Opponents

MICHIGAN REGAP, LENKA PERRON

Lenka Perron is the founder of Michigan Regap (Retired Greyhounds As Pets), one of the most active anti-racing groups in the country.  Lenka also represents the  Greyhound Protection League. Michigan Regap frequently exploits the greyhounds by making them wear fishbowls tied around their necks to "beg" for money.  (Gallery:  Photos from their 2004 REGAP Calendar including a fishbowl on a greyhound)

In June, Lenka Perron falsely accused Tom Thomas of animal abuse on Greyhound-L, a public e-mail list.  Tom was notified about the incident and in turn wrote a letter to both Lenka Perron and  the South Lyon Herald which had in turn printed her lies.

Ms. Perron's e-mail on a public mailing list dated June 26, 2003 states:

"...Finally, since you speak as though you have personal knowledge of all that is going on, can you share what is PUBLIC RECORD on NAPRA.com with regard to the Wisconsin trainer, Tom Thomas, who was recently fined only $100 for inhumane treatment of a greyhound, for letting a broken leg sit for several weeks, untreated, until an infection set in?

Isn't Wisconsin right in your backyard? Certainly you know about this and are taking action to increase this fine. Are you taking any action with your new role as GRA spokesperson? The same week, another trainer was fined $500 for yelling at a track vet. Do you think the $100 fine is justified? Would a $100 fine deter anyone from doing this again?...."

Ms. Perron's Statement to the South Lyon Herald:

“Many people just don’t know the reality of racing,” she said. “They think that the dogs have a fun time racing, then all are adopted and lead a wonderful retirement on some nice soft couch. This is not the case. Dogs are being abused.” - [Link To Article]

Mr. Tom Thomas' Letter to Lenka Perron:

Dear Ms Perron,

I recently read your interview with Stephanie Rutherford, from the South Lyon Herald. First and foremost, let me say that I don't have a problem with people who are anti-racing. It is your constitutional right for your opinions. I do have a problem with people like you who propagate lies to further their ends.

By way of introduction, my name is Tom Thomas, and I own a kennel at Geneva Lakes Greyhound Park. You recently attacked me on the internet without knowing all the facts. Of course, you and your people are notorious for attacking our industry with your lies and deceit If you had a problem with me, you should have confronted me personally instead of hiding behind the inter net You knew nothing about the circumstances regarding Loop Hole Kid, but took the opportunity to insult me on the inter net So at this time let me take the opportunity to give you all the true facts regarding this dog. Enclosed are copies of my vet bills and a letter from the veterinarian regarding the dog and his circumstances. Also after my constitutional rights were invoked, the Director of Gaming found me innocent. Enclosed is a copy of that decision. So next time you decide to slander someone make sure you have all the facts.

Several years ago, while attending a festival in Palatine, Illinois I met one of the Regap Groups from Kildeer, Illinois, who were spreading your propaganda. Of course, I first challenged them, but I quickly realized that I could only converse with other intelligent people and trying to conduct an intelligent conversation with the Regap people was futile. The next year at the same festival, the same people had their display of greyhounds and their propaganda sheets on display. I had promised my wife that I would not get into a verbal confrontation with anyone from this group. I must say that after listening to the same lies as the year before, I was holding my tongue from saying anything; Until! The hippie looking fellow who was talking to two women stated, Quote; “All of the dogs tracks have ovens and when the dogs get hurt or no longer able to race, they are thrown into the ovens.” If that was the truth, how are you getting all of these grey hounds that you and your group are placing into private homes. Quite contradictory, won't you say. Needless to say, I could no longer remain silent and had a heated discussion with that individual. If that's what you and your people are all about, we don't need you. If you want to be confrontational, you have affronted the wrong person. I suggest that you and your people choose your words very carefully.

In your interview with the South Lyon Herald paper, you had the audacity to say that the tracks know of your position, but are so greedy that they still give you their dogs. Well Ms Perron, that's going to come to an abrupt halt very soon. You will no longer use our dogs for your propaganda. I suggest you and your people start buying stuffed animals, you need them. Now Ms Perron, I'm going to invoke my constitutional rights and may sure that you and your group do not get any more greyhounds.

For your information and edification, all tracks are highly regulated by the individual states. The Veterinarians are all highly skilled doctors, and closely

monitor all the dogs’ health and condition. Unfortunately, we do have some ruthless people in our industry. Between the individual states and the National Greyhound Association, we do our best to eliminate the bad apples.. We do more with our efforts to eliminate these individuals, than any of your propaganda will ever accomplish, to rid people who shouldn't be in our industry.

