Other states that still allow dog racing are looking to close their tracks because of the financial burden they carry. A recent report commissioned by lawmakers in West Virginia found that attendance at some tracks had collapsed by 99 percent in 30 years, leaving a razor thin margin of revenue over the taxpayer cost of regulating it.
"It's a spectator sport that not many people are spectating anymore ... We can't keep propping up an industry that's not generating enough money to sustain itself," W.Va. State Sen. Jeff Kessler told the The Wheeling Intelligencer.
The economic downside of dog racing is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg, says Theil, whose group GREY2K USA is campaigning to end the practice in the United States.
"I'm referring to the use of things like confined housing, keeping dogs in cages barely large enough for them to turn around, the use of anabolic steroids and the injuries they suffer regularly," he said. "We see broken legs, broken necks, paralysis, etc. on these tracks," he says.