Today is


Greyhound Memorial - July 27, 2002

Back on July 27, there a memorial held for the Greyhounds that were found in Alabama, and for all Greyhounds who have died in the name of racing. Many people in many cities across the country participated in this memorial. It was organized by GREY2KUSA.

Below is the speech that Marilyn Varnberg wrote for the memorial held by her group, Greyhound Adoptions of FLA.

"My name is Marilyn Varnberg and I represent Greyhound Adoptions of Florida. I am here tonight not only to memorialize the thousands of greyhounds lost to us over the years, but to give you a little information about our experiences with greyhound rescue.

While may adoption groups deal primarily with retired racers, we have found that there are hundreds and hundreds of greyhounds who never race. They are puppies who are deemed too slow or have been injured as youngsters. There are countless brood moms on farms all over this state who spend their lives producing puppies and then are discarded. There are dogs who sustain a career ending injury on the track who are immediately destroyed. When any greyhound no longer turns a profit for its owner, it serves no purpose for the industry.

If a dog cannot find a place within an adoption group, if it is not needed for breeding, it dies. The thousands of greyhounds that died a lonely and frightening death in Alabama are only the tip of the iceberg. How many more "Alabamas" exist that we know nothing about? And how many more gentle greyhounds will have to die before something is done?

His name is Rooster and he is two years old. We were told he shattered his foot while racing and either we took him or he would be euthanized. What we found was massive infection in his left rear foot but no broken bones. Today this gentle boy is well on his way to recovery and will soon be looking for a family of his own. He stands here tonight, a survivor, telling you that he wanted to live... he deserved to live and because someone cared, he was spared the fate of the Alabama thousands and the multitude of greyhounds who never ever had a chance. It is for Rooster and all the Roosters scattered across this country that we continue our battle for the lives of this breed.

Since the end of March, Greyhound Adoptions of Florida has taken in 36 injured or broken legged dogs from the Orlando track. Each of those dogs would have been euthanized by an uncaring industry because their money making days were over. Sadly, the responsibility for these lives has fallen on our shoulders as there is no owner responsibility involved... the financial and moral obligation does not exist within the industry. We did not create this situation and yet we are either expected to come forward and help these dogs or stand back and continue to watch them being destroyed by the hundreds every week. This is unacceptable to anyone with a conscience.

The time has come that the general public be made aware of what we do and why we HAVE to do this. To look into the eyes of a helpless animal and condemn it to death is an atrocity that should not be. To try to imagine the horror that each gentle greyhound felt as a gun was held to its head in Alabama is disgusting. To know that the euthanasia needle is poised over a dog who has just broken a limb while trying to make money for some human is abhorrent.

The Sport of Death

"Their bodies were scattered," the paper read.
Lean, long-legged greyhounds,
A bullet in each head.
72 greyhounds were found that way
In a garbage-strewn lemon field
On a still winter day.

The dogs were so young - most two or three
What crime did they do
That deserved this cruelty?
The judge was their trainer - the crime was, "Too slow."
The verdict was "Guilty,"
To the death field they'd go.
These trusting dogs were led there that day
By the trainer they'd worked for-
Their trust he'd betray.
Each greyhound was shot as their sentence that day.
For what humans call "Sport,"
What a price these dogs pay!

Written by Julie Shenk... age 15

If a 15 year old girl has the wisdom and compassion to write such a poem, why cannot the world see what is happening to our beloved greyhounds?

Look around you at the greyhounds who were lucky enough to be spared that ate and you will see what is good and right... dogs who are part of a family, who are loved and cared for. But at the same time remember that it was just luck for that particular dog that gave him or her the chance to live. Thousands upon thousands of others were not that lucky.

I lift my candle of remembrance high tonight, to show the world that we will never forget those who died alone and to remind the world that we will never cease our battle for the life of each and every greyhound born. Raise your candle high to show every greyhound who flies free above the earth that not all men are cruel... that there are those of us who will continue to fight for their brothers and sisters as long as we live, and they will not have died in vain.

To the Alabama thousands, and to all that have gone before them, we ask for eternal peace. May they know that they are not forgotten."

Marilyn Varnberg, copywrite 2002


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