Live-lure training is the practice of training greyhounds for the racetrack with live animals, typically jackrabbits. It’s a barbaric practice in which dogs are set loose in a pen and taunted with the live animal, which they chase down and maul to death. Some greyhound racing aficionados think the dogs will run faster if trained on live, rather than mechanical, lures.
GREY2K USA, a group that works to end cruelty in the greyhound racing industry, has completed an investigation into three out-of-state trainers and says its traced 37 dogs racing at Southland Casino Racing in West Memphis to them.
An investigator hired by GREY2K this year to look into claims that the practice — which the industry has denied is still done — found evidence of live lure training of greyhound pups in Keota, Okla.; Elgin, Texas; and Abilene, Kan.
GREY2K made the results of its investigation, which was reported last night on CBS Miami, known to Byron Freeland, counsel to the Arkansas Racing Commission. Freeland referred the Times to Southland’s Board of Governors. Glen White, a spokesman for Southland owner Delaware North of Buffalo, N.Y., responded:
We were just made aware of the complaint, which we will fully review with our Board of Judges before providing a response. Southland Casino Racing strictly prohibits the long-illegal practice of live-lure training.
Gruesome videos shot by GREY2K’s investigator have also been provided to law enforcement officials and regulators in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Florida.
Live-lure training is are not “specifically” illegal in Arkansas, according to Racing Commission spokesman Scott Hardin. A report on live lure training by Geraldo Rivera on 20/20 in 1978 prompted U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh to introduce a bill to amend the Animal Welfare Act making it a federal crime. The industry promised to police itself, and the bill did not pass.
Cary Theil, GREY2K executive director, told the Times that the organization is filing formal complaints to the attorneys general in Kansas and Oklahoma, which have rules against awarding parimutuel licenses to organizations involved with live-lure training.
With the approval of expanded casino gambling in Arkansas and the lifting of the requirement to race dogs to have its casino, Southland says it will end dog racing in 2022. At that point, only West Virginia and Iowa will have active greyhound tracks.