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State seeks to scuttle greyhound lawsuit

Dogs racing at The Meadows Greyhound track. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Attorney General Ashley Moody, Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration have asked a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit challenging a 2018 constitutional amendment that banned greyhound racing in Florida.

Members of the greyhound industry alleged in the legal challenge that they were denied due process after voters approved the amendment.

"This sets an extremely dangerous precedent that an individual may now be dispossessed of personal property at the pleasure of the mob in violation of one of the bedrock principles of the laws of the United States that our nation is not a pure democracy; instead it is a democratic republic," lawyers for Support Working Animals, Inc., and other industry entities wrote in the lawsuit, filed last month.

But on Friday, state lawyers asked the federal court to dismiss the case, saying the plaintiffs "cannot sue the governor or member of his Cabinet over a proper vote taken by the people of Florida."

The court does not have the authority to grant an injunction because "there is in fact no government action to stop," Moody's lawyers argued.

In addition, the state argued that gambling on dog racing is a "privilege," and not a property right, as the plaintiffs maintained.

If the court does not dismiss the case, the state asked that it be moved from the Southern District of Florida to Tallahassee.