Ms Perron, if you and your group are truly committed to the humane treatment of animals, I have a great idea for you! Why don’t you and your group go after the illegal acts of inhumane treatment of animals. Primarily, the people who stage dogfights with Pit Bulls and other dogs, or the people who put on the lurching races. These are the people who need to be eliminated, not the hard working, family people in our industry. If your group is as humane as you project yourselves, here is an area you can excel. Penalize the people that really should be stopped for the inhumane treatment of animals. Ironically, if you were to implement such a program with your group, I would volunteer to work with you.

Ms Perron, at this time I would be happy to extend an invitation to you and you group, to come to my kennel and really see how the greyhounds are treated. You would be my guest for lunch and a complete tour of my kennel. You probably won't accept my invitation; because you don't want to see the truth. What you would see is how happy and loving these dogs are in the kennel. You would see my dogs in the whirlpool, getting their daily therapy. You would see my dogs in the swimming pool, getting hydrotherapy, for conditioning and toning of their muscles. By the way, I have the only swimming pool in the country in a racing kennel. Let me say, that I am not the only one who cares for their greyhounds with such caring. All of the other racing kennels, in the country, have the same devotion to their greyhounds as I do. We are all truly devoted to our greyhounds.

Until I hear from you, I remain committed to the Humane treatment of greyhounds and all other animals.

Respectfully,

Tom Thomas

Silver Hawk Kennel

OTHER QUOTES BY LENKA PERRON:

In reference to the Clearing of Palm Beach in the investigation of Leta's Princess, who died tragically, but as an isolated incident. 

ARTICLE FROM THE PALM BEACH POST

"...the track personnel did not respond appropriately since eyewitnesses claimed there was a window of opportunity to pick up Leta before she dragged herself into the inside rail. The lead out personnel were in very close proximity of Leta, according to witnesses....the track has a seriously high and unaddressed collision rate, and had the track focused on greyhound welfare and injury rates, they could have anticipated that this type of tragedy would again repeat itself and possible addressed the root cause of these collisions....the mechanical lure is old and dangerous, as are the majority of track lures and does not provide for a retractable arm or the ability to immediately and safely stop the lure when a greyhound is caught in the mechanism....In the end, however, the state of Florida's racing division, like almost all racing states, was and is established to protect the integrity of gaming, not the welfare of greyhounds. Florida has only a few lines in their regulations pertaining to welfare, and if there are no SPECIFIC regulations pertaining to greyhound welfare issues, then the state's hands are tied. There is nothing they can therefore charge this track with if there are no laws on the books. As a representative from the Parimutual wagering division told me personally, "the lobbyists for the racing industry are powerful, and they would rather not be regulated at all if they had the choice"....."

GREYHOUND COMPANIONS OF NEW MEXICO

HOMEPAGE

The following statements are from the web site of an avowed anti-racing adoption group, Greyhound Companions of New Mexico:

"Greyhounds must be bred in large numbers in order to produce only a few exceptional racers."

THE REAL STORY:  If that were true would we have approximately 50,000 dogs racing when only about 30,000 are bred annually? You can't have only winners; some dogs have to finish sixth, seventh and eighth in every race. The above sentence would lead one to believe ONLY the exceptional dogs compete and survive.

"Cases of abuse and neglect of greyhounds by trainers and breeders are under-reported due to fear of retaliation by industry peers. The relatively small number of cases reported usually come from those who have defected from the industry in abhorrence of industry injustices and grotesque abuses witnessed."

THE REAL STORY:  If these alleged cases of abuse and neglect are NOT reported, how can the writer claim knowledge of them? Doesn't it stand to reason that if no one knows about them the writer wouldn't either? And one of those people who was famous for having "defected" from the industry and was well-known for his tales of abuses was, in fact, an owner of racing greyhounds at the time of his death--still screaming to his dying day of the abuses in the industry he "left." Who knows what thrill he got from his duplicity? 

"Because greyhounds are generally docile by nature, they are prime specimens for research and veterinary teaching schools. The number of greyhounds turned over to these institutions has been greatly underestimated as demonstrated by a recent disclosure that over 900 greyhounds had been surrendered by trainers to a Colorado veterinary school in one year. The figures had been previously reported to be in the range of 300 until greyhound rights advocates uncovered the grisly truth. The dean of this veterinary school admits they destroy 500 greyhounds per year that are not even used for any teaching purposes."

