Dubuque greyhound park's future uncertain as Arkansas casino announces closure

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - As a greyhound park is announcing its imminent closure, an eastern Iowa park is hoping to hold on.

Two greyhounds before a race at the Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque. (Aaron Scheinblum/KCRG)

The owners of Southland Casino Racing in Arkansas announced its live racing will close by the end of 2022. This comes after Florida voters agreed to stop greyhound racing in that state by the end of 2020.

Brian Carpenter, Iowa Greyhound Park General Manager, said this could trigger the closure of more parks across the country, and possibly even the one in Dubuque. He said the main issue will be finding dogs.

When the vote passed in Florida to ban greyhound racing, Carpenter figured that would trigger dog breeders to get out of the industry too. With fewer people breeding greyhounds, they're harder to come by.

Carpenter wasn't shocked to learn Southland Casino in Arkansas made this move, but he said it's still sad to see the sport gradually dying.

"This will be my 36th year of greyhound racing, and it will be sad to see when it goes," Carpenter said. "It was something fun and interesting to see. As of now, we are still planning on opening up next year and hopefully for the next three more years at least."

The Iowa Greyhound Park is financially supported by both the Q and Diamond Jo casinos, but that funding ends in three years. That's when the future of this park will really be up in the air.

On the other hand, animal rights groups view this is a win. They say greyhounds are treated poorly by being injured from racing or being confined for hours when not racing.