Letters to the Editor
Vote yes on Three
To the Editor:
Yes. Greyhounds love to run. But not to entertain humans at the so-called sport of dog racing! And not at the cost of spending 23 out of 24 hours in a small cage with a muzzle on. We who have or have rescued these gentle, wonderful dogs can tell you how grateful they are to be treated with dignity and love and can't give enough love back! Please vote Yes on Question Three to stop this exploitation of greyhounds at dog tracks in Massachusetts! You'll sleep better on the night of Nov. 4th!
Nancy and Donald Billings
No on Question 1
To the Editor:
More than 40 percent of the income of Martha's Vineyard Community Services comes from state contracts. We are very thankful that we have just come through the 9C state budget cuts relatively unscathed. However, in order to maintain the quality of services we provide to the Island community, we must be constantly vigilant.
Though the income tax question received little attention when it was last on the ballot in 2002, political observers were stunned by 45 percent of the vote being in favor of eliminating the state income tax. At the time, a gallon of gas cost less than $1.50, home prices were soaring, and the economy, if imperfect, was not the dominant issue.
Voters for months have endured unemployment increases, flat or decreasing wages and home values, a rising cost of living, and, for the last month, have watched with unease and even panic as stock prices plunged and the credit crisis spread around the world.
In these very troubled times, when people feel so much economic uncertainty and anger toward government and Wall Street, it can be very tempting to want to keep the state income tax money you would otherwise pay. However, "we should be careful what we wish for."
In all, the state directly employs about 67,000 people at a cost of $5 billion. Others, such as teachers, police, and firefighters, are supported by aid from the state. Still others work at nonprofits such as Martha's Vineyard Community Services, caring for the mentally ill, working with persons who are disabled, and providing the many services that make our lives more livable. That works out to more than 150,000 jobs statewide.
The much-respected business-funded organization, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, issued the following report about the huge consequences of a yes vote on Question One.
"After accounting for five legally mandated state programs, the rest of state government would bear across-the-board cuts of 71.1 percent, with the loss of $12.5 billion in state income tax revenue. The cuts would affect almost all human services programs for children, elderly, and adults, courts, prisons, our state colleges and universities, state parks and environmental programs, transportation programs, state employee pensions and health benefits, Registry of Motor Vehicles and other programs.
Except for that portion of Chapter 70 aid to cities and towns that is legally mandated, state aid to cities and towns would be cut by 71 percent. The large cuts in local aid would lead to higher property taxes, which for many individuals would more than offset their income tax savings."
In order to provide our many services and programs for the Martha's Vineyard community, we need the revenue we receive from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Martha's Vineyard Community Services needs your help. Please vote no on Question One.
Martha's Vineyard Community Services
After November 4, move on
To the Editor:
This November 4 election has generated much spirited conversation and controversy, not only in the presidential campaign, but also in the local contest for our district state representative. That is as it should be. We live in a democracy. General disagreement is to be expected. However, anger and rudeness need not be part of the rhetoric. Nor should innuendo and needless persecution. We should all know by now that Barack Obama is not a Muslim that he does not associate with terrorists, that, as a Democrat, he has the support of many unions, and that compared to his opponent, he is relatively new to government.
The same appreciation for the struggle for truth and fair-mindedness should be applied to all our candidates. Regardless of our choice for state representative, whoever wins should move forward with joint support from all of us, not continuing corrosive attitudes, and with our gratitude for taking on the myriad difficulties of political office.
No time for complacency
To the Editor:
The presidential campaign has proved to be an object lesson in maximizing our political process.
I was part of a contingent of Vineyard volunteers who made the rewarding trek to southern New Hampshire, canvassing door-to-door. Islanders also made numerous phone calls to swing states to get out the vote. Now our biggest challenge is complacency.
Question Four requires your attention
To the Editor:
The Dukes County Charter Study Commission reminds voters in the November 4 election to vote on ballot Question 4, which would amend the Dukes County charter to reduce the term of county commissioners from four years to two. Currently the seven commissioners serve four-year staggered terms. If the change is adopted, all seven commissioners would serve two-year, concurrent terms.
Ballot Question Four is the only ballot question resulting from the 18-month long study of Dukes County and its existing charter by the 23-member commission, 15 members of which were elected in 2006. The study commission completed its work in May of this year and adopted eight recommendations, only one of which requires voter approval. In addition, the study commission adopted an extensive set of administrative recommendations to be adopted by the county commissioners, including one that requires action by the legislature. The legislation will limit the terms of office of the county manager and require the manager to be a resident of Dukes County. It has been approved by the county commissioners and is currently being filed. Most of the remaining recommendations have also been adopted. Only two are still under consideration.
