Judge says Committee to Protect Dogs can't fully participate in upcoming case

Case involving ban on greyhound racing set for July 26

By Mike Vasilinda - Tallahassee Bureau Chief

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A group supporting a ban on Greyhound racing lost a bid in court Friday to fully participate in a July trial. 

Greyhound breeders are arguing the ballot language voters will see on Amendment 13 in November is misleading. 

The state says it isn’t. 

But the two agree on one thing: The Committee to Protect Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to fully participate in next month’s trial. 

“It would open the door of intervention by any number of groups or persons,” said Major Harding, an attorney representing the breeders.    

In an odd pairing, the opponents sat together at the plaintiff's table in court, while the Committee to Protect Dogs sat at the opposing counsel’s table.

The Committee to Protect Dogs argued they were responsible for the amendment getting on the ballot, and they should be allowed to defend the language during trial.

“It is a major setback if we don’t get this on the ballot and if we don’t get it voted on,” said Stephen Turner with the Committee to Protect Dogs.

The Greyhound Association’s lawyers and the State said the matter is simply a question of law. What does the language say? It shouldn’t be open to emotional arguments.

“The defendants intend vigorously to defend the ballot language,” said Jason Pratt, an attorney representing the Secretary of State.

The judge sided with the state and greyhound breeders.

Despite losing their argument in court on Friday, people hoping to ban greyhound racing aren’t upset.

“That’s fine. As long as it gets appealed, it’s fine. She made a very judicious ruling,” said Turner.

The case goes to trial July 26. A ruling is expected that day.

Under the ruling, the Committee to Protect Dogs would only be allowed to appeal an adverse ruling if the state chooses not to do so. 

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.