Trial canceled for greyhound amendment suit

Breeders, trainers want constitutional amendment to be struck from ballot

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A circuit judge has canceled a July trial over the ballot language in Amendment 13, which would ban greyhound racing in the state of Florida.

The Florida Greyhound Association claims the ballot summary is misleading and is asking for the proposed constitutional amendment to be removed from the November ballot.

Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers has decided to forego a trial and instead make her decision based on legal arguments alone.

The proposal, placed on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission, would outlaw greyhound racing at dog tracks by 2020, a process known as “decoupling.” Tracks would still be allowed to operate other, more lucrative gambling activities, such as slot machines and poker rooms.

“You can lie to the CRC, you can even lie to the media,” said Jack Cory, with the Florida Greyhound Association. "You cannot lie to the court under oath without severe consequences. So we're very comfortable with where the judge's ruling was.”

The group Committee to Protect Dogs helped push the amendment through the Constitution Revision Commission earlier this year.

It’s been barred from testifying in the case but is hoping the state will succeed in keeping the amendment on the ballot.

“There's no question with what the facts are in this case, so it's a legal argument that's going to be made by both sides and the judge is going to make a decision,” said Len Collins, with the Committee to Protect Dogs. "So this is what we expected, and this is relatively typical in this circumstance.”

Regardless of how the circuit court rules, both sides are gearing up for a heated legal battle, which will likely end up in the Florida Supreme Court.