The charter study commission found the issues that had caused widespread discontent with the county were not structural, but arose from how the affairs of the county were conducted. These did not lend themselves to solution through a restructuring of county governance. Hence the study commission recommended that county government not be abolished and that no changes be made in the form of county government, both of which the study commission was empowered to do.
With a near unanimous vote, the charter study commission decided that maintaining local control of considerable county assets and providing a ready mechanism for Island-wide cooperation to solve common problems were compelling reasons to retain Dukes County government. The strong recommendations against abolishment expressed by the county's state representatives, as well as representatives of abolished counties, reinforced this decision.
The members of the Dukes County Charter Study Commission, which includes the seven county commissioners and a representative of the county's financial advisory committee, are: William F. O'Brien 3rd, chairman; Paddy Moore, vice chairman; Jim Newman, secretary; Jeff Kristal, treasurer; John Alley, Tim Connelly, Tad Crawford, Mimi Davisson, John Early, Dan Flynn, Carlene Gatting, Tristan Israel, Leonard Jason Jr., Richard R. Knabel, Leslie Leland, Nora Nevin, Linda B. Sibley, Ted Stanley, Holly Stephenson, Paul Strauss, Roger Wey, and Woodrow Williams. Arthur Flathers, also a member, died in April.
For the complete report of the Dukes County Charter Study Commission and its Administrative Recommendations visit www.dukescounty.org on line, or consult printed copies in all Island libraries and town halls. Or, call me at 508-696-9134.
The pep threshold
To the Editor:
Since Sarah Palin exploded into the national consciousness at the Republican convention, I have wondered how to describe the persona she projects. The words that come to mind are: "bright-eyed", "perky", "vivacious", "peppy".
What I see is a ready-for-primetime cheerleader doing a great job of firing up the student body at the pep rally the night before the big game. Which reminded me that George W. Bush was a cheerleader at prep school.
There may be a lesson here for any young person harboring the aspiration to some day become president. Don't worry about making the National Honor Society or Phi Beta Kappa. But be sure to make the cheerleading team.
Robert E. L Knight
Yes on Three
To the Editor:
For the past 13 years, I have been living with at least one retired greyhound. Each of my three dogs has arrived with varying forms of trauma suffered either at the track or during training. Vitesse was kept racing until she was six; apparently she kept on winning. She was an exception, as she had obviously received good care and treatment, albeit that she had lived those six years in cages she could barely stand up in. Rhody had definitely been mistreated - she cringed when someone reached out to pet her and had never raced due to her neurotic temperament. Annie, who lived in my home for nearly a month before she even wagged her tail, is an example of the extreme mistreatment received from what was obviously a male trainer. She has been with us for two years now and will finally stay in the same room if a man comes to visit.
All three of these dogs benefitted from their new lives, living as beloved pets in a kind home. I can't stress enough the sweet, loving, and appreciative nature of greyhounds. They develop trust and devotion, given only food and kindness. And they greet their people with goofy smiles on their faces every morning.
Every greyhound deserves more than a life in a cage. Please remember to vote yes on Question Three, on November 4, to ban greyhound racing from Massachusetts. It's not too late to catch up with those caring states that have already done so.
Give each voice a chance
To the Editor:
A vote for Sen. John McCain is a vote to give our nation an opportunity to rethink the abortion issue and to have a change of mind and heart. It is not easy in the political climate of the Vineyard today to say, "Vote for John McCain." It is never easy to go against the mainstream. But in the name of democracy and in the spirit of tolerance, each voice needs to be given a chance to be heard.
When abortion was legalized, it sent the erroneous message that it is acceptable. The taking of an innocent human life needs to be rethought. It is a woman's natural instinct to protect the child in her womb. Abortion violates this maternal instinct. There are enormous consequences involved when natural order is violated. Mother Theresa of Calcutta said that abortion is the greatest destroyer of peace in our world. No wonder peace is in crisis.
Slavery, now unthinkable, was once legal. I believe that future generations will look back on legalized abortion much as we look back on slavery and question how it could have ever been legal. We need real change. We need a change of heart.
It is our civic duty to vote, but we need to be cautioned that it is not through presidents that we will have peace in the world. Peace will come through prayer and through the conversion of our hearts back to God.
No matter which candidate wins this upcoming election, I can promise you that he will be in my prayers, as will our nation, and that I will continue to pray for peace.
