Southland announces end to an era; greyhound racing to be phased out by 2022

Updated: Oct. 17, 2019 at 9:59 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Southland Casino Racing has announced it will be phasing out greyhound racing.

“I didn’t realize it was going to be that quick," said Rick Chetter, Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option president.

Rick Chetter is president of Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option and also owns a greyhound.

He said he knew Southland was going to phase out its greyhound racing, but he didn’t know when.

Southland is Arkansas’s only greyhound racing track.

The racing will be phased out over a three-year period.

With a reduction from Southland races in 2019 with 6,656, to 4,992 in 2020, then drop to 3,994 in 2021 and finally, a drop in 2022 to 2,662.

“I think it will affect so many other businesses in and around the Mid-South that support it because you have the veterinarians, the trainers, the breeders people that provide dog food," said Chetter.

One group that is very pleased with greyhound racing ending at Southland is Grey2K -- a non-profit that has been pushing for an end to greyhound racing saying it is cruel.

The group took to Twitter, saying it considered the closing of Southland to be a victory for everyone who cares about dogs.

State records show there have been a number of injuries to the racing greyhounds reported over the past several years.

Only a handful of states have greyhound racing. Florida voted to end it last year with greyhound racing in decline.

Southland says attendance and betting are down as well.

It’s phasing out the races because there are 1,200 greyhounds currently racing and the dogs will need to be adopted out -- something Rick Chetter says will not be a problem because of their excellent temperament.

“There’s so much demand for these dogs, cause when Florida just recently announced they were shutting down, their system went crazy and people said, ‘hey, we got to get one of those dogs,’” said Chetter.

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