'The Weekly' hears from both sides of Amendment 13 to ban greyhound racing in Florida

Greyhound kennel owner, Florida lawmaker explain pros, cons of Amendment 13

By Justin Warmoth - Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - As Floridians begin early voting in the midterm election, they're deciding not only on who they'd like to see in office but also whether the state's constitution should be amended.

There are a dozen amendments on the ballot this year, including Amendment 13, which would prohibit greyhound racing statewide.

Florida is one of only a handful of states that still allows people to gamble on dog races. It's also home to 11 of the remaining 17 tracks in the country.

News 6 anchor Justin Warmoth spoke with people on both sides of the amendment on Sunday's "The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com."

AJ Grant, a kennel owner at Orlando-Sanford Kennel Club, has 86 greyhounds that race at the Longwood track.

"These animals were bred to do one thing," Grant said. "We take care of them like they're our babies."

If the amendment is approved, Grant said about 400 people in Seminole County would also lose their jobs.

Proponents of Amendment 13, including Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, claim commercial greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane.

"Every three days, a greyhound dies at a Florida dog track," Smith said. "They die from things like electrocution, heat exhaustion, broken necks, broken backs, the cruel conditions that they're subjected to when they're forced to race are fatal."

Smith also raised concerns about the more than 400 racing greyhounds in Florida that have tested positive for drugs, including cocaine and opiates.

Grant vehemently denies the dogs under his care are mistreated.

"We do everything we can to make sure these animals are humanely treated," Grant said. "They get the best vet care we can provide, but unfortunately, disease strikes every animal and we can't prevent that."

In Florida, amendments must receive 60 percent of the vote to pass.

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