Carey Theil + Christine A. Dorchak - Shutting Down the Tracks: Saving Greyhounds Worldwide

Welcome to the Soul Touched by Dogs
Podcast, the show for dog lovers who

see dogs not as toys or tools, but
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I'm an Herrmann, and I'm your host.

I talk to poor some humans, people who
do great work for dogs and their people.

So come and join us for
today's conversation.


Anke: and welcome, Christine and Carey.

I'm super excited to have you here.

I always say it, but like, I'm really,
really excited to have you guys here.

So before we go anywhere, yeah,
why don't you just start out?

Give us the two minutes, birds
eye view, where you're based.

You know, what's your
business, what's your project?

Go ahead, Christine.

Christine: Well, Carey and I are the
founders of Gray2K USA Worldwide,

and we are a non profit advocacy
organization working to end the cruelty

of greyhound racing across the globe.

We also promote adoption of X Racers.

And we fund adoption and rescue all across
the world, because unfortunately, although

greyhound racing was invented here in
the United States, it has metastasized

to other countries, and therefore we're
helping save those greyhounds as well.

We feel that's our obligation here, um,
at Greyhound UK USA to really see the

whole problem and help try to solve it.

Anke: Yeah, I mean, that's so dear to my
heart because I live in Spain and yep,

there are a lot of greyhounds here that,
you know, so I don't, I don't know how

big the race industry is, but it exists.

It hell exists.

So yeah, for sure.

Christine: Well, the problem in Spain
is with Galgos used for hunting.

Thankfully the last dog track
was closed some years ago, but

unfortunately the hunters continue
to use and abuse greyhounds during

the hunting season every year.

So that's of course a great
concern to us as well.

Anke: So how did you get When you started
with that, I would imagine you didn't

leave school thinking or, you know, like
going to university or whatever, thinking,

what am I going to do with my life?

I'm going to go rescue greyhounds.

My guess is that wasn't the case.

So how did you get into that?

Christine: Well, we come to
it in two different ways.

As we discuss in our book, we're very
different people and Kerry's from one

side of the country and I from another.

In my case, I'll just, um, Let
you know how I came to be, uh,

involved in helping Greyhounds.

I was run over by a train
when I was at the age of 26.

And I was saved by my dog, who
pulled me just enough out of the

path of the train to save us both.

And I said to myself, once I was
out of my coma, If I ever get up

and walk and talk again, I'm going
to do something to help dogs.

Because I've got a debt to pay.

So that was the beginning
of my focus on helping dogs.

And little did I know that it
would lead to This campaign to end

dog racing, not just in my home
state of Massachusetts, in the U.

S., but nationwide, and
now we hope worldwide.

Kerry came to it in a different way.

Now, Kerry, how did you come to it?

He didn't have to be hit by a train.

Anke: Oh, I think that's
highly recommended.

Carey: Yeah, I had done a lot of
legislative work as a young man, and my

mother ran a local animal rights group
so I cared very deeply about animal

issues in general, and I learned of.

This ballot question campaign, there
was going to be a vote on whether to

abolish grand racing completely in
the state of Massachusetts, and I was

recruited essentially to come out and be
a spokesperson for that campaign when I

was 22 years old, so I was sort of thrown
into the fire at at a pretty young age,

and that campaign, which Christine was
one of the key volunteers for, um, I was

really the first time that, uh, Ordinary
dog lovers, you know, stood up against the

greyhound racing industry and tried to end
it and uh, it was a very uh, uh, it was

it was a Brutal campaign quite frankly.

It was it got very nasty that the dog
track owner uh The two dog track owners

that were fighting us spent millions of
dollars against us in television ads.

They had a A former police lieutenant
standing in front of his police

car saying there's no animal abuse.

He had, they had a Catholic priest who
told voters to vote to keep Greyhound

Racing, a single mother with her children
and Greyhounds running in an open field.

And on the Friday before the election.

Christine and I and two other people
were sued by one of the track owners for

10 million for defamation of character.

