As many as 1,000 former racing greyhounds may have been acquired fraudulently by a USDA-licensed Class B, random source, dealer and sold for experimental purposes. The owners of the dogs were led to believe the animals would be adopted to homes; instead the dealer, Daniel Shonka, sold them to laboratories for $300-400 each.
Allegedly most of the dogs were sold to Guidant Corporation, a cardiac research facility and manufacturer of implantable pacemakers and defibrillators. The dogs were used for experimental purposes at the company's site in St. Paul, Minnesota. Research facilities that want to ensure they do not get stolen or fraudulently acquired dogs and cats should not use Class B random source dealers.
Most of the dogs Shonka sold for experimentation have been killed, but approximately 100 may still be alive at Guidant. The laboratory is reversing the experimental procedures it conducted on the dogs and is releasing them. Some of the dogs have had surgically implanted wires removed and after recovering from the surgery, the greyhounds will be adopted to good homes as initially anticipated by their owners.
Shonka, a long-time scout for the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles, runs a kennel for racing dogs at St. Croix Meadows Greyhound Racing Track in Hudson, Wisconsin and operates his so-called adoption program from his home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Since 1996 he has held a USDA license for his Cedar Rapids location to sell animals to laboratories, but the license does not entitle him to acquire animals by deceit. When the allegations against Shonka surfaced in April, he disconnected his home and business telephone.
No charges have been filed yet, but the USDA, Wisconsin Division of Gaming and the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating Shonka. Adoption of the Pet Safety and Protection Act, currently pending in Congress, would prevent this illicit supply of dogs and cats for experimentation.
Photo, Note the fresh surgical scars on Biscuit and Saucy, who were among the first greyhounds released by Guidant Research Laboratory. Having survived the ordeal, they are now together in a loving home.