WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – The local greyhound racing industry is under fire once again.
In an op-ed in the West Virginia Press, Senate President Mitch Carmichael wrote that the state should stop the subsidization of greyhound racing. Carmichael began his op-ed by saying that the legislature has put an emphasis on moving West Virginia into the national mainstream.
He says that, “West Virginia is in danger of finding itself as the last state in the nation that sanctions and subsidizes an industry whose time has passed – greyhound racing.” Carmichael adds that in the near future, commercial dog racing will be illegal in 41 states.
Currently, the Mountain State has two dog tracks. One is located on Wheeling Island. And while Carmichael is arguing against the morality of greyhound racing, other leaders are pointing to the fact that this could lead to job loss and population decline.
Frankly, no one is going to a track to watch greyhound racing. It’s declined enormously across America and in West Virginia. The statistics are overwhelming against those who support this activity.WV Senate President Mitch Carmichael
I think he’s clueless on this issue. The economic impact on the Northern Panhandle would be irreversible. We’re talking 1,700 jobs, 1,100 jobs which are here in the Northern Panhandle. We’re talking a payroll of $4.3 million. Families who choose to live here in West Virginia, especially here in the Northern Panhandle, would not have careers, would not have a reason to stay here, raise their families here, attend our schools, attend our churches…they’d be gone.WV Del. Shawn Fluharty
Greyhound racing has been a popular attraction on Wheeling Island since the 19th century.
The Legislature voted to end statutory subsidies for greyhound racing two years ago but the effort was blocked by a veto from the governor.