CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Senate will vote Wednesday on a measure eliminating funding for the West Virginia Greyhound Breeding Development Fund with the opportunity to amend the bill.
Legislators read Senate Bill 285 for a second time on Tuesday after laying the measure over twice.
Under the bill, funding dedicated to the account would be directed to the State Excess Lottery Revenue Fund. The bill would also create a tax credit for any West Virginian that adopts a greyhound racing dog.
As a result of the end of the dog racing fund, $17.4 million would go into the lottery account.
The Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Cross Lanes and Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack are the only businesses in West Virginia that offer greyhound racing.
A member of President Donald Trump’s family is backing the bill; Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, spoke in favor of eliminating greyhound racing on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“Greyhound racing is so archaic and really a barbaric practice at this point,” she said.
During the 2018 election cycle, Trump campaigned for banning greyhound racing in Florida. Voters approved the amendment, but greyhound breeders and kennel owners are suing the state to have the amendment overturned.
Trump said interest in greyhound racing is declining, and there is a certain point when the public has to question if such racing is humane.
“Are we supporting a sport that is barbaric and really gruesome and kills animals? It’s not right what happens to these dogs, and we’ve seen so much excitement in Florida, quite frankly, since this passed,” she said. “We’re making sure that all the dogs get homes, it gets phased out in the proper way, and we’d love to see the same thing happen in West Virginia.”
Gov. Jim Justice vetoed a bill in 2017 that would have eliminated the greyhound racing fund.