Dear Governor Justice,
I am writing to ask you to endorse efforts to end the cruelty of dog racing. I have seen many photos of you with Baby Dog and I know how much she means to you and your family! Gentle hounds deserve families too, and that's why I hope you will raise your strong voice in support of a racing ban and order the release of 2,000 sweet greyhounds into loving homes.
Just since 2008, 10,000 dogs have been injured at the Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras racetracks. Nearly 500 young dogs have died. According to state records, GT's Cocobolo had a heart attack at the age of three. One-year-old Flying Betty Lou suffered a crushed skull. And poor Living Fast died of a seizure in his cage. He was only two. Common injuries include broken legs, torn and twisted muscles, dislocations, seizures, heat stroke, broken tails and puncture wounds.
When not racing, greyhounds are kept confined in small stacked cages for as long as 23 hours a day. There are no toys for them and no play. Even worse, many are drugged. Female greyhounds are routinely given steroids to block their heat cycles and more than a hundred dogs have tested positive for illegal substances since 2007.
In terms of economics, commercial greyhound racing is a dying industry. Since 2001, dozens of tracks have gone bankrupt and closed. In other cases, concerned citizens went to the ballot and voted decisively to prohibit dog racing. The most recent referendum occurred in the Sunshine State. In 2018, twelve dog tracks were shuttered after Floridians voted 69%-31% to outlaw racing. Likewise, a recent poll shows that 81% of West Virginians support a racing ban and specifically oppose the $17 million in subsidies awarded to the local industry each year.
Dog racing is now illegal in 42 American states, and soon your state will be the only one with active tracks. I appeal to you as a fellow animal lover to protect greyhounds and make it clear that you support legislation to phase out the cruelty of dog racing. Both the taxpayers and the greyhounds will thank you!