Policy on Animal Cruelty Floated in WV

It would strengthen racing commission's position on cases of abuse in racing.

The West Virginia Racing Commission is seeking comment on an animal cruelty policy that would make clear existing rules for Thoroughbred and Greyhound racing in the state.

A draft rule notes that rules for horse and dog racing allow the stewards, judges, or WVRC to take disciplinary action against licensees who engage in any form of "cruelty, mistreatment, neglect, abuse, or abandonment" of a Thoroughbred or greyhound.

The proposed rule goes on to say the three parties "may, upon sufficient proof, institute administrative proceedings against a permit-holder to issue sanctions against him or her, up to and including revocation of the person's racing permit." It also calls for a racing commission investigation in consultation with the state veterinarian.

The WVRC also would have the right to report instances of animal cruelty, mistreatment, neglect, abuse, or abandonment to local law enforcement authorities for possible criminal prosecution under other West Virginia law.

The commission recently took action against three individuals for alleged abuse or neglect of racing greyhounds. West Virginia has two dog tracks and two Thoroughbred tracks.