Greyhound Trainer Receives Five Year Prison Sentence in Ebro Cruelty Case

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Greyhound Trainer Receives Five Year Prison Sentence in Ebro Cruelty Case

According to news reports, former greyhound trainer Ronnie Williams plead guilty this morning to 39 counts of animal cruelty. He was arrested last year when dozens of dead greyhounds were discovered in his kennel at Ebro Greyhound Park. According to state officials, the dogs died from starvation, dehydration, or asphyxia.

Williams was sentenced to five years in prison for each charge. However the sentences will run concurrently. He has already spent a year in jail while waiting trial, and will not receive credit for that time served.

There is no doubt that Williams should have received a stiffer penalty for his heinous acts. Sadly, it is common for animal abusers to receive relatively light sentences.

Today’s plea is the end of a sad storyin which dozens of greyhounds suffered and died. Today, my thoughts are with those dogs.

Posted by CTheil at 1:14 PM
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Top Recipients of Greyhound Racing Subsidies Contribute Thousands to Tomblin Campaign

Grey2Kusa – 09-28-11

Top Recipients of Dog Racing Subsidies Contribute Thousands to Tomblin Campaign

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 12:59 PM PDT

With only days left in the race for West Virginia governor, greyhound breeders are simultaneously defending candidate Earl Ray Tomblin, while at the same time trying to distance themselves from him.

For example, this morning the Charleston Daily Mail published a letter from Sam Burdette, the president of the West Virginia Greyhound Owners and Breeders Association. In his letter, Burdette defends Tomblin from what he says are “false and negative campaign accusations,” but then claims that Tomblin hasn’t actually helped greyhound breeders:

“Also, we have occasion to go to the Legislature on bills relating to the greyhound industry. We have not known Earl Ray to insert his influence into legislative action relating to the business.”

What greyhound breeders are saying in public, however, contrasts sharply with what they are saying in private. On May 15, greyhound breeder Dean Miner urged other breeders across the country to support Tomblin and contribute to his campaign. He urged breeders to send checks directly to him, and said that he would bundle the checks together and they would be “hand delivered to Governor Tomblin.” He further added:

“It’s been my experience hand delivering goes a long, long way.”

Miner’s message, which was posted on an internet site used by the dog racing industry, made it clear that Tomblin’s election would benefit greyhound breeders like himself:

“You can’t do better in this lifetime, but to have a Governor who has family that owns greyhounds, a kennel and a farm. If you don’t get involved now then I don’t know what to say.”

Miner’s investment in Tomblin has the potential to pay huge dividends. In return for his maximum donation of $1,000, which he gave to Tomblin on July 14, 2011, he can try to ensure that the subsidies he receives under the Greyhound Development Fund continue. In 2010, Miner received $225,986.11 in greyhound subsidies, placing him ninth in total subsidy dollars.

Dean Miner is not the only top recipient of greyhound subsidies who apparently thinks Tomblin is a good bet. Half of the top ten recipients of greyhound subsidies in 2010 have donated to the Tomblin campaign this year:

  • The fifth largest recipient of greyhound subsidies, Harvey Maupin Jr., gave the maximum $1,000 to the Tomblin campaign in two separate contributions dated May 10 and August 18. His wife Loretta also gave the maximum $1,000 in two contributions, also dated May 10 and August 18. In 2010, Maupin received $248,773.83 in greyhound subsidies.
  • The seventh largest recipient of greyhound subsidies, Rondis Cavender, gave $500 to the Tomblin campaign in two contributions on May 6 and June 1. In 2010, Cavender received $237,117.64 in greyhound subsidies.

Finally, it is worth noting that the author of today’s letter, Sam Burdette, gave the Tomblin campaign $100 on June 14.

Next Tuesday, we’ll find out if the bet greyhound breeders have made in West Virginia will pay off. I’m hopeful that Mountain State voters will instead make a humane choice and opt for Bill Maloney for Governor.

