Greyhounds run at the start of a race at the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque, Iowa. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Greyhounds run at the start of a race at the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque, Iowa. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

A flag flies over the Iowa Greyhound Park. After the end of a short season in May, the track closed. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

A flag flies over the Iowa Greyhound Park. After the end of a short season in May, the track closed. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Greyhounds stand in a holding area before being weighed prior to a race. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Greyhounds stand in a holding area before being weighed prior to a race. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Greyhounds compete in a race. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Greyhounds compete in a race. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

The cover of a racing program at the Iowa Greyhound Park (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

The cover of a racing program at the Iowa Greyhound Park (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Peggy Janiszewski looks over a race program at the Iowa Greyhound Park. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Peggy Janiszewski looks over a race program at the Iowa Greyhound Park. (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Goodbye to Greyhound Racing

Posted: July 1, 2022

3, 2, 1, GO!

Tall, lean dogs run with all their might around a track in Dubuque, Iowa. Fans cheer. They wait eagerly to see if their favorite greyhound wins.

But something puts a damper on the fun: Enthusiasts know the sport is almost extinct. This track is about to close.

Greyhound racing was very popular in the 1980s. Back then, racing buffs streamed to more than 50 tracks across 19 states. Support has been sliding ever since—especially since people started asking, Are racing greyhounds really treated well?”

Many say no. They say: Some dog racers keep their dogs cooped up when they’re not running. Some use drugs to increase their speed. Some even kill dogs that don’t run fast enough. Dogs also risk injury on the racetrack.

But not everyone agrees that racing harms greyhounds. Greyhounds love to run,” supporters say. Plus, some people love having retired racing dogs as pets. And some trainers treat racing greyhounds “like kings and queens.”

Many tracks have already closed. After the Dubuque track shutters, only two will be left. They’re both in West Virginia.

“Do I think the industry is dying? Yes,” says Gwyneth Anne Thayer. She wrote a history of greyhound racing. But “it’s happening way faster than I thought it would.”

Peggy Janiszewski and her friend Robin Hannan have for years driven to Dubuque to watch the racing. Some people go to bet on the races. But these friends are more interested in watching the dogs than counting their winnings.

“They’re beautiful,” says Janiszewski. “Like works of art.”

Why? God gave humans dominion over creation. That means they have the privilege and responsibility to care for it—greyhounds included.