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When Tracks Close, Where Do Greyhounds Go?

A greyhound racer in action
A greyhound racer in action

At the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track in Bonita Springs, the dogs ran their last races on Sunday May 3. 

A greyhound racing ban was passed by an overwhelming majority in the November 2018 election.  Greyhound racing is now active in just three states: Iowa, Texas and West Virginia, and it is being actively phased out in Arkansas.

Barbara Masi is President and Founder of Awesome Greyhound Adoptions in Boynton Beach, which is one of the groups overseeing the adoptions from the Bonita Springs track.  The coronavirus pandemic has caused the sudden closure of several other tracks in Florida too, but the greyhound adoption network—the “Greyhound Nation,” she calls it—is stepping up.

“They are coming off the track quickly. We are placing them quickly,” Masi said. “We do not euthanize any of them. They’re all taken care of.”

Karen Feldman of North Ft Myers is a longtime greyhound owner. She now lives with her 7 th and 8 th greyhound. They’re very easy to love, she says, and nowhere near as active as many people think.

“They’re very laid-back,” Feldman said. “People will say, don’t you need a big yard? They need about 5 minutes of exercise a day. What you need is a big couch, you need a good-sized bed. Because they will want to join you. They really do think they are lap dogs.”

They’re also good, Masi says, at being service dogs. She is part of a program called Hounds & Heroes, which donates greyhounds that can aid veterans.

“The tallness makes them good for veterans with mobility assistance and they are so intuitive, they can help with night terrors. They can help with a lot of issues that veterans do have,” said Masi.

So as the Florida tracks close, the greyhounds move on to new homes and new jobs. 

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Cary Barbor is the local host of All Things Considered and a reporter for WGCU. She was a producer for Martha Stewart Radio on Sirius XM, where she hosted a live interview show with authors of new books called Books and Authors. She was a producer for The Leonard Lopate Show, a live, daily show that covered arts, culture, politics, and food on New York City’s public radio station WNYC. She also worked as a producer on Studio 360, a weekly culture magazine; and The Sunday Long Read, a show that features in-depth conversations with journalists and other writers. She has filed stories for The Pulse and Here & Now. In addition to radio, she has a career writing for magazines, including Salon, Teen Vogue, New York, Health, and More. She has published short stories and personal essays and is always working on a novel. She was a Knight Journalism Fellow, where she studied health reporting at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and followed epidemiologists around Kenya and Alaska. She has a B.A. in English from Lafayette College and an M.A. in Literature from the University of Massachusetts.
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