Dog racing is illegal in the State of Idaho, because of the heinous treatment of greyhounds allowed by the Greene Group at their track in Post Falls in the early-to-mid 1990’s. In 1995, Spokesman-Review investigative reporter J. Todd Foster exposed the nightmarish conditions in which the dogs were kept, and the unthinkable treatment they received. In response to the newspaper coverage, public outcry, and massive lobbying effort by greyhound lovers, in 1996, the Idaho legislature passed a law that banned all live dog racing in the state.
In response to concerns about the potential loss of jobs in Post Falls, where the greyhound track was located, the simulcasting of dog racing was grandfathered in and allowed to continue for a period of three years, but only at tracks that had been licensed for live dog racing prior to January 1, 1996. At the time, Phil Batt was Governor.
When Governor Batt decided not to run for re-election and Dirk Kempthorne took the helms of the state, the sunset clause was removed from the law. The simulcasting of dog racing was allowed to continue beyond the initial three years but, once again, only at facilities that had been licensed for live dog racing prior to January 1, 1996.
Later, there was another change made to the law. This additional change allows the simulcasting of dog racing to take place at a substitute facility for one that was licensed for live dog racing prior to January 1, 1996, but only within the same county where the live dog racing took place. The only county in which I can find evidence that live dog racing was ever licensed was Kootenai, where the Greene Group’s Post Falls Greyhound Park is located.
I have made several inquiries and can find no evidence that a live dog racing license has ever been issued at Les Bois Park, or anywhere else within Ada County. According to Idaho law, that would mean that every time Treasure Valley Racing’s Greene Group operators broadcast greyhound races at Ada County-owned Les Bois Park, they are committing a felony.
Am I shocked? No. Surprised? No. As I have pointed out previously, the Greene Group folks seem to believe they are above the law. They have put so much money in the pockets of Idaho politicians – from the governor on down to county commissioners – they apparently believe they are immune from prosecution. So far, they have been right.
Here’s the law:
54-2514A.Dog racing illegal after the effective date of this act. On and after the effective date of this act, live dog races and pari-mutuel betting on such races or the training of dogs to compete in live dog races shall be illegal in the state of Idaho. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the provisions of this section shall not be deemed to alter or affect simulcasts and simulcast pari-mutuel wagering at a facility that was licensed and authorized prior to January 1, 1996, to conduct live dog races and pari-mutuel wagering on them prior to the effective date of this act, and horse and dog race simulcasts and pari-mutuel wagering on such simulcasts may be conducted at that facility, or at an alternate facility in the same county and approved by the commission as if the facility were still licensed and under the same conditions and restrictions imposed by law on a licensee. Under no circumstances shall the provisions of this section or section 54-2512, Idaho Code, be used to grant more than one (1) license to conduct simulcast pari-mutuel wagering in any county. Any person participating or conducting a live dog race or pari-mutuel betting on such a live dog race or the training of dogs to compete in live dog races in violation of this section shall be guilty of a felony.