If you’ve ever considered <a href="https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/jk-rowling-adopts-an-abandoned-greyhound-959454" target="_blank" rel="noopener">adopting a greyhound dog</a>, you may want to do so at the end of 2020.
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters in Florida approved an animal safety ballot initiative that would <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/thousands-racing-greyhounds-florida-will-need-new-homes-end-2020-n933496">ban greyhound racing in the state</a> in the next two years. The measure, Amendment 13, <a href="https://floridaelectionwatch.gov/Amendments">received more than 5.3 million votes</a> — or 69 percent — securing its passage and thrilling animal rights activists.
As a result, between 5,000 and 7,000 greyhounds will be in need of a home once the majority of dog racing tracks in Florida close for business by Dec. 31, 2020.
<a href="http://www.gettyimages.com/license/50918416">Getty Images | Julian Herbert</a>
“They’re amazing pets, <a href="https://www.simplemost.com/low-energy-lazy-dog-breeds/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">so gentle and sweet</a>,” Kate MacFall, Florida state director of the Humane Society of the United States, <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/thousands-racing-greyhounds-florida-will-need-new-homes-end-2020-n933496">told NBC News</a>. “They really are gentle giants.”
MacFall said that the Humane Society, which organized behind the Amendment 13 effort, is providing support to groups working to place greyhounds now and after the measure takes full effect. But some adoption groups are concerned that, even with the gradual closures of Florida’s 11 dog racing tracks, there may not be enough families to adopt the orphaned greyhounds.
“This will be a burden. We’re mobilizing now,” Brooke Stumpf, president of the adoption group <a href="https://gemgreyhounds.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GreytHounds of Eastern Michigan</a>, told NBC News. “We’ll do the best we can. Some of these <a href="https://www.simplemost.com/rare-dog-breeds/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dogs</a> might end up at shelters and they’re not all no-kill. That’s the scary part.”
<a href="http://www.gettyimages.com/license/52155627">Getty Images | Scott Barbour</a>
Although Amendment 13’s passage is being lauded by animal rights groups, greyhound trainers are now in a panic about their future job prospects. Jennifer Newcome, chairman of the Committee to Support Greyhounds, <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/07/election-2018-florida-greyhound-racing-ends-florida/1925248002/">told USA Today</a> that the ballot measure would trigger a wave of job losses.
Hundreds of trainers, she said, will have “a difficult time” finding new work once the ban takes effect.
“A lot are third-generation trainers and have been in the business since they were born,” Newcome told USA Today. “These people did not pursue a college education or (look) for other work.”
<a href="http://www.gettyimages.com/license/51121530">Getty Images | Ryan Pierse</a>
Not all trainers will be out of work immediately. Though some racetracks may close as of Jan. 1, others won’t shutter until the ban takes effect in two years. In the meantime, greyhound trainers have turned to the Humane Society and other national advocacy groups for help, Newcome told USA Today.
“The people who took care of the <a href="https://www.simplemost.com/low-energy-lazy-dog-breeds/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dogs</a> just lost everything,” she said. “Now the people who put this on the ballot should share some responsibility [in adoption].”
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