Margaret Mayhew Pénicaud
On Question Four, some questions
To the Editor:
Very soon the voters of Dukes County will find a question on the ballot asking for approval to make an important change to our county government. The questions and answers below may be helpful.
Will I be able to vote to abolish county government?
No. The charter study commission, after 18 months of study, recommends retaining County government with minor changes.
What will I be voting on? Vote yes to support two-year terms for elected county commissioners. Vote no if you want to keep the current four-year terms.
Why two-year terms? Several reasons: it permits voters to support or replace each County Commissioner at each two-year election cycle, thereby empowering voters with greater influence on the operation of Dukes County. Two-year terms will encourage more people to offer themselves to public service who might be unwilling to run for office because of the current four-year commitment. This in turn expands our choices of who to vote for.
On the negative side, some people say that running every two years is expensive and time-consuming. These problems can be at least partially resolved by donating money to a candidate of your choice, and/or offering to help run their campaign. The benefits far outweigh the liabilities.
Is there a chance that all the experienced county commissioners could be voted out in a single election? Yes, and there is a chance that nude sun-bathing at Lucy Vincent Beach in February will be a problem issue - possible but not probable.
How is it that the Charter Study Commission could work for 18 months and only offer this one change? Considerable examination and debate occurred to reach their recommendations. The charter study has made, and the county commission is in the process of considering and implementing, many non-binding administrative recommendations which do not require voter approval to streamline the operation, and enhance the quality of county government.
Your yes vote to adopt two-year terms will create a body of public officials who will be more accountable and responsive, and ultimately you the voter will have a broader field of candidates from which to choose.
Follow Colin Powell's lead
To the Editor:
I remember 1956. Dwight Eisenhower was our president. He had been a grand war hero of WWII. Stopped Adolph Hitler. Saved so many lives, stopped the human carnage and pillage of property. General Eisenhower charted and assured a certain level of security and relative peace that the world for so many years prospered in. Back in 1956 he was campaigning for president again, for a second term. And the way that they campaigned back in 1956 was to get on a train and cross the country, city by city, region by region. No internet. No cable news. Most people could keep up, understand things a little better, both the campaign and the process.
I was living in Hartford, Conn., in 1956. A nice place to live, grow up in. Clean, integrated schools and neighborhoods. And a place where the president's campaign thought it should make an appearance. So my mom - wise, curious, and wonderful woman that she was - thought it would be a great experience to take her children, my brother, sister and I, to the rally (of course near the train station), to greet and cheer for the president. I recall us putting on our Sunday best, catching the bus and going on down to join the party. Caught up in the naiveté of my youth and the optimism of the upswing in that point in the nation's history, my excitement was pure, innocent, and valid.
Not so today. Several presidents and generational betrayals later, we have less than one week to see if the Declaration of Independence, the American Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Bill of Rights will positively influence the election. (If you haven't already, each of us should read all of these documents, readily accessible on the web, this week). This is perhaps the most important election in America's history since the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860; Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932; or John Kennedy in 1960. We are at an abyss, a crossroads, a severely crucial point in history where we have to reexamine our personal values, preferences and priorities, and ask what's in the best interest of first, the American people, and at the same time the world populace. The two are inextricably connected.
Vote. It is your right and privilege. But also it is your chance, your obligation, to take a position, a stance; to voice your preference for the shape of the future of your life, your family's and friends' lives, and the future of your country and the world.
Most of us are aware of the perils confronting us. The war. The economy. Our deficient educational system. Insufficient healthcare for most Americans. Our National Security. All of these basic necessities which our pledge to democracy always alluded to, pointed to, promised but never quite delivered on, are what we are voting for next week.
For the past eight years, these vital issues have been largely ignored, mismanaged for the sake of the interests of those who needed to get paid, be in control, dominate. We've lost more than 4,000 American lives in foreign wars in the last few years. We're told that we're making progress in Iraq. If losing so many of our mostly young people and trillions of our precious dollars is progress, only time will tell. Where is an end in sight to this madness, the sacrificing of the lives of our future generations?
Colin Powell, a lifelong Republican, recently came out in support of Senator Obama. I've long felt that Mr. Powell has been highly conspicuous by his absence in the whole election process over the last several months. The former Secretary of State, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and advisor to the last three Republican presidents, coming out in support of Senator Obama, is a stinging indictment of the Republican party's actions over the past eight years, and a resounding endorsement of what Barack Obama and Joe Biden are trying to do.