THE REAL STORY: Again, if no one--including the writer-- knows how many dogs go to research facilities and schools, how can she insist the numbers are "greatly underestimated?" Assumption that those Colorado numbers are universal? Or does she have telepathic powers the rest of us don't have?

"After their association with the racing industry was exposed, the Colorado university agreed to eliminate their practice of destroying the glut of dogs coming off the Colorado race tracks; however, it is interesting to note that the number of dogs now available to adoption programs in that area is nowhere near the large numbers once being turned over to the university — where are those dogs? Are they being shipped off to other areas where they can be disposed of without the media attention and heightened public awareness that now exists in Colorado?"

THE REAL STORY: Since about the time the Colorado State University Veterinary School agreed to eliminate their practice of putting down dogs many more Colorado dogs have been going to other states for adoption. In fact, one of the largest adoption groups in the United States (a group operating mostly in Washington) now gets a large percentage of its' greyhounds from Colorado, where before they got almost none from that state. Another Washington group gets nearly ALL of its' dogs from Colorado--a group that didn't exist before the CSU fiasco. Does the writer assume the adoption market in Colorado could absorb all those additional dogs? In fact, the dogs ARE "available to adoption programs in that area." They just can't take them all.

"Greyhounds are transported long distances during the heat of summer in trucks without air conditioning. There have been tragic reports of trucks reaching their destination only to open the compartments and find dead or dying greyhounds as a result of exposure to extreme heat. "

THE REAL STORY: If this were as commonplace as the writer would have us believe, wouldn't the owners of these dogs--who have invested thousands of dollars in EACH ONE--pursue legal action against the haulers? Or at least put them out of business? There was ONE such "tragic report" written up in the Greyhound Network News and they're unlikely to miss the opportunity to report something like that (see Greyhound Network News).

"Other species of animals are destroyed as a result of the dog racing industry, besides dogs. Methods for training the most successful racers involve the torture and mutilation of animals that are used as "live lure" to heighten the prey instinct of the greyhound in training. Dogs trained by this method are considered ineligible for competing on most tracks; however, track officials often turn their heads to allow these more aggressive, crowd-pleasing dogs to compete."

THE REAL STORY: Live-lure training is illegal in all but one state and has been banned by the NGA, making dogs trained that way ineligible at EVERY track sanctioned by the NGA. But how would the track officials know which dogs to ban? Is it written on the dog's side: "Live-lure trained?" And why would these dogs be more "aggressive, crowd-pleasing" if the lure they're chasing in the race is a stuffed toy? It doesn't SMELL like a live animal, nor is it running on the ground. And if the "most successful racers" were all live-lure trained--in the ONE state where it's not illegal--why would anyone train dogs in any other state?


PENNSYLVANIA CITIZENS AGAINST GREYHOUND RACING

HOMEPAGE

The following is an actual E-mail response from the Pennsylvania Citizens Against Greyhound Racing website, to an inquiry from the webmaster of Greyhound Lover's League:

Greyhound Lover's League:

"Our mission at this site is, through education, to challenge the inherent integrity of breeding and racing greyhounds for monetary gain. Following are statistics for you to digest. Credit goes to Greyhound Network News for compiling these facts which are based on published reports by the National Greyhound Association (NGA) and State Racing Commission reports. If you are dismayed or in disbelief, we suggest that you question the NGA."

They call their information "facts" when in reality, they are misrepresentations of the figures taken from the NGA records, along with some figures that are not published anywhere. Read on.

"For the period 1989 through 1998:

65,001 greyhound litters were registered by NGA.

426,407 (minimum) pups were born based on an average of 6.5 per litter."

The table below, taken from the American Greyhound Council's website, shows that records for these totals were not kept prior to 1995. Where are the PCAGR figures originating?

"342,022 pups were individually registered at 18 months old.

84,385 discrepancy (19.79%) between pups born and those registered at 18 months.

200,000 (at least) greyhounds unaccounted for after comparison of published. numbers and the estimated total number of dogs still racing, breeding or adopted."

These figures are totally false and their conclusions even further from the truth. All pups born MUST be registered with the NGA--even the stillborn--to track the output of the sire. Stillborn pups average (conservatively) one per litter. There are also the pups that don't live more than a few days, due to congenital problems or the mother accidentally lying or stepping on them. These two groups alone would total in the neighborhood of that 84,385 total cited. Add to them the dogs that 'wash out' before 18 months and are never registered as racers; the registration of racing greyhounds is totally up to the discretion of the owners.

