednesday.
"It's not like we have a lot of options here," Hess said. "Have you looked at the job market lately? Outside of bear baiting and dog fighting, not a big demand for our skill set. Working in a slaughter house maybe, but you need a lot of training for that, don't you?"
The owners of many tracks — along with ghost tracks that now offer only simulcast racing — are aiming to survive long enough for states to let them drop dog racing altogether and just run casinos.
"Our first concern is always the welfare of the dogs," Hess told reporters. "If we can just keep enough of them coming to the tracks to replace the ones we've injured and killed until we don't need them anymore, then you can do whatever you want with mean then we'll work tirelessly to see that they are adopted into loving forever homes."
Revenues from live greyhound racing have been declining over the years, but track officials say revenues from simulcast racing and poker have eased the sting somewhat. Track owners have long wanted to be allowed to install slot machines at the tracks to bolster their revenues.
"It'd be great if the tracks could just dump these losers, then they could attract some people with real bucks," said Marc Dunbar, a Tallahassee attorney whose practice focuses on gaming and government law. "I mean, have you seen the rubes that bet on greyhound racing? On any given night there might be 15 people in the stands, and only four teeth in the whole group, but you walk into a casino and it looks like an AARP convention. Those blue hairs with their late husbands' insurance--that's where the money is, man."
Some dog owners and trainers say they favor slots going into the tracks as long as the law would require the tracks to continue to have dog races. In fact, they said the slot machines could bolster attendance at the track and the greyhound races.
"Think about it," said Teresa Duncan, who owns several dogs that race at Ebro. "Would you rather be in an air conditioned casino, sitting down at your favorite slot machine with your roll of quarters, or whatever while a server brings you drinks, or stand around outside trying to figure out how to read a racing form, watch a 30 second race, then stand around for a half hour waiting for the next 30 second race? It's a no brainer."

Joe Watson, a trainer of dogs that run at Ebro, said he is concerned about the future of dog racing. “I’ve got over 100 greyhounds,” he said. "If they end racing those dogs will be totally worthless. How am I going to recoup my investment? Oh sure, I could sell them to the Chinese for pennies on the dollar, but I'd still take a bath. Uh...I mean, how will I ever find that many greyhounds loving forever homes."

Well now, see Ivy? That's the kind of commitment we've come to expect from the overlords. We don't know why you were so worried when your career ended. 

Sweet-natured little Ms. Ivy enjoys being with people whether it's time to play or time to relax. Did someone mention getting out the squeaky toys and a ball or two? Ivy never misses an opportunity to have fun, and will need a home with a 6' fence so she's not tempted to find fun outside of her yard, and even helps tidy up afterwards by taking all toys to her bed. R&R time is good too, best done with her close by--naturally-- since you never know when something might come along which would require some needle-nosed attention. Great company, that's our Ms. Ivy!! 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.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Hounds Home For The Holiday

Every once in a while it occurs to us here in the marbled halls of IM Central that we have done things more than once, and no, the staccato nature of our memory is not due to the long term partnership we have with our blogging partner, Mr. Stolichnaya, or maybe we should refer to him as Dr. Stolichnaya because he is just the prescription for getting along in a country where abstract legal entities are free to worship as they see fit, (we're guessing worshiping Mammon fits them nicely) but living, breathing actual humans who happen not to have a y chromosome are more regulated than guns in Georgia. See what we did there? We call him Dr. Stolichnaya because he prescribes. Play on words. We crack us up.

Where were we? Oh yeah, traditions. OK, since anything we consciously do more than once around here we consider a tradition, and since we plan to spend the actual holiday cowering in the bathroom with three very nervous skinny dogs while our neighbors reenact the barrage of Fort McHenry, we thought this would be a good time to bring back Hounds Home for the Holiday, or as we like to call it, H3.

And this is a very good day to do an H3 too, because we just found out overlords have feelings! Now we always knew they were capable of exhibiting previously unrecorded levels of greed and callousness, but we never really considered those actual feelings. Now we find out that overlords have feelings just like you and those feelings can be hurt.

First a little back story. A few weeks back the overlords closed down a kennel in Arkansas and gave the owner the boot. A bunch of were evacuated from the kennel. Holy Crap, you're thinking, the overlords acted in the best interest of the dogs? Well, maybe, maybe not because instead of sending the canine refugees to forever homes, they sent them to auction. This prompted well known animal rights wacko Carey Theil to question whether the overlords really had the greyhounds' best interests at heart, or whether it was just a question of some money needing to get from where it was into someone's pocket.

Now we have to tell you that overlord Gary Guccione was shocked we tell you shocked that Theil would question his motives and so he took to the overlord website to express his dismay.
When the National Greyhound Association (NGA) evacuated dozens of neglected greyhounds from an Arkansas farm in May and later banned its owner from greyhound racing for life, greyhound welfare advocates around the country applauded. At least, the real greyhound welfare advocates applauded. But not Carey Theil, Grey2K’s top mouthpiece. Instead, Theil condemned NGA’s humane intervention.
OK, but to be perfectly clear there Mr. Guccione sir, he really didn't condemn your intervention, he condemned the fact that you sold the dogs you took off the farm to the highest bidder. You kind of left that part out.
Animosity is surely what drove Carey Theil to condemn NGA for “not pressing charges” against the Arkansas breeder, knowing full well that only the county prosecutor had the authority to do so.
Yeah, except you told the prosecutor not to press charges and said you wouldn't cooperate if he did, so that sort of tied his hands, you know? We're not certain, but we think that's what Theil was upset about.
It was certainly “promoting hostility” when Carey vilified NGA for offering 21 of the evacuated greyhounds at auction, despite the fact that this was required under Kansas lien laws.
Umm...about that "lien" G. You never really explained what that was about, produced the actual document, or clarified how a legal contract between two people who aren't you meant you got to insert yourself into the situation and sell the dogs. Enquiring minds want to know!
The FBI defines hate groups as those whose “primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility and malice” against people of a particular race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or other “immutable characteristic.” Although the Grey2K attacks on greyhound racing aren’t based on any of those “immutable characteristics,” they are certainly filled with animosity, hostility and malice.
OK we think you just said this is how the FBI defines a hate group, but Grey2K doesn't do that, so they're not a hate group as defined by the FBI. Uh...Thank you?
For instance, one Grey2K supporter posted this response to news that a long-time NGA member had died: “I’m sure there’s a special place in hell for him.” A follow-up comment expressed the view that the deceased man’s family members would likely join him there.
 Not really following your thought here big G. How does the opinion of one person commenting on a Grey2K site relate to selling dogs you don't own? Besides, if you want to talk about inappropriate, we've got two words for you, Rory Goree.
Grey2K calls it “education.” We call it “hate speech.”
Hmmm...You might have a point there G2.When people see innocent living creatures treated as commodities, put knowingly in harm's way, mistreated and abandoned when they no longer perform...well, they hate that stuff, so if they talk about it. We guess you could call that hate speech in a way.
It’s not about the greyhounds. It’s about the money.
 Again, just to be clear, you are saying that to attack Grey2K and not because it's the industry motto, right? Which way did you take that Abby?

Abby is a very sweet young lady that just wants to be loved. Is that so wrong? She is shy but not afraid to lean into the people she loves. This sweetheart gets along very well with her foster sisters and brother. The kitty was a different story the first few days despite the fact she's a gazillion sizes bigger. Can you say petrified? Gentle is her middle name. Who has love enough to fill this young girls heart? 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.