We might do well to listen to his advice. No more of the same "Bushwacking" that we've experienced the last eight years. As Sam Cooke sang so many years ago, "A change is gonna come." Has to come. When? Hopefully, on Tuesday, November 4. Vote for change. Vote for a progressive and humane future for ourselves and our children. Vote for Obama/Biden.
Stop and Shop unfair
To the Editor:
People who shop at the Edgartown or Vineyard Haven Stop & Shop have used the discount slip they receive with their grocery receipt for gas on the Cape. It can be used at either Christy's gas or the Stop & Shop gas stations off-Island. Many people are not aware of the fact that Stop & Shop has stopped issuing these slips that get us 10 cents off per gallon. Instead they have initiated a point system toward gas at these off-Island stations and have offered them to everyone except those of us on the Vineyard and Nantucket. When I spoke to someone at the Edgartown store, he gave me a slip with a phone number to call or an address to email or write. It is totally unacceptable that we are being left out of this program, especially since we pay quite a bit more for our groceries than those folks who live off Island. If you'd like to let them know how you feel please e-mail them at www.stopandshop.com. Or phone 1-800-767-7772 Mon. through Fri. 9-5 or write to Stop and Shop Co., Consumer Affairs Dept., P.O. Box 55888, Boston, MA 02205-5888.
No place for a church
To the Editor:
This letter was written to Paul Foley and the members of the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
The neighbors who reside on Pacific Avenue and Perkins Avenue in Oak Bluffs have had a stressful several years. The vacant lot on the corner of Pacific Avenue next to the Oak Bluffs Public Library has been a thorn in the side of this quiet, residential community. However, after years of litigation, the town of Oak Bluffs made a wise decision and designated this property residential. This was a sigh of relief for the weary residents who had experienced years of toxic fumes, heavy traffic, and noise.
Now, it feels as if the neighborhood is back to square one. I know and hope that the members of the Martha's Vineyard Commission will have the wisdom and compassion to make the decisions necessary to keep this residential neighborhood quiet and aesthetically in keeping with the Duke's County, Martha's Vineyard vision.
It has been brought to my attention that the group that has purchased the lot in question does not have this neighborhood's best interests at heart. This group has and is having a negative impact on several other neighborhoods throughout Duke's County. Neighborhoods in West Tisbury and Edgartown have and are experiencing extreme noise and heavy traffic due to the events and meetings that have been held. If this lot on Pacific Avenue becomes a community center/recreation center/church and follows the trend that is already taking place then a residential neighborhood is not acceptable and is inappropriate for their purposes. Heavy traffic and daily use of loud amplified systems will jeopardize the property values of all homes in the neighborhood.
I am calling on all commissioners to reevaluate the need for this community center/recreation center/church to be erected on this lot on Pacific Avenue. Again, I fear the impact appears to be heading toward the negative. I am certainly not advocating preventing individuals from having the right to worship as they please. However, the area selected does not seem appropriate for the recreation center/community center/church that's being prepared.
As a taxpaying member of the Duke's County/Oak Bluffs community, please take my concerns under advisement, and hopefully appropriate measures will be taken to ensure the peace and tranquility that my family and I discovered three years ago.
Oak Bluffs and Bardonia, N.Y.
Vote no on Tisbury override
To the Editor:
In 2007, Tisbury's fire chief presented an article for a full-time position at an annual pay of $52,805. The voters expressed themselves clearly by voting the position down, and they thought it was finished.
Guess what? It has reared its ugly head again. This year, the fire chief of Tisbury put his pen to paper and wrote his own budget. Salaries in his budget were presented at town meeting as one line containing the three top positions. There was no discussion of any major change in his budget, and the voters unknowingly gave him a raise of $35,306. Interestingly, it was one dollar more than we voted against in 2007.
Budgets have to be passed by the selectmen and the finance department before they can go to town meeting. Who is going to accept the blame for this excessive pay increase, not to mention misuse of power? That's right, I mean those people we put into office to protect us from this sort of behavior.
In communities all over this country, budgets are being looked at and scrutinized with a fine tooth comb. Who in their right minds thought this would not be found.
Out of curiosity, I wanted to know what all the other fire chiefs are receiving for their positions. This is what I found: Oak Bluffs $12,000, part-time; Edgartown $20,000, part-time; Chilmark $19,500, part-time; West Tisbury $19,500, part-time; Aquinnah $5,535, part-time; Tisbury $52,806, part-time.
