WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — A bill banning anabolic steroid use by racing dogs could bump the already troubled industry off track.
Florida is one of just six states left in the U.S. that still have active greyhound racing, but lawmakers may put an end to the race.
Steroids, just like the one some professional athletes get caught using, are used on greyhound racing dogs.
A new state bill is gaining speed that could stop the use of anabolic drugs, thus ensuring the integrity and health of the racing greyhounds.
Some animal activists say the trainers are now taking extreme measures to prevent further loss, including using anabolic steroids on racing dogs.
Besides getting a better performance, they also help keep female greyhounds from going into heat and not race.
Carey Theil is executive director of Grey2K, an organization working to protect greyhounds.
He said steroid use raises a major question about the integrity of the industry.
"Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane," said Theil.
State regulators say it is illegal to use anabolic steroids on racing dogs, but the state does not check for their presence when dogs are tested after a race.
A bill banning the use of anabolic steroids on racing greyhounds is making its way to the Florida House floor.
The Sponsor of the bill State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith said,” Testosterone in Greyhound racing dogs can also serve as a performance enhancing drug. Since greyhound racing is gambling, there is a certain word for that and it is called cheating. That is why this bill has been brought forward so we can ban the use of harmful steroids and protect the integrity of the industry."
Only 19 dog tracks remain in the US, 12 of them are in Florida, including the Palm Beach County Kennel Club.
The owners would not go on camera but released the following statement, "If adopted, we will require our owners and trainers to abide by it.
We work with the State of Florida to enforce the policies and laws.”
Some lawmakers are pushing for amendment to the bill down the road that would allow exemptions for medical necessities.
Smith and Grey2K are against such a measure.