The last figure of unaccounted for dogs is terribly misleading. We have already seen how the number 'born' is not relevant so let's examine the other 116,000. Some dogs die of (or are euthanized due to) natural causes, diseases like kennel cough (which can kill your dog after a visit to the vet if you're unlucky), accidents and dog fights. Others are given away by their owners when their careers are over, kept by them as pets or are adopted with no records showing the adoptions. Indeed, adoption groups are not required to notify the NGA of dogs they place and rarely do. In fact in many cases dogs fitting ANY of the above descriptions are not reported as such. The only dogs for which dependable records are kept are those currently racing.

"For the period 1999 (numbers are approximate based on published records):

Here, even the math is off. If 12,000 were adopted out of 27,000 they assume exited the racing system that leaves 15,000. But they claim 7,000 disappeared and 20,000 were killed. And on what do they base their assumption that 27,000 exited the system that year? If that number was reported they would have quoted it. Again, of the dogs unaccounted for in their figures, many died without being "killed," many were adopted with no records submitted to the NGA, many went into breeding and more were kept as pets or given away as pets by their owners. To assume that every dog these radicals can't account for was killed is ludicrous and arrogant.

Figures for the number of dogs exiting the racing system are not kept by the source cited by PCAGR. But figures for the number of known adoptions are and for the year 1999 that number is 18,000. Below is the table showing the actual reported numbers for ten years. Remember, these are from the NGA, the very source cited by this radical group. (While these figures may not be verifiable, they are shown here because PCAGR somehow claims to derive their figures from them.) 

TEN-YEAR TOTALS

 Year

Litters Whelped

Pups Whelped

Pups Per Litter

Adoption

1990

 

52,000

 

3,500

1991

 

52,000

 

7,000

1992

 

49,000

 

9,000

1993

 

43,086

 

13,000

1994

 

42,119

 

14,000

1995

 5,751

37,650

6.55

16,000

1996

5,435

36,688

6.75

18,000

1997

5,419

35,730

6.47

18,000

1998

5,533

35,801

6.47

18,000

1999

5,104

33,256

6.52

18,000

American Greyhound Council, Statistics page http://www.agcouncil.com/

"We have reviewed statistics, researched documented cases of abuses and witnessed the condition of adopted greyhounds arriving from the track. Our position, as a result, is well-considered and adamant. We do sirey the greyhound industry's publications which in no way deter us from our mission-in fact it has spurred us on. The unacceptable conditions in which the racing greyhound lives and dies will continue to exist-unless courageous activists emerge to advocate for the demise of this exploitation of the greyhound breed under the guise of a sporting event."

Yes, they have reviewed statistics and found ways to twist them to make their twisted point. Where they can't twist statistics they manufacture them. And most adoption groups will tell you the dogs they get from the tracks, farms and trainers are in good general health. There will always be exceptions but abused, sick and injured dogs are NOT the rule.

"We will not engage in emotional "shouting matches" with those who choose to defend the racing industry; instead, we encourage you to become educated and suggest that you visit Greyhound Protection League http://www.greyhounds.org/gnn"

Actually, the shouting matches are usually started by these same radical anti-racing and animal rights people. They are in the minority and apparently feel they can make up the difference by making the most noise, typical of any radical movement. The Greyhound Protection League and their publication, the Greyhound Network News, are the source of propaganda used by nearly all groups opposed to greyhound racing. There ARE no other sources of any consequence. So the misinformation perpetuated by this one fanatic group has become the 'bible' of the anti-racing movement.

"Finally: No matter what the horrific statistics, no matter what the documented abuse and neglect records-imagine your greyhound imprisoned in a crate for some 18-20 hours a day and having the only opportunity of running for a few moments every few days. Is this what the greyhounds were born for? Does this justify their birth and premature death?"

Truthfully, all three of my dogs raced and lived in crates (kennels) during their actual racing careers. Prior to the age of approximately one year they lived in runs ranging from roomy to huge with their littermates, playing to their hearts' content. And to say they only got the opportunity to run for a few moments every few days is patently false. The turnout pens are large and they were turned out several times a day for a minimum of 30 minutes (weather permitting) each time--long enough for kennel workers to clean the kennels. And long enough for the dogs to run and play at will.

Finally, this: "Credit goes to Greyhound Network News for compiling these facts which are based on published reports...."

Why don't they simply repeat those published reports if they are basing their "facts" on them?  Because it wouldn't serve their purpose to share the REAL facts.

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