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Limit Aid to Greyhound Racing Industry

Limit Aid to Racing Industry

June 18, 2011
By MIKE MYER , Editor – The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
A word of advice to Ohio Gov. John Kasich from a state that has been there, done that:
Don’t let the horse racers rip your state off. Be glad you don’t have to worry about the greyhound breeders.
Kasich’s administration pulled off something of a coup this week. It involves video gambling machines at Ohio racetracks.
State negotiators have worked out a deal that would allow video gambling at Ohio’s seven horse racing tracks. Each would pay $50 million for a license, plus 33.5 percent of revenue from the electronic slots. That may be too low, but that’s an argument for another day.
Today, let’s look at what happens to the 66.5 percent the tracks get to keep.
Reportedly, track owners will have to give a cut of that to the “horse-racing industry.” How big a chunk has yet to be determined.
That’s where we in West Virginia already have been. What we’ve already done is provide a bonanza to the horse- and dog-racing industries.
Part of the revenue from video gambling at our state’s four tracks (two for dogs, two for horses) goes to special funds benefiting those involved in the businesses.
Last year the W.Va. Thoroughbred Development Fund handed out $8,143,526 to Mountaineer Park in Chester and the Charles Town Races in the Eastern Panhandle. Tracks use the money to pay prizes to racehorse breeders, raisers and owners. The idea, according to state law, is to “promote better breeding and racing of thoroughbred horses in the state …”
Another account, the Greyhound Development Fund, goes straight to racing dog breeders. Last year it handed out $5,358,084 to several dozen greyhound breeders. Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s mother, operating as Tomblin Kennel Inc., received $268,410. His brother, Carl, received $38,844. Since 2000, the Tomblin family reportedly has raked in about $2.5 million from greyhound racing, though the governor staunchly denies any conflict of interest.
Six-figure payouts to greyhound breeders are not uncommon. Last year, one collected $655,012.
During one year alone, the horse- and dog-racing funds paid out more than $13.5 million. That’s enough to build a fairly nice new school.
Those involved in the dog- and horse-racing industries get upset when payments out of the special funds are questioned. Why, the money supports important industries and provides jobs for West Virginians, they say.
Yes, the payments do provide some jobs. But “important” industries? Give me a break. West Virginia has quite a few important businesses and industries that don’t receive a dime from video gambling.
Don’t even bother with the argument that subsidies are needed to keep the tracks open. The only reason they need horse and dog racing is that state law requires it if they are to operate video gambling machines.
Ohio already has special funds, something like West Virginia’s, to bolster the racing industry (all horses, both harness and thoroughbred, in the Buckeye State). But Ohio’s Thoroughbred Race Fund and Standardbred Development Fund (for harness racing) paid out just $2,926,894 last year.
One can almost envision those involved in the Ohio horse-racing industry rubbing their hands together in anticipation. Hey, if little West Virginia can cough up $13.5 million a year for horse and dog racing, what might the possibilities be for Ohio, with seven tracks?
That’s where Kasich and state legislators need to be wary. It’s one thing to provide money to maintain horse racing. It’s quite another to do what happened in West Virginia – to provide a pot of gold for the dog- and horse-racing industries.
Going into the current two-year cycle, Kasich and Ohio legislators had to slash spending – including that for schools – to close an $8 billion hole in the budget.
Surely the state has better uses for video gambling revenue than to give a big boost to the horse-racing industry.
Myer can be reached via e-mail at
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Texas Racing Commission soft on greyhound abuse

Will the Texas Racing Commission Stand Up for Crispin the Greyhound?

“On Valentines Day, Crispin suffered a broken leg during an unofficial schooling race at Gulf Greyhound Park. When this serious injury occurred, it was the responsibility of trainer Craig Edwards to make sure Crispin received prompt veterinary care. However, according to state records:

“Mr. Edwards failed to seek medical treatment for the greyhound until 2/16/11 thus subjecting the greyhound to unnecessary suffering.”

As shocking as this neglect is, what happened next may be even more disturbing. Although the Texas Racing Commission officially ruled that Crispin had been the subject of “inhumane treatment,” they only fined Edwards a paltry $500, without suspending his license for even a single day.”

Read entire comments.

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Troubled Alabama dog track ending live races (greyhound)

The Associated Press May 11, 2011, 8:43 AM ET
The financially troubled VictoryLand in Shorter is ending live dog racing, officials said Tuesday.
Chief Operating Officer Lewis Benefield said electronic bingo games subsidized live greyhound racing for many years, and live races are no longer feasible now that bingo is shut down.
He said daily races will end after Saturday. Races for young greyhounds will be held May 18, 21, 25 and 30. Then all live racing will be suspended after a run of nearly 27 years. Simulcast dog and horse races will remain at VictoryLand daily except Tuesdays.
A track spokesman said the end of live dog racing will result in 200 layoffs, but he couldn’t say how many employees would remain to handle simulcast racing and food service.
The track missed paying its property taxes at the end of 2010, and its owner, Milton McGregor, faces trial June 6 on charges accusing him of buying votes for pro-gambling legislation that could have protected electronic bingo games.
VictoryLand once had about 2,000 employees at its dog track, casino, restaurants and hotel, but the casino and hotel closed last year during the state government’s crackdown on privately operated electronic bingo casinos.
“Greyhound racing will resume when we can again offer the electronic bingo games which for many years subsidized the cost of live racing,” Benefield said.
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Governor Tomblin attacked for greyhound racing affiliation in West Virginia

