Two bills dealing with dog racing advanced in the Statehouse today. The first, HB 104, to grant an exemption from Idaho’s strict ban on dog racing for a county fair side-show exhibit, headed to the Senate’s amending order after senators expressed concerns. That measure, from Rep. Clark Kauffman, R-Filer, is aimed at an attraction his local county fair wants to book, featuring mini-dog races and a “Puppy Party Playpen” where onlookers can pet the dogs after they race. He limited it to events with tracks of just 150 feet in length, after concerns were expressed to him that the bill could be a back-door way to bring back greyhound racing, which Idaho banned in 1996 amid concerns about abuse of dogs at a dog-racing track in Post Falls.
Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, told Kauffman, “I guess the thing I keep getting hung up on is, yes it says 150 feet, but who’s to say they don’t run back and forth for a race. ... It doesn’t say once 150 feet.” She said, “I know that this, in all fairness, is a reflecton of a very sweet wonderful thing down in Twin. I’m just trying to think if there’s any way this could be abused … for something we hadn’t preconceived.”
Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, agreed with Stennett’s concern, and proposed sending the bill to the Senate’s 14th Order for possible amendment; the motion carried unanimously in the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning.
The other bill, HB 151, from Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, would add an exemption to Idaho’s ban on dog racing or training dogs for racing for sled-dog racing. That measure passed the House unanimously today and now heads to the Senate side.