A proposed constitutional amendment that would ban greyhound racing in Florida has been struck down by a Leon County circuit court judge. The ruling was followed by a pledge from Attorney General Pam Bondi to immediately appeal the decision.
Bondi, who sat on the Constitution Revision Commission which placed the amendment on the ballot and who supports the proposed ban, said in a statement that “we will appeal this decision immediately and seek an expedited review by the Florida Supreme Court.”
Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers ruled Wednesday, siding with the Florida Greyhound Association, that the wording of the proposed amendment does not provide voters with a clear description of what the amendment would actually do.
“Contrary to the words presented for consideration by the voters, the amendment would not end dog racing, nor would it eliminate wagering on dog racing,” Gievers said in her opinion.
While the amendment would ban the wagering on live greyhound races, it would still allow for the betting on other races broadcast from other states.
“In short, proposed Amendment 13 is misleading and inaccurate and incomplete, while adding up to a ’hide the ball,” ‘fly a false flag’ and outright ‘trickeration,’” Gievers wrote in her opinion.
The proposed amendment would ban commercial dog racing in Florida after Dec. 31, 2020. The amendment would have to be approved by 60 percent of the voters in order to be enacted.
Protect Dogs-Yes on 13 campaign, an animal rights group that backs the amendment, says it will also appeal the ruling.
“This is the first step on a long road, and we are confident that the Florida Supreme Court will uphold the amendment,” the group said in a statement released late Wednesday. “This lawsuit is a desperate attempt to prevent voters from having a voice on whether greyhound confinement and deaths should continue.”