Thursday May 5, 2011
Tomblin attacked for racing affiliation
Perdue releases ad saying acting governor helped steer millions into dog breeding industry
Daily Mail Capitol Reporter
Charleston Daily Mail
West Virgina
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s affiliations with the dog racing industry have spurred an attack from one of his opponents in the race for governor.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Treasurer John Perdue released an ad Wednesday attacking Tomblin for helping steer millions of dollars to dog breeding interests owned by Tomblin’s mother and brother.
“I believe the record of Earl Ray Tomblin is shot through with examples of bad priorities and self dealing,” Perdue said in a statement accompanying the ad. “This is exactly the kind of behavior that the people of West Virginia are sick and tired of from their elected officials.”
The attack marked the first assault of the campaign season on the long simmering issue of Tomblin’s ties to the industry.
Both Tomblin’s mother, Freda Tomblin, and brother, Carl Tomblin, have received money from the state’s Greyhound Breeding Development Fund. That includes at least $2.5 million since 2000, according to state records.
The Legislature started setting aside money for dog racing in 1993 as an incentive for dog owners to breed greyhounds. There is a nearly identical fund to encourage horse racing.
 Tomblin, who is now acting as governor by virtue of being Senate president, was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee when the fund was created.
Other rival campaigns have yet to go publicly negative on Tomblin, though they have peppered reporters with suggestions about stories on Tomblin and his family’s connections to the industry.
The Tomblin campaign said Perdue was getting into “cheap politics.”
“We are disappointed that because his unrealistic ideas continue to fall flat with voters, John Perdue’s desperate campaign has resorted to false personal attacks,” Tomblin spokesman Chris Stadelman said in an email.
“Unrealistic ideas” was a reference to Perdue’s signature promise to freeze and roll back utility rates if he is elected governor. That’s something governors do not have the current legal authority to do.
“Voters won’t be fooled by this kind of cheap politics because they understand that Gov. Tomblin has an unblemished career in public life and is focused on the things that matter: creating jobs and lowering taxes for the people of West Virginia,” Stadelman said.
In the ad, which went online Wednesday morning, the Perdue campaign says “Tomblin abused his power to give $2 million in state money to his own family.” The Perdue campaign said that was from 1993 to now.
But the actual figure appears to be higher than that, according to information on breeding payments to Tomblin family businesses from the state Racing Commission. Part of that information was provided to the Daily Mail by a rival campaign that requested it under the state Freedom of Information Act.
Racing Commission records show $2.5 million has been paid since 2000 to Tomblin Kennel Inc., which is owned by Freda Tomblin, or specifically to Carl Tomblin.
That includes nearly $900,000 in payouts that have apparently not been previously made public.
That’s because between the summer of 2007 and the summer of 2010, the Racing Commission was using a point system to distribute funds. That system has since been scrapped.
In mid-April, the commission said in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request that “the payment information represented in ‘points’ cannot be converted into dollars at this time.”
Since then, Jon Amores, executive secretary of the state Racing Commission, has said a spreadsheet was found that appears to account for spending during that period. Just over $890,000 in three years went to Tomblin family interests.
Development funds exist at each of the state’s four racetrack/casinos. Each is required to set aside 16 percent of slot machine revenue to pay awards for horse and greyhound races. These so-called purse funds help prop up the ailing racing industry.
Freda Tomblin has previously defended the fund, arguing that raising greyhounds is a costly business.
“It’s just like raising a garden,” she told the Daily Mail in 1997. “If you don’t take care of it, you don’t have vegetables.”
Read remainder of article
Contact writer Ry Rivard at ry.riv…
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Greyhounds score victory in the Florida Senate

April 29, 2011
The Florida Senate approved the bill to remove the requirement that dog tracks offer live racing in order to keep their licenses. The vote on SB 1594 was a strong 25-14! Once the bill is reconciled with its House counterpart, it will advance to Governor Rick Scott for his signature.

We are getting closer and closer to the day when greyhounds will no longer be running around in circles at tracks, breaking their legs and sometimes dying, just so someone can place a $2 bet on them. We are getting closer and closer to the day when these gentle friends will be let out of their cages for good.

Please thank each Senator who spoke in support of ending dog racing today

Listen up West Virginia!
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