GREENWOOD, SC (FOX Carolina) - A decision by voters in Florida on Tuesday will have a big impact around the nation. Greyhound racing will be banned a year from now in the Sunshine State.
Now those thousands of racing dogs will need somewhere to go. And some of them, could end up right here in the Palmetto State.
We spoke to Greyhound Crossroads. They're from the Upstate and handle greyhound adoptions all over the Carolinas and Georgia.
They say they’re upset that the amendment passed and they want to see greyhounds continue to race.
Bottom line: those thousands of dogs will now need new homes.
Neil Roepke is part of the group Greyhound Crossroads. He tells us his dog Topper was a star greyhound race dog. He says Topper had a good life at the track and still does now.
“That’s what they're bred for," said Roepke, "They're gonna run, they're gonna chase, it's what they do.”
Greyhound Crossroads says most greyhounds are bred to race, are treated well during their racing days, and then are adopted out to waiting homes. But Tuesday's vote in Florida is changing things.
Neil says, “It’s an absolute travesty, there were zero provisions in this amendment to provide care for the dogs, any kind of care. Over the next couple of years we're going to have 10-11 thousand dogs because a lot of farms and breeders will have to vacate as well. It’s overwhelming.”
Animal advocacy groups like the Humane Society of The United States pushed for the racetracks to close, blaming the racing on hundreds of greyhound deaths over the past five years.
The group's president, Kitty Block, wrote on her blog this week, that it was a historic win for greyhounds:
"...we gave it our all, and since Florida has 11 of the remaining 17 racetracks in the country, the vote to end racing here is a major step toward sounding the death knell for this cruel 'sport'."
Now the focus will be on finding homes for the 8,000 - 12,000 greyhounds and greyhound puppies, bred to race.
Neil says, “We're gonna do our thing, so you're still gonna get very well adjusted, very healthy, loving dogs. We're gonna find loving homes for them.”
The Florida amendment says that the dog tracks will need to close by 2020. Greyhound Crossroads tells us that some tracks will close sooner than that, others closer to that date. They are just hoping it will be staggered, so those thousands of dogs won't all need new homes at the same time.