(No chiefs received any extra pay for working with the designing or building of their new or renovated Fire stations)
This salary is not written in stone, and neither is the chief's position. The spring town meeting can revise this grave misuse of power. The fire chief's salary can be returned to $17,500, where it should be for a part-time position. This has been the talk of all the fire departments throughout this Island, and it needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
We're going to vote on November 4. Please vote no on Question Five to override the preconstruction planning on the new fire station. Now is not the time. Our department is in enough turmoil.
A gift to oneself
To the Editor:
Last Wednesday evening, October 22, the hallways of Martha's Vineyard Regional High School were filled with 25- to 75-year-olds, hunting up the rooms where their adult ed courses would begin for the fall semester. With the pessimism about money, we still managed to remain optimistic about an inexpensive gift for ourselves, in the form of learning new material and skills. The winter offerings will no doubt fill more quickly, so be on the lookout for information on new and ongoing programs. The high school is the perfect setting for lifelong learning. Come join us happy students.
To the Editor:
A huge shout of thanks from a very grateful mom to all the wonderful parents who made the Oak Bluffs School Halloween party such a smash. It was obvious that lots of people put hours and hours of time and amazing effort and dedication into making it an outstanding, fun-filled time for all. And many great kids pitched in, too, with the games, refreshments, and a super-spooky haunted house. My first-grader and I had a total blast.
To the Editor:
I can understand why a loyal Republican would support John McCain. But voting for McCain entails voting for Sarah Palin as vice-president, literally a heart-stop away from the presidency. Is this in our nation's best interest?
Leaving aside the $150,000 makeover and whether or not Governor Palin can think for herself without cue cards, there is another problem. Stephen Branchflower's detailed report to a bipartisan Alaska legislative committee found that, though Palin's firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan was not illegal, her pressuring of Monegan to fire her former brother-in-law, State Trooper Michael Wooten, was an abuse of executive power. Palin also improperly allowed her husband, Todd, to use the governor's office to pursue a personal vendetta against the trooper: "Governor Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda, to wit: To get Trooper Michael Wooten fired," said the report.
Personally, I don't want to trust someone with the vice-presidency who has a history of abusing power. Do you?
Governor Palin and I have one thing in common. We are Christians. As such, we are held to the high standard set by Jesus regarding power and its use: "Among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all." (Mark 10: 41-44). Governors, presidents, "great ones" and others, take note.
End dog racing
To the Editor:
When you tell others that you hope to come back as a dog, you better be specific. You may come back as a greyhound.
Greyhound racers are denied human touch. Forget the playtime. You will be kept in a small cage and only taken out to defecate and relieve your bladder, and that is only a couple of times a day!
Yes, you will love to run, but you will have to run with a pack, and if you slip on a turn, scraps will be the least of your problems. Break a leg and that will be the end of your racing and possibly your life.
You are a product, not a pet, to be put on a track and make money. The lucky ones will be those that don't finish in front of the pack. Owners used to leave them behind to starve when they took the winners south for the winter. Now adoption agencies are given short notice to pick up the unwanted dogs that turn out to be wonderful pets to their new families.
Question 3 is not about gambling, it is about humanity.
Vote yes on Question 3 and end dog racing in Massachusetts!
Yes on Question Three
To the Editor:
On November 4, we have an opportunity to vote yes on Question 3 and end the suffering of greyhounds in Massachusetts. Question 3 is a humane proposal that will phase out greyhound racing in Massachusetts by 2010.
Dog racing is cruel and inhumane. At the two local tracks, thousands of greyhounds endure lives of terrible confinement and are kept in small cages barely large enough to stand up or turn around in for long hours each day. The MSPCA's adoption center cages are five times the size of the cages in which racing greyhounds live. While dog racing supporters will make claims regarding the level of care the greyhounds receive, the facts prove otherwise. The conditions are well documented in photographs taken by Wonderland Greyhound Park itself in 2006. We also know from recent statements by members of the racing industry that greyhounds are confined in these stacked warehouse-style cages for 20 or more hours per day.
Records from the State Racing Commission document that more than 800 greyhounds have been seriously injured while racing in Massachusetts since 2002; 80 percent of these injuries are broken legs - not minor toenail chips the tracks will mention. In fact, the vast majority of the injuries were serious enough to warrant a lengthy recovery period of eight months. Additional injuries racing dogs have suffered from include broken bones, paralysis, seizures, and death from cardiac arrest. This is information that voters did not have access to prior to 2002.
