TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a legal fight about whether voters should cast ballots in November on a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at ending greyhound racing at pari-mutuel facilities.
Justices appeared skeptical at times about arguments raised by the Florida Greyhound Association, a group of breeders, owners and trainers that filed a lawsuit seeking to block the ballot proposal.
The group feels the ballot title and summary fail to properly disclose that the amendment would make the humane treatment of animals a “fundamental value.”
As a result, spokesman Jack Cory says voters will not be properly informed as to what the potential constitutional changes would be.
“The vague ballot language and the vague title do not disclose everything to the people of the state of Florida that’s included in the proposed amendment," said Cory.
The Florida Constitution Revision Commission this spring placed the proposed dog-racing ban on the November ballot.
But the Supreme Court is considering whether the ballot title and summary accurately reflect the intent of the measure.
Following the court hearing, supporters of the proposed amendment, including Stephen Turner with the Committee to Protect Dogs, felt optimistic.
“We don’t think that the other side’s arguments are meritorious. This amendment should go and be voted upon," said Turner. "It’s clear that the people have a right to choose whether they want a gambling activity of greyhound racing, which is cruel to animals, to continue. It’s that simple.”
Earlier this month, Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers sided with the greyhound association, ruling that the amendment should not go on the ballot because she said it was misleading.
The state appealed Gievers’ ruling, setting up the Supreme Court arguments Wednesday, little more than two months before the Nov. 6 general election.