Life's a Bitch

A Miami veternarian's assistant goes out of his way to rescue the greyhound industry's castoffs from the needle of death

Of course, the more dogs a breeder raises, the better the chance he has to produce a big winner. And indeed, a lot of money is at stake. The total amount bet last fiscal year at Flagler Greyhound Track, one of five tracks in South Florida, amounted to $67 million; Hollywood Greyhound Track reported a handle of $83 million for the same time period.

Humane Society investigator Ken Johnson admits that adoption numbers have increased slightly, but he disputes Guccione's claim that breeding numbers have gone down. "The greyhound industry is making no attempts to limit the breeding that is taking place," says Johnson. "The situation is still really bad."

Michael Hernandez isn't frustrated yet, even though there is no foreseeable end to the procession of unwanted dogs destined for the needle. He's considering establishing a nonprofit greyhound adoption service and will continue distributing leaflets and parading his doomed charges along South Beach's thoroughfares.

"I'm going to keep doing this as long as I can," he insists. "As long as there is greyhound racing, we're going to have this problem.

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