History awaits greyhounds this fall. On Election Day 2018, Florida voters will have a chance to turn back time and end the dog race in its most established state. Up to 8,000 lucky greyhounds get the second chance they deserve, free from nearly 100 years of exploitation and cruelty.
The world’s first recognized commercial greyhound racetrack opened in Emeryville, California in 1919. There was a new invention in the Blue Star Amusement Park, the mechanical bait. The device developed by Owen Patrick Smith was intended to offer a more humane alternative to the traditional use of live rabbits in the field.
By 1930, 67 independent, unregulated “fluttering” tracks had opened and closed across the United States – none of them legal. An offer to enforce dog racing permits in Kentucky was brought before the US Supreme Court in 1927, but failed. No state would approve this new deal, even during the height of the Great Depression.
But Florida was different. It was the first state to allow dog tracks to operate legally – as long as it got part of the action.