Similarly, Guccione opined that the greyhound injury rate is low based on racing "starts." The figures he cited, however, are not from West Virginia. In fact, this data is not publicly reported for Mardi Gras at all. At Wheeling, according to its own records, the number of injuries per start was higher than Guccione's claim for each of the past three years.
Next, Guccione claimed that "95 percent" of greyhounds are adopted or returned to breeding farms when they stop racing. He offers no citation for this number and has previously admitted that "no cumulative annual records are available" on the ultimate fate of racing greyhounds.
What the record does show is that greyhounds regularly suffer serious injuries in West Virginia, and thousands of dogs endure lives of terrible confinement. As I write this letter, thousands of West Virginia dogs are being kept for long hours each day in stacked cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around. Additionally, since 2009, there have been seven documented cases of greyhound cruelty and neglect in the state involving failure to feed dogs, hitting dogs and failure to provide pain relief and basic veterinary care. This is just no way to treat a dog.
Finally, as reported in this paper, gambling on live dog races in West Virginia has dropped sharply, yet breeders continue to be subsidized with tens of millions of dollars annually. These funds come from slot machine and other unrelated gambling profits, and could instead be used for state programs.
These are facts. Now, it is up to West Virginians to decide how to address this issue.
Christine A. Dorchak
President and General Counsel
Health-care act needs time to work
The Republicans are, as usual, lying about the president and the Affordable Care Act. It may not be perfect, but it is the first step on the way to universal health coverage for all.
We are the richest country the world has ever seen, yet millions of people go to bed hungry each night or cannot see a doctor. If the Republicans have an alternate plan, why don't they put it forward instead of trying to derail Obamacare? Anything this president puts forward they try to tear it down. Why is that? I have my own idea but I'll just let that go.
The health-care act starts today. Let us give it a chance and see if it is going to work. If it needs tweaking, as many laws passed in this country do, then we can tweak it. Don't tear it down before it is even fully implemented.
Curtis F. Lanham