Coronavirus Closes Florida Dog Racing Tracks, Leaving 1,500 Greyhounds Suddenly Homeless

In 2018, Florida voters decided to ban dog racing across the state, giving kennels and tracks promoting such “entertainment” until the end of 2020 to close. In a twist, the novel coronavirus has stamped out this abusive sport by closing Florida’s dog racing tracks months ahead of schedule.

But while this seems like good news, the sudden closures have also left 1,500 greyhounds suddenly homeless — at time when U.S. shelters are already overwhelmed with animals as COVID-19 sweeps the country.

“We were anticipating having a little bit more time to prepare for the dogs to place them, but now all of a sudden we have 1,500 dogs that are looking for a place to go,” said Carolee Ellison, lead trainer at Awesome Greyhound Adoptions, Inc, a non-profit group that helps retired greyhounds find forever homes.

Complicating matters is that greyhounds require lots of attention, which is why Awesome Greyhound Adoptions — which also trains therapy and service dogs — insists on doing home inspections to ensure foster parents can handle this high energy breed.

“They have to be walked three or four times a day, they have to be fed twice a day, they have to be watered constantly so it’s a major issue,” Cory agreed. According to News4Jax, it costs roughly $500 to care for a single greyhound.

In the meantime, Awesome Greyhound Adoptions, Inc, has issued an urgent plea for foster parents who can help the animal rescue navigate this incredibly difficult time.

FOSTER HOMES NEEDED IN SE FL for retired racing greyhounds. The virus has caused early shut down of two tracks and…

Posted by Awesome Greyhound Adoptions, Inc. on Friday, March 20, 2020

“FOSTER HOMES NEEDED IN SE FL for retired racing greyhounds,” the group pleaded on Facebook. “The virus has caused early shut down of two tracks and these dogs need places to go while waiting for forever homes. NOW IS THE TIME TO STEP UP FLORIDA PEEPS ….”

Please contact Awesome Greyhound Adoptions ASAP if you think you can help.

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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