First, the legal argument. The Attorney General states that even if the claims made by greyhound breeders were true, they would not amount to a prosecutable crime:
The Complaint and Request for an Inquest should be dismissed. The purpose of an inquest is to determine whether any of the laws relating to elections have been violated. See G.L. c. 55, § 35. But the complaint fails to allege a prosecutable violation of either of the election laws upon which it is based, G.L. c. 56, § 42 or G.L. c. 56, § 32, and this Court has all the information it needs to determine whether or not criminal proceedings should be instituted against anyone.
Now, to the actual accusations.
First, the greyhound breeders claim that the Yes on 3 campaign erred in telling voters that the greyhound adoption rate in our state is 31%. Instead, the greyhound breeders claim that the adoption rate is 100%, because all of the dogs that are put up for adoption are adopted. Say what? Using this warped logic you can literally make any statement true. For example: 100% of Massachusetts high school students admitted to Harvard come from Massachusetts. Get the idea?
First, the Attorney General confirms that according to state records the greyhound adoption rate in Massachusetts is, in fact, 31%:
According to the State Racing Commission’s official published report, the adoption rate for greyhounds is thirty-one percent: a table in the 2007 Massachusetts State Racing Commission Report, under the title “2007 Greyhound Disposition Figures for Wonderland and Raynham/Taunton,” and posted on the official State Racing Commission website, states under the heading “adopt” (referring to the disposition of the greyhounds) the figure “31%.”
Now, as for the claim made by greyhound breeders:
The complainants’ attack on the statement that the adoption rate was thirty-one percent is apparently based on a claim made by opponents of Question 3 to the effect that “greyhound racing industry in fact achieves a one hundred percent adoption rate for its retired racers that are placed in the adoption program,” complaint, ¶ 9. It may be that both statements are true: the proponents’ (thirty-one percent adoption rate) and opponents’ (“The greyhound racing industry in fact achieves a one hundred percent adoption rate for its retired racers that are placed in the adoption program”) statements are true, but the denominators they use are different. The proponents use an overall disposition rate for the denominator (“2007 Greyhound Disposition Figures for Wonderland and Raynham/Taunton”); the greyhound racers use a qualified disposition rate (“retired racers that are placed in the adoption program”).
Next, the greyhound breeders claimed that the Yes on 3 campaign erred in stating that at Massachusetts racetracks, greyhounds live in small cages barely large enough to stand up or turn around. Throughout the campaign, we urged voters to look at the actual photographs taken by Wonderland Greyhound Park itself and draw their own conclusion. After examining the facts, the Attorney General reaches the same conclusion:
Given the comparative dimensions of the Wonderland/Raynham cages (32″ wide X 42″ deep X 34″ high); the cages at the MSPCA (approximately five times larger); and the greyhounds themselves (between 23″ and 30″ tall at the shoulder, weighing between 50 and 85 lbs.), it is plainly a matter of opinion whether the cages were “small” and ” barely large enough,” especially for the larger (30″) greyhounds standing in a Wonderland/Raynham-sized (32″) crate. Any reader could do his own mathematics based upon these facts and form his own opinion whether the cages were “small” and “barely large enough.”
Moving on, the greyhound breeders claimed that the Yes on 3 campaign used photographs from other countries to make our case for the Greyhound Protection Act. This is simply a lie. As “evidence” the greyhound breeders gave the Court three YouTube videos that were made by individuals not associated with the Yes on 3 campaign.
To this day, I find this false claim deeply irresponsible. It proves that the greyhound breeders will literally do anything in their sleazy attempt to perpetuate dog racing.
Here is the Attorney General’s take on this bogus accusation:
These videos do not state that they depict conditions in Massachusetts, nor do they contain any other statements asserted to be false. Affidavit of Judy Zeprun Kalman (“Kalman Affidavit”), ¶ 3; Appendix, p. 1. Because the videos do not state that they are depicting conditions in Massachusetts nor contain any other statements asserted to be false, their publication did not violate the statute.
The Attorney General also acknowledges that these videos were made by individuals with no association to the Yes on 3 campaign:
Neither “sunnyboy145” nor “defygravityalltheway” are associated with Grey2K USA, the MSPCA, or the Humane Society of the United States, the major supporters of Question 3. Affidavit of Christine Dorchak, ¶3, Appendix, p. 5; Affidavit of Kara Holmquist, ¶ 3, Appendix, p. 7; Affidavit of Roger Kindler, ¶ 4, Appendix, p. 16.
Finally, the Attorney General addresses the most ridiculous claim of all: the MSPCA bribed voters by giving them free computer desktop wallpaper. That’s right – bribery by wallpaper!
The Attorney General’s analysis of this claim speaks for itself:
The wallpaper was not a “gift or reward” as would be required to show a violation of G.L. c. 56, § 32, because it was already available free from the MSPCA to anyone who provided contact information, whether or not they pledged to vote “Yes on Question 3.”
In summary, this bogus complaint is going nowhere. Neither is the effort to undermine Question 3. We will remain vigilant, however, until the day Question 3 takes effect.
After generations of dogs suffering and dying at racetracks in our state, the greyhounds finally deserve their day. And they’re going to get it.
Mark your calendars. January 1 will be Greyhound Day in Massachusetts.