One of the most prominent Greyhound breeding families in the country is being investigated by Weald County officials for alleged animal cruelty after an advocacy organization captured on video the banned practice of chasing and killing live rabbits with dogs It reflects.
A sheriff’s spokesman said the Weld County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the Colorado Racing Commission has turned over the video for its investigation, and officials are working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to determine whether the complaint is valid. Yes or No.
No charges have been filed.
John Lashmet, who, along with his wife Jill, operate one of Colorado’s last remaining Greyhound kennels, denied the use of “live-lure training”—a practice that is considered fraudulent and has been practiced in other states. is also a criminal offence.
“This is a horrible, inhumane practice,” said Kerry Thiel, executive director gray2k usa worldwidek, an organization dedicated to ending greyhound racing around the world. “It’s really a form of unconscious animal cruelty, and it’s a form of race-fixing.”
Thill’s organization, which captured the grainy video, alleged in a complaint to the state’s Racing Commission that the video shows violations of Colorado racing rules as well as state and federal animal cruelty statutes.
Lashmet argues that he uses “jack-a-lures”—mechanical, motorized objects that simulate the movement of a rabbit to chase dogs—not jackrabbits.
“We are on fire,” he said. “They’re going to do anything — if it’s true or if it’s a frickin’ lie.”
Greyhound racing in the United States continues to decline in popularity as Weld County investigates, with animal welfare complaints and other gambling options leaving it on the verge of extinction.
Recent Florida voted to put an end to greyhound racing, while Arkansas will be involved At the end of the next year, only Iowa and West Virginia were left to host dog races in the US. Meanwhile, a bipartisan bill in Congress could make unionizing greyhound racing illegal.
Still, there’s a lot of money to be made on these races – half a billion dollars were bet on dogs this year, according to Gray2’s estimates. Colorado, with $32.7 million bets on greyhound races in 2019, is behind only Florida and Texas for dog-racing action.
Big run, big money, big following
Greyhound racing used to be king in Colorado.
Before the Broncos and Avalanche, the Nuggets and Rockies, one of Colorado’s biggies, could be seen at the Mile High Kennel Club in Commerce City on Saturday night.
“Everybody came out to Mile High,” Jim Larson, the club’s former mutual – or betting – manager, told The Denver Post in 2011. “The governor had a box in the grandstand. So did the mayor of Denver.”
Known as “The Big Store”, The Kennel Club amassed enormous amounts of cash from the betting public – sometimes up to $1 million a night. Dog-racing fanatics also frequent the pueblo, Colorado Springs, Loveland, and Byers, among other locations in Colorado.
But as casinos and other gambling options began to pop up across the country, greyhound racing lost some of its novelty. This, combined with a growing movement of animal welfare activists calling the sport cruel and inhumane, helped propel greyhound racing to the fringes of American fantasy.
The last race in Colorado was on June 28, 2008, and six years later, Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law making greyhound racing illegal in the state.
While dogs are no longer allowed to run, there is nothing that people cannot breed them to compete elsewhere. But there is only one other dog breeder in Colorado, outside of Greeley’s Lashnet venture.
However, lashmates are doing more than just raising dogs. They are breeding victors.
They race dogs at a track in Arkansas, West Virginia, and Tijuana, Mexico, where greyhound racing is legal.
Lashmet said there are fewer than 100 dogs on his farm these days, with over 200 at their peak.
Proof of Live Greed Training?
On June 10, a Grey2K investigator captured video of Lashmates’ field, in which a man can be seen dropping a small white object into a large pen.
Soon after, a handful of dogs begin chasing the white spot, which moves from one side of the pen to the other.
The video is fuzzy and taken from afar, but Grey2 director Thal said the white spot is a live rabbit—evidence, he alleged, that the lashmates engage in live-greed training.
Over the course of an hour, their investigator filmed 15 Greyhounds using “systematic chases and five rabbits”, Gray 2K alleged in its complaint to the Colorado Racing Commission director on June 24.
“It’s definitely the same behavior” as the organization has taken live lure videos in other states, Thiel said.
Live-lure training is used to entice Greyhounds to run towards their prey, which increases the dog’s instincts mechanical rabbit chase On the track during the race.
Lashmet vehemently denied the allegation, saying he does not use live rabbits. He briefly answered some of The Denver Post’s questions but chose not to comment on others.
Referring to Grey2K, Lashmet said, “No one should be allowed to attack the industry.” “It’s just another way for Grey2K to attack us.”
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Joe Moylan said Weld County Sheriff’s Office animal control officers went out to Lashmet Farm twice, but found no evidence of rabbits.
“We are not even close to a real resolution yet,” he said.
A 2019 inspection by the state’s Division of Racing Events – the last held before the pandemic – called Lashmets Kennel “Very organized and clean!” found. While the pen “looks great!”, the investigator wrote.
Grey2K argued in its complaint to the state racing agency that “the horrific activities described here violate state humanitarian laws and, given their interstate connections, also trigger a newly expanded federal statute punishing animal cruelty.”
In addition to allegations of animal cruelty, Greyhound racing officials have stated that live-lure training is a form of race fixing and is banned in most places where races take place.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission wrote, “The Board considers the use of live-lure training for Greyhounds to be dishonest, undesirable, harmful and conduct that reflects negatively on the integrity and best interests of racing in the State of Iowa.” Decision of 1st September 2020. “Additionally, the Board considers the use of live-lure training to train a Greyhound to be the conduct of a person who is not of good standing and moral character.”
The future of greyhound racing
Over the past year and a half, Grey2K has documented several examples of live-lure training in other states.
Iowa Gaming Officials in August 2020 racing license suspended The organization captured video Greyhounds after two Greyhound owners killed the live rabbits.
In Oklahoma, Grey2K investigators filmed 45 greyhounds the killing Dozens of jackfruits.
These investigations, as well as similar ones in Texas and Kansas, prompted a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Washington, DC to introduce a bill this year to ban greyhound racing and live-lure training.
“Greyhound racing is cruel and must end,” US Representative Tony Cardenas, a Democrat from California, said in May News release Announcing the introduction of the bill. “These docile animals are kept in stacked cages for 20 hours or more a day and subjected to brutal training practices and races, posing the risk of injury and death at every turn.”
Jim Gartland, Executive Director of the National Greyhound Association, told the Associated Press Humane treatment of animals was included in the association’s bylaws last year, refuting the notion that the industry abuses dogs or uses live bait.
But these are the same promises the industry has been making for decades, Thiel said. Recent investigations, he said, “indicate us that this practice is common across the industry.”
“The only conclusion you can draw from this is that the industry never stopped live-lure training,” he said.
To stop the practice, Thiel said, law enforcement and state regulators need to work harder on breeders engaging in these practices.
“Weld County has a decision to make,” he said. “It can either address it and send a message that this behavior will not be tolerated or they can sweep it under the rug.”