So it, it truly was, um, you know, they
did, did everything they could to, to

stop us, but we kept fighting and we, we
showed voters, you know, how dogs live

in this industry, that dogs endure lives
in terrible confinement, that, you know,

Hundreds of dogs were suffering broken
legs and other serious injuries, and

on election day we lost 51 to 49, which
was one of the closest elections in the

history of the state, and truly, excuse
me, a crushing moment for Christina

and I personally and everyone else who
was involved, but We also realized that

we had stood up to this very powerful
animal abuse industry and nearly won.

And so, uh, we formed a national non
profit organization after that, Great2K

USA, which is now Great2K USA Worldwide.

And, uh, the, the book that Christine
and I just wrote, it's, it's the, the

story of how greyhound racing Uh, you
know, rose in the United States, the

rise, and then the ultimate fall of
greyhound racing in the United States.

Um, this industry has unfortunately
spread across the world and, uh,

that first campaign in Massachusetts,
even though we lost, it not only, um,

birthed our non profit organization,
it laid the groundwork for a

grassroots movement to help these dogs.

Which is active all over the world now in
Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales.

Um, uh, it, you know, people
all over are fighting for these

gentle dogs, uh, Spain, obviously.

Um, and, you know, finally, uh, you know,
it's also the story of one particular

greyhound named Brooklyn that we adopted.

And You know, that was a powerful moment
for us, not only because, you know, he

had gone through incredible abuse, and
we can talk about that specifically

later, but, you know, also, really the
end of Greyhound Racing happened in the,

in the course of his life over 13 short
years, and I think that, that is, for

me, A powerful example of how fundamental
change can happen very quickly.

Um, what is 13 years in
the grand scope of time?

It's really nothing when you're
dealing with a multi billion dollar

industry that at one time was using
and abusing more than 50, 000 dogs

a year just in the United States.

So I think, I think our
story is, is a story of hope.

It's a story that, uh, the power of
everyday people really can kick, win

the day, um, as long as you never feel,
never, never leave the field and, and

never give, give up and just keep fighting
for the animals and keep fighting for

the dogs, um, no matter what happens.

Anke: That's massive, like that's
massive from like, it's a really short

period of time when you think about it.

You know, and with that level of pushback,
you know, that, that's, that's, yeah.

Do you find raising awareness
as a big part of it?

Because when I'm thinking like, I, I
kind of remember when I was like maybe

five or something, I was like really
little back in East Germany, where I'm

from, my dad took me to a Greyhound race.

You know, and all I remember was how
difficult it was because I remember

that little, that little kind of fluffy
thing, you know, and they wouldn't run

and then they would catch it and, you
know, and it was like, I don't know,

like, but that's what, like, you know
what, I was taken there as a child, you

know, so I saw it, and then, and then
it just didn't exist anymore, but see, I

mean, obviously I was kind of too young
to kind of think like, what is that?

So, but do you find people don't really
know or didn't really know what was

actually going on behind the scenes?

It's almost like with
horse racing as well.

Like all you see is, oh, they're running
and the horse wins and oh, you're betting

on the horse and People don't really know
the conditions these animals live in and

is that, is that your experience or how
did you get that much support from, from

people to, to help you like get that
close and actually, you know, achieve

so much in such a short period of time?

Christine: Well, I can
use myself as an example.

I didn't know anything about dog racing.

I didn't even know there was dog
racing in my state, much less that

there were 2000 greyhounds living
in small cages dying every week.


You know, a bunch of, uh, you know,
low level gamblers were betting

two dollars on them, whether
they'd live or die on a given day.

It was horrendous, but I
didn't know anything about it.

So, as we like to say, dog racing
is a low information issue.

And even when we've been out campaigning
for months or years, collecting signatures

on a petition, many people will come
up to us and say, What's dog racing?

Or we have dog racing?

So it really is an issue that is very
open to education and what we find

is that every kind of person has a
reason for wanting to end dog racing.

Whether it be the cruelty
visited on the dogs or the waste.

Taxpayer funds are used
to prop up this industry.

So whether someone is left or right or
somewhere in between, there are so many.

reasons why we can all agree that the
cruelty of greyhound racing should end

and the taxpayers be relieved of, you
know, keeping this industry afloat, which

is what it's doing around the world.

