Amendment 13 needed just 60% of Tuesday’s votes to pass in Florida, but more than 5.3 million voters, or 69%, cast their ballots in favor of it—meaning by the end of 2020, legal dog racing in the Sunshine State will be no more, NBC News reports.
It’s a “knockout blow to a cruel industry that has been hurting and killing dogs for nearly a century,” says the Committee to Protect Dogs, one of the lobbyists for the statewide ban, per the Orlando Sentinel.
State records note that more than 460 dogs have died at Florida tracks just since 2013, the first year such data started being gathered, the Miami Herald notes. The news is sure to make national waves as well, considering Florida hosts 11 of the country’s remaining 17 active dog tracks. The industry will essentially be “swept away in the night,” says the director of greyhound advocacy group GREY2K USA.
The issue now: what to do with the 5,000 to 7,000 greyhounds that will soon be forced into early retirement.
A rep for the National Greyhound Association says “98%” of dogs who leave racing are adopted, and most of the rest head to farms to breed. But the head of a greyhound adoption group says not only will homes need to be found for the still-racing dogs, but also for the young dogs on breeding farms that haven’t found their way to the track yet.
“Some of these dogs might end up at shelters, and they’re not all no-kill,” she tells NBC. “That’s the scary part.” Other states where dog racing remains legal include Iowa, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, and Texas.
(At least a dozen greyhounds tested positive for cocainein Florida last year.)