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Putting an end to Greyhound Racing

CBS12 Investigates greyhound racing. (WPEC)

Following our CBS12 Investigates report, two Florida Lawmakers are proposing a constitutional amendment that would ultimately ban the sport by 2021.

The proposal comes in response to news stories that shed light on the treatment of these racing hounds that are dying and testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, like cocaine.

"It is clear the greyhound industry has a drug problem,” said Greyhound advocates like Carey Theil with Grey2K.

CBS12 Investigates found more than 20 greyhounds test positive for cocaine this year and 438 died at Florida dog tracks since the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering began tracking greyhound deaths in 2013.

“When you hear that these dogs tested positive and are still racing? It's horrible. It's like asking a dog to die,” said Jeri Caprio of the Horses and Hounds Charitable Foundation.

In Response, Florida Sen. Tom Lee is pushing a constitutional amendment that would phase out racing over three years and would decouple greyhound racing from other forms of gambling. Right now, State law requires facilities such as the Palm Beach Kennel Club to hold dog races in order to gamble on site – including their more lucrative poker rooms.

Theil explained it's all about money.

“This shows the trainers are putting their profits ahead of animal welfare," Theil said.

According to Lee, the state is spending between $1 million and $3.3 million of your tax dollars annually to subsidize dog racing because regulatory costs exceed revenues.

“I think greyhound racing is going to end in Florida,” Theil said. “Right now, a dog is dyeing on the track every 3 days from our perspective.”

State records show, in the past ten years, 104 greyhounds at the Palm Beach Kennel Club tested positive for illegal drugs including steroids and cocaine.

“I think the public wants to know that the gambling occurring at these facilities are fare and when you see dozens of dogs testing positive for drugs at these facilities, it is a big concern,” Theil said.

Florida is one of only ten states that still allow the sport.

Lawmakers have butted heads on the regulation of the sport for decades.

In fact, some lobbyists are circulating a bill to allow dogs to test positive for trace amounts of cocaine.

“To win a race, the greed involved by using cocaine is just ridiculous,” Caprio said.

If the Constitution Revision Commission approves the amendment to phase out the sport, it will then go before voters in the 2018 general election.

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