It's, it's a, it's a real tragedy
here in the United States, for

instance, Our last two dog tracks in
West Virginia are only there because

of a 17 million a year subsidy.

So that's something we fight.

We've learned along the way that there
are many, you know, elements to our fight.

So depending on our audience, we could
be talking about the humane aspects

first, and then the economic or reverse.

And for that reason, people from
all stripes have come together

to work to help the Greyhounds.

We've had the most, you know, high
level Republicans on one side and the

most, you know, lefty Democrats come
together, sit down and say, we're

going to help you end dog racing.

And it's just been a beautiful experience
because the dogs really unite people,

just as Brooklyn United, me and Carrie.

When we We were able to bring greyhound
racing to an end at China's only legal dog

track, which was known as the Canadrome.

We airlifted over 500 greyhounds
to safety from the tracks.

They went to groups around the world.

One of those dogs was Brooklyn.

He came home to us, and it was his
miraculous rescue that inspired us.

And really made us realize that
it is possible to take on this

industry, wherever it exists.

So that is why this book is really
focused on the life of Brooklyn.

That's how we tell our story.

And that's how we introduce people to.

So many volunteers and others
along the way who've made this,

you know, campaign successful.


Anke: love that.

I love that.

And it's so true.

Like, you know, we are, you
know, I was kind of like,

tell me about Brooklyn, right?

Because when it's one dog, like
when it's, it becomes, it feels,

it becomes personal, right?

So how did you hear about Brooklyn?

How did you even, like, you know,
how did you get to China and how?

Did you meet Brooklyn and why
did you bring Brooklyn home out

of the 500 that you rescued?

Carey: Yeah, well, no.

As we started to make some progress
in the United States for these dogs,

we realized that there were greyhounds
suffering all over the world.

And we knew that the greyhounds that
were suffering and dying in Massachusetts

and Florida were the same as the dogs
that were suffering, you know, in these

other jurisdictions overseas and so One
of our board members named Charmaine

Settle started to, uh, Christine and
I did a fair amount of traveling as

well just to meet other advocates and,
and understand how the industry works.

But Charmaine, uh, went all, all
across the globe and looked at

greyhound racing in various places.

And she went to the Canadrome, which
was the only legal dog track in China.

It was, it was a death track.

30 dogs a year were being imported
from Australia and 30 dogs a year

were I'm sorry, a month, thank
you, and 30 dogs a month were

being killed, um, like clockwork.

Um, and she took a series of photographs,
and one of the photos she took was of

this, uh, very beautiful dog, this very
striking image, and, uh, the only way we

could identify him is there were three,
there was a collar, and we had three

letters, L Y N, and we tried to find
out who is this dog, and our best guess

is that it was a dog named Brooklyn.

Brooklyn had been born.

Let me go back a second.

I mentioned our first
campaign in Massachusetts.

We were defeated.

We brought that ballot question back
to voters eight years later in 2008,

and the voters in Massachusetts voted
with, by a huge margin, to outlaw

greyhound racing, to shut down two
operational dog tracks that were

harming thousands of dogs a year.

Um, it was a sweeping victory.

Only a few weeks after that Massachusetts
vote, Brooklyn was born in Australia.

His father had been a failed racer,
his mother had been a failed racer.

He raced for a couple of, really a
few months in Australia, did not,

was not successful, and then was.

Shipped off to the Canadrome, um, where
he was surely going to die, and, you

know, Charmaine took this photo of
him, the photo went all over the world

and became this iconic image, and, you
know, from the far reaches of the earth,

people called on the Macau government
to shut down this track, and we, and we

wrote to them and said, at a minimum,
um, Adopt out Brooklyn and let him be

the first dog at this track to not die.

And the track did not respond.

We heard absolutely nothing.

And so we started a campaign to convince
the government to shut the track down.

That did succeed, but it
took eight long years.

When we, when our ally, Albano Martins,
who was our advocate on the ground,

went in after we won and started
looking at the 500 plus dogs that were

there, he couldn't believe it, but
Brooklyn was there and still alive.

Brooklyn had lived in a
cement cell for eight years.

We were sure this dog was dead.

Christina, she said, and others
helped adopt out these dogs to

various places throughout the world.

