Investigation underway after racing greyhounds found dead, sick

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - State investigators are trying to figure out what killed two greyhounds and sickened 97 others at the Daytona Beach Kennel Club.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, the dogs began showing signs of severe illness after they were fed a mixture of raw beef with dry dog food while in their kennels.

Officials believe it was food poisoning.

The dogs are cared for in kennels off the race property.

“They were terrible deaths. The dogs were found in pools of their own blood,” said Karey Theil, the director of GREY2K USA, a nonprofit rescue for greyhounds.

The president of the Daytona Beach Kennel Club, Daniel Francati, said there’s no reason why only some of the dogs became ill even though dogs at nine other locations were fed the same food.

“We have grave concerns with the meat that is fed to greyhounds throughout the industry. So this is not an issue that is specific to Daytona,” Theil said.

Theil believes the tragedies may have only come to light because of a recent law that requires dog tracks to inform the public when their animals are injured or die.

“We would not have known the deaths of these two dogs if the state did not require last year that deaths be reported to the public,” Theil said.

Francati said his business immediately followed proper protocols as it got word of what happened.

“Care and comfort is paramount to us. Remember, we are not the ones who watch the dogs as a subcontractor kennel. As soon as we found out, we rushed over there and reported it to the state,” he said.

The Food and Drug Administration has concluded its investigation. The Department of Professional Business Regulation is now looking into the matter and said it’s an ongoing investigation.