Move to ban Florida greyhound racing may signal end to sport in U.S.

Racing will be banned in state by 2021

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 13, which bans betting on greyhound races starting in 2021.

The 11 tracks that still have the sport will be allowed to keep their more profitable poker rooms, simulcast betting and, in South Florida, slot machines. One of the tracks include the Orange Park Kennel Club, where Debbie Bell attends races.

"I think it's good for the people. More for the animals because that's what they were born to do," Bell said in reference to racing. 

Other opponents say the dogs are treated better than most pets and enjoy racing.  They said the industry supports 3,000 jobs. 

Grey2K USA, which pushed the  amendment, strongly disagrees. In a statement, the group said:

“This is a historic vote which delivered a knockout blow to a cruel industry that has been hurting and killing dogs for nearly a century.”  

Other proponents of the amendment point to the average of two deaths weekly from illness or injury among the state's 8,000 racing dogs.  

The sport remains in five other states, but may be too small to survive.

The measure was placed on the  ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, a panel chosen by the governor, legislative leaders and the Supreme Court chief justice. The commission meets every 20 years.   

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