|Newsletter, SPRING 2011:
Wow what a winter!
It is April and officially spring, but winter is still lurking outside
in the damp days and chilly nights. The greyhounds here are frisky!
They have discovered their abilities to dig holes! Something that
doesn't thrill us ... but they do really delight in it!
We are in extreme need of homes without cats! We have some of the best
looking, well mannered, charming boys of all time but they aren't
cat-safe. Please consider adopting or fostering one. Many others are
waiting for their chance to grab the life preserver, so please, you
know you're used to having two or three or that you haven't fostered in
a while, so extend a helping hand now.
If you've kept up on greyhounds news, you know that things are
happening all over the country that could add to the number of
greyhounds in need of a safety net and somewhere to go. Your help
is needed now!
THE GREAT AMERICAN GREYHOUND GARAGE SALE....yes, we're having one but
as I write this I'm not sure where or when...we have a couple of
options. After last year's sale being so much bigger than expected, we
will be selling trash and treasures for at least two days - maybe
three. SO SAVE YOUR STUFF!
Mark your calendars for October 8, 2011. That will be this year's
Greyhounds,Glamour & Golf! Such a fantastic day of good food,
great music, golf if you choose to and lots of greyhounds! More info
will be available soon.
NEW SHIRTS! Please check out our new heather gray T-shirt with purple print, "Refuse to Loose Adopt a Greyhound (it's a win-win)"
ANIMAL RESCUE SITE: SHELTER CHALLENGE...VOTE USA DOG! The latest
campaign began April 4 and runs through June 19. Please vote for us.
The prize would buy foster food! Vote for - USA Defenders of
Greyhounds Carmel, IN
GREYHOUND ADOPTER REMINDER: When you adopted your hounds from USA DOG,
you signed an agreement to keep a collar with tags, including an USA
DOG tag, on your hound at all times! Some of you seem have forgotten
that simple step to ensure the return of your hound in the event of an
accident. MOST GREYHOUNDS GET LOOSE FROM THEIR HOMES, those with
tags are typically returned to their families. The reality of it is
that if not killed by a car or truck, with proper identification will
bring your hound home to you! If you have lost or misplaced your USA
DOG tag, please let me know and we can replace it. As the weather
improves and more and more greyhounds suffer from that dreadful disease
... Bunny Fever ... we have to step-up our precautions to keep them
safe. Spring is all about the chase! So get those collars back on them
as you agreed! That will be just one more thing for which they will
STORMS, STORMS AND MORE STORMS! Have you ordered your Thundershirt?
These really help calm down nervous or anxious dogs. The greyhounds
seem to enjoy wearing them! Please check them out in our PRODUCTS
KEEPING IN TOUCH: If you have a new email address please let us know!
Or if you move or change phone numbers, send us an email to help us
help your info current. This is especially important in the event that
your hound becomes lost. Remember those USA DOG tags, people DO
CALL when they see those tags and we need current info to be able to
contact you as quickly as possible!
Keep your eyes on Florida, Arizona and Iowa; greyhound laws are on the edge of major changes ... GOOD CHANGES!
Hugs those hounds,
Newsletter, Fall 2010
So much has happened since I posted the last Newsletter. I had such
good intentions of keeping up to date and current, but we all know what
has been said about good intentions!
USA DOG has been busy. The Great American Greyhound Garage Sale
in June was a success. Who knew we would get so much stuff donated? We
needed three days instead of one to really sell it all! Deb, Jan and
Don continued with smaller sales throughout July & August, and
presented us with a check for $1000.00! Our two days were fun, and I
swear, gently used toys, clothes and appliances bring out the KID in
people you might think were never children! So many laughs and giggles
for a good cause!
Now we turn our attention to the GREYHOUNDS, GLAMOUR & GOLF
on October 23. As our primary fundraiser this isn’t just another
fantastic time to be had by all, but it is what keeps us going in the
coming year. Please check out the info and if you can’t attend or
donate something for the Silent Auction or golf prize, please order an
event shirt or send a donation!
We’ve had an expensive year with numerous surgeries; some track
rot, additional medications as such, so we are running on fumes!
We’ve placed a good number of Angel Dogs as well as finding some
really great new homes. We’ve also placed a third, fourth or
fifth hound with some of our families and in one case, have now placed
with the next generation of adopters. We even have one living in El
Salvador! I hope to have Holly’s story up on “Our
Companions” page of the website soon.
Many tracks have closed; some forever and some with shortened seasons.
It is almost impossible to keep up with the changes and charges in the
greyhound racing industry! The most amusing case being in Alabama where
the dogs were stopped from running because of an illegal
“bingo” operation in the Poker Room. Alabama has some odd
laws, (i.e. the sale of liquor) but regardless, if the situation arises
in Mobile or Dubuque, no one wants to have to choose greyhound racing
as their gaming partner! Greyhounds are four-legged bandits when it
comes to the fiscal well-being of any gambling or gaming establishment!
