FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — According to the animal rights group Grey2K, West Virginia is one of only nine states that allows commercial dog racing. Under West Virginia law, millions of dollars in state gambling revenues must be used to subsidize races every year.
In December, a greyhound was seized and taken to the New River Humane Society. Due to a pending case with his former owner, details about the dog are limited; however, Interim Director of the Humane Society, Amy McGuire told 59News he was a racing dog at one of the two tracks in West Virginia.
“I can tell you he’s out on foster, and seeking his forever home,” McGuire said.
Lawmakers debated whether the state should continue to financially support greyhound racing. A bill is supposed to be introduced in this legislative session could end the practice. The industry receives $15 million in subsidies from the state. In 2017, the legislature passed a bill to stop funding breeders, but it was vetoed by Gov. Jim Justice.
The animal rights organization, Grey2K, as well as local animal advocates believe the practice is inhumane.
“They do have the potential to acquire a lot more injuries during the training and the running,” said McGuire. “I really can’t imagine what that would to to a dog psychologically.”
In September 2019, Republican Senate President Mitch Carmichael said the money subsidizes the greyhound industry, but could be better invested in roads and education. Democratic Delegate Shawn Fluharty said the money does not come from taxpayer dollars, and ending greyhound racing would eliminate as many as 1,700 jobs in West Virginia.
“If it doesn’t end just raising more awareness and being required to carry more responsible practices,” said McGuire.