This institutionalized cruelty is part of a dying industry. State figures show that since 2002, the amount gambled at Wonderland Greyhound Park and Raynham Park has decreased 65 and 37 percent, respectively. Racetrack owners themselves acknowledge their businesses are failing. Raynham Park owner George Carney confirmed the industry's fate at a State House hearing last December, telling lawmakers that there's "no money left in the racing." Fewer and fewer Massachusetts residents want to see dogs run in circles around a track. The bottom line: our economy simply should not be based on cruelty to greyhounds.
One of the major sponsors of this ballot question, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), has a long history of working for the humane treatment of animals. The MSPCA is the second oldest humane society in the nation, and provides direct care to more than a quarter-million animals annually at our Animal Care and Adoption Centers, in our Angell Animal Medical Centers, and through our other community-based programs. Our formation in 1868 led to the passage of the first state anti-cruelty law, and in the generations since we have successfully fought for and worked on hundreds of additional animal protection laws and policies to improve the lives of animals. Why would we support this ballot question if we did not know the dogs were being harmed? We are a proud sponsor of Question 3, as is every major animal shelter in the state, more than 60 veterinarians and many other civic groups.
Visit www.ProtectDogs.org to view photos and videos of the dogs and the crashes that result in injuries or death. Learn about dogs like Starz Voice, a two-year-old white and red greyhound who died at Raynham Park after breaking several bones while racing. Regrettably, her story is not unique, and Starz Voice is just one of the many dogs who have lost their lives to this industry. It is time for this cruelty to end. Question 3 is a moderate proposal with a responsible 14-month phase-out period. Massachusetts can do better for the dogs that have suffered over decades solely for entertainment. So when you are in the voting booth making your final decision, please ask yourself: "Would I treat my dog this way?"
Kara Holmquist and Ron Whitney
Yes on Three
To the Editor:
These are the facts. There are two commercial dog tracks in Massachusetts. At these racetracks, thousands of dogs endure lives of confinement in small cages for more than 20 hours per day. Since 2002, more than 700 dogs have been injured while racing, including broken bones, head injuries, and paralysis. Some have even died of cardiac arrest. And the worst tragedy of all is that after two to three years of racing, their lives at the track are over. They are no longer the fastest, and they become a disposable commodity. Some are euthanized, some are given to rescue groups, and others are shipped to Third World countries where they race to their death. They deserve better than this. It is a travesty that these beautiful greyhounds must endure this imprisonment for the gambling addiction of others. There is no justifying the continuing of this cruel practice.
I ask you, is this any way to treat a dog? Think about it and vote yes on Question 3. Vote for the dogs.
To the Editor:
This year we voters have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands of greyhound dogs by simply voting yes on Question 3, to phase out dog racing in Massachusetts by 2010. Passage of this humane law will close the Wonderland Greyhound Park and Raynham Park and ensure the end of dog racing in Massachusetts. Other states have already recognized the cruelty of this entertainment and have banned dog racing.
Here are the some of the reasons to vote yes, provided by The Committee to Protect Dogs - an organization in Somerville working to help end greyhound racing.
Dogs endure lives of confinement, kept for 20 or more hours each day in cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around in. (Sadly, these dogs play and enjoy each other's companionship only briefly each day).
Dogs are seriously injured at the tracks suffering broken legs, paralysis, head trauma, and death from cardiac arrest. A greyhound is injured every three or four days in Massachusetts. Nearly 80 percent of all reported injuries are broken legs. Most injuries are serious. In one month in 2005, 19 dogs at Wonderland Greyhound Park died from an unidentified illness.
Dog racing is a dying industry in Massachusetts. Between 2002 and 2007, the total amount gambled at Wonderland Greyhound Park and Raynham Park declined by 65 and 36 percent, respectively. Even dog track owners acknowledge their businesses are failing.
In late 2003 and early 2004, a greyhound at Wonderland Greyhound Park tested positive twice for cocaine.
To reduce costs, dogs are fed meat from dying, diseased, or downed livestock that has been deemed unfit for human consumption. This meat contains denatured charcoal to discourage human use.
This humane law is supported by community leaders, including the MSPCA, other humane organizations, GREY2K USA, the Springfield Republican, every major animal shelter, dozens of lawmakers and nearly 60 Massachusetts veterinarians, including some on Martha's Vineyard.
Please speak for those who have no voice and vote yes on Question 3. The dogs should not suffer for our entertainment any longer. It's time to end dog racing in Massachusetts.
If you would like more information, contact the Committee to Protect Dogs at www.ProtectDogs.org or call 617-666-3526.