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A case involving Florida's ban on greyhound racing is under appeal


The owner of a Pinellas County greyhound kennel has gone to an appeals court after a circuit judge dismissed a lawsuit stemming from a 2018 constitutional amendment that banned dog racing at Florida pari-mutuels.

Attorneys for Christopher D’Arcy and D’Arcy Kennel, LLC have contended that the voter-approved ballot measure resulted in an unconstitutional “taking” of property. But Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey last month rejected the arguments, writing, in part, that the ballot measure only prohibited greyhound owners from using the dogs to race at Florida pari-mutuels.

“Here, plaintiffs retain virtually every stick in the bundle of property rights --- they can still race their dogs, they can still sell their dogs, they can still keep them as pets, and they can even race them in wagered races in other states where wagering on greyhound racing is allowed,” Dempsey wrote. “The only thing they cannot do is race them in a wagered race in Florida. That is not a restriction so severe as to cause a taking.”

D’Arcy last week filed a notice of appealing the case to the 1st District Court of Appeal. As is common, the notice did not detail arguments that D’Arcy will make at the Tallahassee-based appeals court. But in circuit court, attorneys for D’Arcy argued he should be entitled to compensation because of the effects of the constitutional amendment.

“The scope and impact of the regulation was so devastating to the plaintiffs’ (D’Arcy and the kennel) interest in their private property that they would have been better off financially if the state had taken actual physical possession of all the property and thus saved the plaintiffs the cost in caring for the animals until he was able to place them, also at additional cost, for adoption,” the plaintiffs’ attorney wrote in an October filing.