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Greyhound gone, but legacy remains

Carey M. Theil of Arlington submitted this obituary. He is executive director of GREY2K USA Worldwide, a nonprofit that works to pass stronger greyhound protection laws and end the cruelty of dog racing.
Diane Welch, animal-control officer, shows an owl to children in May 22o

A greyhound named Brooklyn, who inspired the successful international campaign to close down the worst dog track in the world, died June 22 in the Boston area.

Brooklyn was born on Dec. 10, 2008, at a breeding farm in New South Wales, Australia. After failing as a racer in 2010, he was shipped to Macau’s Yat Yuen Canidrome, the only legal dog track in China. No dog had ever gotten out alive from this notorious facility. There was no adoption program.

After an advocate took a photo of Brooklyn in his racing muzzle in 2011, Massachusetts-based greyhound protection group GREY2K USA Worldwide asked the track owner to allow Brooklyn to be the first dog ever released from the facility.

Advocates worldwide

When the track did not respond, leading animal-advocacy groups from across the world called for his release, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare Australia, SPCA Auckland, League Against Cruel Sports, National Greyhound Adoption Program and Last Chance for Animals.

Three hundred thousand animal lovers subsequently petitioned the Macau government to rescue Brooklyn and close the facility, a movement that included legendary French actress Brigitte Bardot and Vietnamese spiritual leader Ching Hai.

Happily, in 2018 the Canidrome closed after the Macau government was convinced to cancel the track’s land lease. More than 500 greyhounds were sent to waiting adopters across the globe, and Brooklyn came to Arlington to live with local residents Carey Theil and Christine Dorchak.

A few weeks after his arrival he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, and the only way to save his life was to amputate a leg. Miraculously, Brooklyn survived cancer for nearly four years and became a “best-case scenario” at local animal hospitals, including the Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital and the Concord Animal Hospital.

Brooklyn became a rallying cry for the effort to end greyhound racing across the world, a movement that began with a landmark ballot question in Massachusetts. In 2008, five weeks before he was born, Bay State citizens went to the polls and voted to outlaw dog racing, sparking an unprecedented era of advocacy that has led to the closure of all but two dog tracks in the United States and a growing advocacy push across the globe.

Brooklyn is survived by his family, two- and four-legged, and grieved by animal advocates everywhere. 

This news summary, which includes opinion, was published Friday, June 24, 2022.

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