Victory (for dogs) at Victoryland!

We’re not ones to celebrate the loss of jobs for folks in this economy, particularly folks in vulnerable communities. But we have to say that were very happy this morning to read Grandma Advertiser’s announcement that VictoryLand is ending live greyhound racing. Evidently they relied on “bingo” games to subsidize their systematic dog torture racing, but now that the morality-loving State of Alabama police and government won’t let them run “bingo” games anymore, they can’t afford to have live dog abuse racing.

Alabama, as one of seven states where the practice is still legal, is well acquainted with the senseless brutality of dog racing. In 2007, VictoryLand’s broken heating units caused 23 dogs to die in its kennels. Last year, 32 dogs died at a track just across the Alabama border in Florida, after “an adoption operator at the Ebro dog track reported the smell of decaying animals coming from the neighboring kennels.”All this after a 2002 investigation found the remains of more than 3,000 “retired” greyhounds on a farm in Lillian.

In 2004, the Alabama legislature passed a bill that exempted racing greyhounds from existing animal torture laws (making the practice a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison). Then-Baldwin County District Attorney David Whetstone told the Mobile Register that the law is “dog-specific. There’s no doubt that it would exclude the “Gucci Law”, or the Alabama animal cruelty law, as it applies to greyhound dogs,” he said. “It effectively reduces the greyhound dog to a beast of burden… A junkyard dog has more protection than a greyhound dog under this statute.”

Look, let’s be blunt: Alabama as a whole could care less about the welfare of greyhounds. While many people are dog owners and maybe did rally to give some money to various animal shelters after the recent tornadoes, it’s just an example of the classic “we care about individual victims” (the poor homeless puppy) but ignore institutional atrocities (a for-profit dog murder-race factory).

One good example of our general disinterest could be seen back in February of 2010 when Carey Theil, Executive Director of Grey2K USA, came to Montgomery to speak in opposition to a bill expanding bingo gambling in Alabama. Theil got about three sentences out, explaining that he was against gambling because it was often linked (as it is was at Victoryland) to greyhound racing, which is cruel, barbaric, etc. At that point, Theil got cut off by a pretty hostile legislator, who informed him that his stupid blather about the poor abused racing dogs had no bearing on bingo in Alabama.

Frankly, we’re not that invested in taking a side on gambling here at LiM. On the one hand, it can be fun to gamble. On the other hand, it’s a pretty sad pathetic economic development strategy. It would be nice if our economy could be based on making something other than fruity drinks for poor ladies blowing meager paychecks in a depressing smoky rural hellhole. We’re not going to gloat over the loss of jobs at VictoryLand, but we are awfully happy that there won’t be any greyhound racing there any longer. And if that’s a loss for economic development the gambling oligarchs, that’s fine.

Here’s hoping Alabama joins the ranks of modernity by banning the practice of dog racing sometime in our lifetimes.

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7 responses to “Victory (for dogs) at Victoryland!

  1. I was happy to hear of this too, although I’m concerned about what’s going to happen to the dogs. I contacted the Montgomery Humane Society and they said they weren’t sure what Victoryland’s plans were in that respect. I’m guessing that if the dogs are still in running shape, they’ll probably be sold to another racetrack, but if theyr’e not … it could be bad.

    • Hi John –

      VictoryLand’s Racing Director Jim Gartland issued the following statement:

      ‘I have been in touch with several adoption groups, the NGA, the AGC and many owners. The great majority of the greyhounds here will go to other tracks. Every greyhound will be accounted for and taken care of properly. Plans are in place to house and care for all dogs until they have an appropriate place to go. … no greyhounds will be harmed, abandoned or anything else under my watch.’

  2. I too am glad to hear this.

  3. Thank you for posting about this good news for the greyhounds.

    While live dog racing will be suspended at VictoryLand as of June 1st, there will still be live dog racing at Birmingham Race Course.

    Birmingham is owned by Milton McGregor, as is VictoryLand, and has been struggling financially for years – see:
    http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2010/09/birmingham-race-course-robbing-peter-to.html

    And, Mr. McGregor’s trial begins June 6th.

    Let’s hope for a similar announcement from Birmingham very soon.

  4. I had an addiction to gambling. It it pathetic to lose your home, family and life. A month ago, I went to the Tallapoosa Casino….I won 800.00. When my ticket printed, it said I won $3.50 cents. Bull Shit…I know they have a serverthatn knows every spin on all machines and has a back server that confirms all handshakes with all data bases in the Indian Gaming Industry. They lied to me….I am not STUPID! I was RIPPED OFF by those SOB’S. They made nothing but excuses for the error. They said the cameras could not see my machine…WHY have security cameras. I WILL NEVER go to any INDIAN CASINO or otherwise. I was CHEATED, and LIED to. GOOD for ME; now I will always have money in my pocket. QUIT your nasty habit…..GAMBLING!

  5. The person that wrote this article is ignorant. “Alabama as a whole could care less”, bullshit.

    • The person that wrote this comment is ignorant. At least some examples were given for the claims being made, versus an anonymous ad hom that is more remarkable for its banality than it is for its profanity.

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