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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Greyhound racing in the state of Florida will soon be history after voters approved Amendment 13 Tuesday, which bans greyhound racing at state pari-mutuels by 2021.
The sport’s demise has long been predicted, with 50 U.S. tracks closing since the 1990s.
Sonia Stratemann, a greyhound racing opponent, said the vote will save “thousands and thousands of greyhounds from being bred into a cruel industry.”
Amendment 13 faced fierce opposition from greyhound breeders and owners and the National Rifle Association’s Florida lobbyist, Marion Hammer, who urged members to defeat the measure, saying that a provision could open to the door to ban hunting and fishing.
“This is proof when you speak up and work hard and fight for something you believe in, good things will happen,” Stratemann said.
Florida’s Amendment 13 needed 60-percent approval to pass but received 69-percent approval.
Without the state of Florida, the sport may be too small to survive. Two tracks remain in West Virginia and one each in Alabama, Arkansas and Iowa. In Texas, three tracks rotate an annual meet.
Florida became the first state to legalize betting on greyhound racing in 1931. Some tracks dressed monkeys as jockeys and strapped them to dogs’ backs but stopped after many died. Thousands, including celebrities like Babe Ruth and Frank Sinatra, turned out in its heyday.