Brooklyn came home to us and
he was, he was in bad shape.

He was underweight.

He had a lot of missing teeth.

But he was the sweetest dog and, you
know, to come home to us after all of

those years of suffering was really
the first time he had had a home.

Um, but his story didn't end there.

After only a few weeks,
he started to limp.

We took him to the vet.

He was diagnosed with bone cancer.

We had the leg amputated, uh,
he had chemotherapy, and the

veterinarian said, well, nine
months, you can hope for nine months.

And we were incredibly blessed.

Brooklyn lived for three
long years with us.

Uh, he became the example at the local
veterinary schools, the veterinary

hospitals, they would say, well,
Some dogs do live a lot longer.

There's this dog named Brooklyn that
lived, has been living for years.

Brooklyn also had later a type of
spinal stroke called an FCE where

he lost a lot of his mobility,
a lot of his coordination.

But despite all of this, he was
just the most gentle, happy dog.

We'd bring him in every day and he would
stand at the opening of our building and

wait for people to come in and pet him.

And everyone who met him was was truly
touched, and, uh, when he did pass, uh,

there were all over the world, there
were, uh, dog walks in his honor, there

were obituaries written, uh, the South
China Morning Post wrote an entire

feature story about the impact he had
made, and, uh, only a few weeks after

he passed, by this point, almost all
of the American dog tracks had been

shuttered, and, uh, A ballot question
to outlaw greyhound racing in Florida

where there were 12 tracks had passed
with by an overwhelming margin and the

owner, the track owner that owned the very
last two tracks, which are both in the

state of West Virginia, just a few weeks
after Brooklyn passed, publicly said,

we don't want to do dog racing anymore.

We want to get out of this industry.

So now we're still fighting
that fight because sometimes

it's hard to finish things.

But, um, you know, he truly was,
uh, A transformational figure and,

and, and it was just an incredible
honor to, to know him and, and

love him and take care of him.

It was truly a gift.

Oh, I just

Anke: can't go on, can we?

So I would love to hear, you know,
where can people get the book?

Where can people find out more about you?

How can people support you
or get in touch with you?

Christine: Well, I just like to add
that, you know, what you said is right.

Dogs really unite people.

And when people hear the story of a dog,
or a dog in need in particular, it just,

it just passes through all of our hearts.

We understand.

These dogs really communicate
something, and Brooklyn's story of

survival is something we wanted to
share with others, and we also want

the story of our very small grassroots
organization fighting against this

multi Billion dollar industry.

We want people to understand that
change is possible and you don't

have to have a lot of money.

You don't have to be the smartest
people in the world or have the, all

the connections just keep working.

So we hope that people will read the
book, uh, and learn about the many people

that have been part of this campaign and.

Think about how they can take the
strategies that we used, which was to

realize our goals through incremental
steps and have a lot of patience, use

these same strategies for the things that
they care about and they want to change.

So that's our hope with the
book and it's available.

Um, online, um, through Amazon, for
instance, uh, you can go to our website.

There's a link to it at grey2kusa.


You can get it on Kindle as well.

Uh, actually it's officially
out on November 7th.

So hopefully by the time people read this,
they may already have it in their hands.

Anke: Awesome.

I mean, you're, you're
so, you're so right.

There is so much, I mean, I, I
still kind of, my mind is still,

I can't believe it's done.

Lasted like in that in those conditions,
but that's a miracle already, you know

that he even made it that long And then
that he could hang on for so long with

you and you know, I've got to live What
it's like to have a home and to be loved.

And it's just like heartwarming.

And there's so much hope in
it and the whole project.

It's just, it's just
absolutely delightful.

So we'll obviously put the link
to the, to your website and to the

book, and it's going to be in the
show notes, if people listening and

it's on the, um, you know, on the.

page where it goes as well.

So thank you.

Thank you so much for, you know,
sharing this powerful mission and

this beautiful work you're doing.

I feel honored that you've decided to
come and share and share your story.

Thank you.


Christine: you so much for having us
and letting us share our story with you.

Thanks so much for listening.

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Carey Theil + Christine A. Dorchak - Shutting Down the Tracks: Saving Greyhounds Worldwide
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