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Colorado Gov. signs legislation to ban greyhound racing

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Last year, Colorado made shelter dogs and cats the official state animal. Now -- true to that sentiment -- Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed legislation to protect even more of Colorado’s animals.

On March 10, Gov. Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1146, which prohibits greyhound racing in Colorado. Sponsored by Rep. KC Becker (D-Boulder), the new law outlaws greyhound racing statewide, but continues to allow wagering on greyhound races held in other states. Greyhound racing hasn’t taken place in Colorado since 2008, but was still permissible under state law until now.

“Public opinion in Colorado has long been aligned against the cruel sport of greyhound racing, and now the law reflects those beliefs,” said Deborah Foote, state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Southwest region. “The ASPCA is thrilled that Colorado has joined the 38 other states that do not allow this inhumane ‘sport’.”

Greyhound racing has seen a steady national decline in recent years. It is now conducted in only seven states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Texas and West Virginia. Dog racing is also still legal in Connecticut, Kansas, Oregon and Wisconsin, but no tracks are currently in operation in those states. While it is a dying sport and not economically viable, circumstances could change. Out of concern for the welfare of the dogs, the ASPCA wants dog racing eliminated throughout the United States.

“Thousands of greyhounds are killed or injured each year at dog racetracks, which also drain local economies,” said Foote. “We applaud Colorado for taking a stand to prevent future suffering for these gentle, loving dogs.”

There are currently 21 active dog tracks in the U.S., twelve of which are located in Florida. In February, the ASPCA and greyhound protection group GREY2K USA unveiled a report revealing that 74 racing greyhounds died at Florida tracks in the last seven months of 2013.

Racing dogs usually spend up to 22 hours a day in tiny cages, many are muzzled during that time to make it easier for their handlers, and if injured, too many are left to suffer as getting a vet’s attention is quite expensive. Dogs that don’t run fast enough may find their way to a good home through a rescue group, but many simply disappear or are sent to much worse facilities in Mexico.

For more information on the ASPCA’s fight to end greyhound racing, or to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade please visit, www.aspca.org.

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