TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Democratic and Republican lawmakers are joining forces to protect racing greyhounds from the use of harmful anabolic steroids. Representatives Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando), prime co-sponsor Representative Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) and Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) announced the filing of HB 463 and SB 674 which bans the use of the drugs as recommended by the Association of Racing Commissioners International, Inc. (ARCI). The legislation also enacts penalties against dog trainers who continue using them. An identical measure, also sponsored by Rep. Smith, overwhelmingly passed the full Florida House of Representatives during the 2017 session.
“I will not give up on our bipartisan work to protect racing greyhounds from harmful anabolic steroids,” said Representative Smith. “We passed the bill in the House last session and are ready to do it again in 2018. These beautiful dogs are depending on us!”
“Greyhounds are gentle dogs, and deserve to be protected,” said Senator Young. “I’m proud to fight for this good bill, and am confident we can pass it this year.”
Female racing greyhounds are routinely administered anabolic steroids such as Methyltestosterone to disrupt the process of estrus (a female dog going into heat). This abusive practice prevents the loss of race days and increases profitability for the industry by ensuring females can continue to race alongside male greyhounds. Anabolic steroids push greyhounds beyond their natural limits, cause severe bodily harm, and can also have the effect of improperly doping greyhounds before races. According to the industry handbook Care of the Racing and Retired Greyhound, these drugs can cause serious side effects including virilization and aggression. Steroid use has also been shown to have a negative effect on dogs’ heart function. Some studies have even linked anabolic steroid use to liver, kidney and cartilage damage, gastrointestinal problems and shock.
Currently, twelve of the eighteen greyhound tracks still operating in the United States are located in Florida. Our state’s dog racing industry faced renewed scrutiny in July, after twenty-two greyhounds tested positive for cocaine in Florida. The use of anabolic steroids in dog racing has been outlawed in many other jurisdictions, including Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand.
SOURCE | Florida State Representatives Carlos Guillermo Smith