As the industry winds down, information is becoming more available
about what has really been going on for so many years. It is easy to
get all wrapped up in drawing lines through the names of various
fallen tracks, and focus on the number of dogs needing
transportation to who, when and where, that we can forget to stop
and think about all the dogs that raced, won, lost and died during the
years it took to win those victories.
Carey Theil of Grey2K USA, has allowed me to post his victory tribute
to the generations of Wonderland Greyhound Park dogs that lived and
died as a form of entertainment. I think he says it all and very well.
Sally Allen, President
A Final Word for the Dogs of Wonderland
by: Carey Theil, executive director, GREY2K USA
Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 16:10:21 PM EDT
On an unusually hot summer night at Wonderland Greyhound Park in July of 2002, a greyhound named Die Cut
(click his name to see the injury record) raced for the last time.
While rounding the first turn, the three-year-old black dog was bumped
by other greyhounds and collapsed, his back legs paralyzed. In the
final moments of his life, Die Cut was removed from the track and
Last week, Wonderland Greyhound Park announced its permanent closure.
There is no doubt that Wonderland - which was once the most popular dog
track in the world - had a profound effect on its surrounding community
over the past seventy-five years. In the wake of its demise,
however, we should take a moment to reflect on all of the dogs who
competed , and sometimes died, at this fabled institution.
We know very little about the greyhounds who raced at Wonderland in the
first fifty years of its existence. We know that in the very
early years, greyhounds were transported to Boston by self-professed
"dog men," who would move from track to track while taking greyhounds
with them. We also know some details of the early
champions. For example, we know the story of Rural Rube,
who was so iconic in 1939 that 1,500 people reportedly honored him at a
Copley Plaza dinner where he was given a golden collar.
But for every Rural Rube, there were undoubtedly countless greyhounds
who lived tragically short lives. Tens of thousands of greyhounds
passed through Wonderland during this period, and during these years
virtually no greyhounds were adopted when they became unprofitable or
suffered career-ending injuries. Then, in 1983, the non-profit
adoption group Greyhound Friends
was formed in Cambridge. The formation of this group, and others
like it, surely made life better for greyhounds.
Nevertheless, dogs would continue to suffer and die at Wonderland for
another three decades.
Things began to change in 2000, when a coalition of grassroots activists collected enough signatures to place a question to end dog racing before Massachusetts voters. Even
though the measure was narrowly defeated, 51% to 49%, it marked the
beginning of a broad movement to end greyhound racing in our
state. Perhaps more importantly, it also ushered in a new era of
accountability for the dog racing industry, the results of which would
ultimately help seal Wonderland's fate.
Shortly after the ballot question was defeated, the legislature passed
a new law requiring that Massachusetts dog tracks report all greyhound
injuries to the public. At the same time, the dog racing industry
began to disclose unprecedented information to the public on its
methods and operation, in an effort to defend itself from public
criticism. This included the release, starting in 2005, of videos that were filmed inside the Wonderland kennel compound.
Ironically, this footage would later appear in television ads - as
documentation of the daily confinement greyhounds endured - during the
successful 2008 campaign that ended dog racing for good.
As a result of this reporting legislation, the industries' own
self-reporting, and increased media scrutiny, we know much more about
the dogs who raced at Wonderland in its final years.
For example, we know that in late 2003 and 2004, a greyhound at Wonderland tested positive twice for cocaine. We
also know that in the Spring of 2005, nineteen greyhounds died at
Wonderland from a mysterious illness that was later proven to be a form
of horse flu that had never before jumped species.
In these final years, we also learned much more about the daily life racing greyhounds experienced
than we ever had known before. For the first time, we saw the
cages that dogs were kept in at Wonderland, thanks to photographs the
track took itself in 2006. Based on industry statements, we learned
that greyhounds at Wonderland were confined in these warehouse-style
kennels in stacked cages for twenty or more hours per day. Also
from industry statements, we learned that the dogs were fed so-called
"4-D" meat to reduce costs. This meat is deemed unfit for human
consumption and contains denatured charcoal.
Perhaps most importantly, in these final years the public finally
gained access to the first-ever reports on greyhound injuries at
Wonderland. Between 2002 and 2008, 316 greyhound injuries were reported
at the track, including 206 reports of dogs suffering broken
legs. Other reported injuries included spinal cord injuries,
paralysis, a puncture wound, and an amputation. These reports,
however, were more than just mere statistics. They brought to life the
stories of individual dogs, like Die Cut.
Over the course of its existence, as many as one hundred thousand dogs
may have competed at Wonderland. Most of them were there for only
a short time, before being sent to tracks elsewhere. All of these
dogs had names, and their own stories. Most of these stories have
been lost to time, but a few, like Die Cut, are still with us.
Wonderland will always be a part of our history as a state. It
became an institution that was ultimately ended because our values as a
society changed. Let's make sure that the when this iconic track
is remembered, the dogs of Wonderland are included in the story.
Newsletter, Fall 2009
This is our first Newsletter on our new site, which somehow made me
think about newsletters from the past. In 1988, they were cut and
pasted, typed with an IBM Selectric typewriter. Copies were snuck on
the office copier after hours; then hand collated, stapled and stamped.
