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.
NO! to Greene Group! I was involved with Greyhound Rescue/Idaho when dog racing was outlawed in Idaho in 1996. I have never been able to understand why the grandfather clause could be ingored and the law adjustd and changed. If I ignored or tried to adjust a serious offense…I would go to jail. Leasing Les Bois racing facility to a goup involved with the Green Group was very bad business. Some of us raised our voices at that time and were ignored. Simulcasts of dog races supports the live races conducted in another state. $$$$$ from the simulcasts of dog races have gone…not to support Greyhound rescue…. but to the support of the horse racing industry.
Thank you, Com. Uhllman
This is an excellent job, Comissioner Uhllman! I did all I personally could (not very much) to stop this action this Spring. I guess I have been living in “La-La Land” because I was SHOCKED that the Greene Group was given the go-ahead IN SPITE OF evidence that this was a bad thing for Idaho, the dogs and the horses. It was apparently bad for everyone but Greene Group and whoever they are “friends” with. People who I thought were above voting anything but their conscience voted FOR Greene Group – even after KNOWING what they are! I was very frustrated. Thank you for this work – for I know you have worked hard – all the research you did isn’t laying right there for you to just see. You must find it. Thank you for pursuing this!! Thank you for voting and working according to your morals and your conscience!!
Big thank you to Idaho from myself and my three rescued greyhounds for banning the bloody, cruel sport of live racing! Thank you Ms. Ullman for continuing to defend these innocent dogs! Let’s keep working to ban simulcasting in Idaho and the horrors of greyhound racing worldwide!!
Ms. Ullman Before you go about casting the claim of felonies I would suggest that you talk with the people at the State Racing Commission. After having read your blog IO did contact them to find out why they were allowing the broadcasting and I was told because they weren’t breaking the law. I was told that do to the fact that Les Bois had begun broadcasting Dog racing in 1964 that they weren’t in violation of the statute.
You might, indeed, have been told by the Idaho Racing Commission that the Greene Group is not breaking the law because there was simulcast dog racing at Les Bois Park starting in 1964. There are numerous problems with that argument, however.
First, according to the information I have Les Bois Park didn’t even open until 1970. Second, according to the Idaho Racing Commission’s past annual reports (see 2004, for example): “In 1987, the Act was amended, changing the name of the Idaho State Horse Racing Commission to the Idaho State Racing Commission. The amendment was needed to allow greyhound racing which began in August 1988.
It continues, “In the 1990 legislative session, the Legislature passed Idaho Code § 54-2512 providing for simulcasting of racing events that take place in other locations.”
The Idaho Racing Commission’s own documents indicate that simulcasting was not even authorized by the Idaho Legislature until 1990. How, then, could legal simulcasting of dog racing have taken place at a facility that wasn’t even in existence yet?!
In addition, and more to the point, if you will read the section of code I posted, it is necessary for a facility to have had a LIVE dog racing license prior to January 1, 1996 in order to qualify to do simulcast dog racing today. This provision was placed in the law as an effort to try to retain jobs at the Post Falls Greyhound Park when live dog racing was banned during the 1996 legislative session. There has never been live greyhound racing at Les Bois Park.
You might also want to consider the fact that, this year, the Idaho Racing Commission DID issue live and simulcast licenses to the operators of Les Bois Park, so they look pretty bad if these folks are now committing multiple felonies – especially after I warned them of potential problems with the Greene Group operators.
The Idaho Racing Commission is supported by taxes collected on wagering on live and simulcast racing in the State of Idaho. The vast majority of the Racing Commission’s funding (over 90 percent, I believe) comes from Les Bois Park. Without that source of revenue, they would be hard pressed to stay in business. The Idaho Racing Commission therefore clearly DOES have a dog in this fight – multiple conflicts of interest – and is therefore not a reliable source of information on this issue or for making a legal determination on whether the law is currently being violated.
Do not surrender to greed. The useless and needless injury and destruction of these beautiful pedigreed dogs in the name of profit and very questionable “entertainment” is a throwback to the gladiator days of Rome, and we know what happened to the Roman Empire.
Thank you Commissioner Ullman for taking up this fight!! I thought I was prepared for coniditions of the greyhounds when we decided to adopted a retired racer, until they arrived at the meeting area. I could not believe what conditions these graceful, loving animals surived through! Watching all of these sweet animals come out of the cramped breaders trailer, where they could not even stand up in broke my heart. Watching them all enjoy their baths, having the ticks removed and the attention we all lavished on them was wonderful. After the vet examined them all, told us what special needs they would have – including special food requirments because thier teeth had rotted out due to no dental care – we took our 4 yr old male and 7 yr old female home. Retirement agreed with them! I cannot see how anyone can treat another living thing like these dogs are treated. I hope that one day all of the tracks are closed and these beautiful animals live long, happy lives with loving families. Keep up the good fight! There are many of us standing behind you to back you up!
I certainly appreciate your efforts and stand with you against this simulcasting of greyhound races…I’m a Greyhound Mom, I know first hand of the abuse these beautiful animals have suffered. The Greene Group is making money off of these precious animals but it isn’t right. They are simulcasting live dog races which is against the law. How about we get back to doing the right thing. Thank you Sharon for being a Voice for the greyhounds.