State Issues Final Order Against Washington County Trainer
Trainer connected to deaths of 37 greyhounds at racing kennel fined $170,000, will lose license
March 10, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation today announced that a final order has been served on Ronnie Williams, a Washington County trainer who was responsible for the deaths of 37 greyhounds at the Ebro Greyhound Park. The final administrative order permanently revokes Williams’ license and imposes a record-breaking fine of $170,000.
In October 2010, Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering investigators discovered the bodies of 37 greyhound dogs at the Ebro kennels. Authorities determined the dogs died as a result of starvation and dehydration. Five surviving dogs were also rescued by investigators. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.
The administrative case was investigated by the department’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering and was prosecuted by the Office of the General Counsel within the department. Based on the administrative case, a final order was signed and was served on Williams. Under the full terms of the final order, Williams’ license is revoked and he will be ineligible to obtain licensure in the future from the State of Florida. The order also assesses the $170,000 fine, the largest fine ever assessed against an individual licensee by the division.
Criminal charges are still pending in the case and are being pursued by the State Attorney’s Office in Washington County.
To continue efforts to protect greyhounds in Florida’s racing industry, the department is currently in the process of developing rules regarding animal welfare due to changes in Section 550.2415, which became effective last July with the passage of Senate Bill 622.