So, the production of our Newsletters has made lots of changes. They
were sent only to our adopters and only made public by those who loved
or hated us.
November/December 1993 caught my eye:
Here in central Indiana, our first snow of the season
arrived on Halloween. So it is not out of line for those of us in this
area to be somewhat concerned about the severity of the winter weather
yet to come. However, my dismay about such an early snow was not shared
by any of the greyhounds here, foster or permanent residents. THEY LOVED IT!
One from Florida seem positive that the sky was falling for the first
few minutes he was outside, but then he was bumped by one of the others
and soon was ripping around the yard with no more worries about the
weather … just impressing the girls with his speed! Greyhounds
are so easy to entertain.
This has been a very busy year . Because of the increased
attention to some of the more recent industry travesties, we have
responded to over 6000 phone and letter requests for information on our
program and the standard practices of the greyhound racing industry.
Additionally, we've handed out some 10,000 info packets at various
public events. And as the year winds down, we suspect that we'll
surpass our previous record for the number of dogs placed in homes for
a 12 month period.
Of course, all of this is done by volunteers willing to donate their
time, energy and resources to help save a few more greyhounds from the
dog racing industry's current retirement program. Death. Without the
countless hours of Sharon Murphy, Diane Gamble, Nancy Wallace, Shirley
Kuzmicz and JoAnna Turpin, the plight of the racing greyhound would not
be known to nearly as many Americans. And as the saying goes, knowledge is power
… and that is what gives each of us hope for change …
change to a time when sweet greyhounds just like our own are no longer
killed; day in and day out.
Social change seldom comes in one swift swoop. Generally, it takes
years, decades, even centuries to see real, socially accepted change.
The death of the greyhound racing industry will be no different. Those
of us who prefer a day when all greyhounds are pets rather than the
tools of a trade, will find the process much more frustrating than
either those who don't care or those within the business. There will be advances and there will be setbacks; but change and perhaps even the death of this industry is inevitable.
1993 has been a year of advances and setbacks. Three tracks have
closed. Numerous others totter on the brink of failure. Attendance is
down for most, as is the amount of money being wagered. Some tracks
have attempted additional days of racing to lure in more money, while
others have gone from year-round racing to 6 or 4 months. A new idea is to add other sorts of gambling to the dog track environment. This is to appeal to those who want to gamble, but not play the puppies.
The Green Mountain Track in Powell, Vermont, opened in 1976. It closed early this year in controversy … cruelty to the greyhounds was a major issue.
Fox Valley in Kaukauna, WI, opened in 1990; it closed in August ('93) due to a lack of interest, AKA attendance.
But Waterloo Greyhound Park offers the most interesting story. It
opened October 15, 1986. The record attendance was set April 15, 1987.
It bottomed out sometime this past winter with fewer than 200 in
attendance. According to various newspaper and wire stories, the track
never closed a racing season in the black. And while I assume the
National Cattle Congress, the owner of the facility (mortgagor) is
large and wealthy, it does in fact want either a return on the
investment or the investment returned. So after a semi-dramatic closing forever stunt the last day of May this year, and a summer of posturing and politics, Waterloo Greyhound Park will once again have live races for 13 weeks beginning December 26.
Why? In order to bring in slot machines. The idea is that slot machines
will compete with the Indian gambling that is currently the
rage and doing so much damage to the Midwest dog tracks. The Cattle
Congress wanted a full-blown casino, but was approved for slots and
Ridiculous? Unbelievable? Perhaps. But definitely desperate.
So, if you were offended or sickened or angered by the idea of these
dogs running for their lives to make people money … don't spend
too much time thinking about them running for their lives as a warm-up
group for slot machines! For no longer is it enough to give up their
lives for the sake of entertainment, now they must die to pave the way to mechanical gambling devices.
I wonder how many dogs will die for each one-armed bandit?
That was November/December 1993.
Newspapers, wire services, spies, the grapevine, the telephone, that
was how information was gathered and passed along. Very few people had
access to the internet or car phones. Wow, it was primitive. And TV was
just beginning to discover the visual effects/impact that greyhound
racing stories could provide.
Today, Fall 2009, our ability to communite has in many ways surpassed our ability to think, and most certainly to behave. Three
days of “balloon boy” is getting pretty dumb. Yet, greyhound racing remains in the news:
Phoenix Greyhound Park to halt live racing December 19, 2009.
Live racing to end in Massachusetts December 31, 2009.
Tuscon, AZ track caught using illegal anabolic steroids.
Twin River Greyhound Park in Rhode Island files bankruptcy and may not reopen for 2010 season.
In 1993, two tracks closed. Since then, 26 other tracks have closed,
leaving 30 “operating” in the US and the one ghastly,
gruesome Aqua Caliente, Mexico, where they go in but they don’t
This, I guess, brings us back to change. And while no one could have
said it better than Epictetus in 200 A.D. “No great thing
is created suddenly.”
You gotta love that silly little ant with “High Hopes!”
Sally Allen, President
USA DOG, Inc. formerly known as Indiana REGAP