If Florida’s racing greyhounds seem to have a little extra pep in their step this time next year, you better know it’s the better blow.
Currently making the rounds of Florida’s political circles is a draft of greyhound racing industry-sponsored legislation that would permit dogs at Florida tracks to test positive for minor amounts of prohibited substances, including steroids and cocaine, provided these substances aren’t “in excess of environmental contaminate levels.”
The precise amount of Peruvian marching powder that would be permissible in dogs isn’t specified, but Florida Greyhound Association lobbyist Jack Cory told Florida Politics that “you can get a nanogram of cocaine from touching a 20-dollar bill” and that one-billionth of a gram of Charlie “is not going to affect any dog or any person and that is what we are trying to clarify.”
The concept of Florida’s dog trainers and owners willfully distributing eight-balls to their four-legged charges ahead of races isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Cocaine and other stimulants have been found in racing dogs at tracks around the globe, suggesting that, if Nancy Reagan had been a dog trainer, her slogan would have been ‘just say go’.
The draft legislation isn’t entirely about drugs, as it also includes proposals to manage a ‘safe track surface’ and ensuring that racing dogs are fed a nutritious diet, although they aren’t likely to have much of an appetite with all that cocaine making their hearts beat through their chests.
Greyhound racing, like its equine counterpart, dates from a time when it was the only legal gambling option around. But times have changed, and people now have any number of gambling options, none of which generate headlines about using smaller animals as live bait for larger animals.
Florida’s greyhound racing industry has been dying for years now, with industry-led efforts to ‘decouple’ racing from track operators’ more lucrative slot machines, and this latest drug legislation suggests that they’re at least maintaining a sense of humor about the inevitability of their extinction.
In related news, Colombian police just announced the seizure of 12 tons of cocaine, the single largest seizure in the nation’s history. So maybe Florida’s greyhound industry will rethink its cocaine plan, given that there will now be a lot of the stuff making it to the state, and the stuff that does will be reserved for animals with South Beach addresses.