New developments in the Ebro greyhound case raises more questions - Death count could be at least 40, with 5 others critical

By: Amber Southard Email
By: Amber Southard Email

Panama City Beach - There are new developments in a horrifying story that Newschannel 7 brought you exclusively last Friday night.

Walton and Washington county sheriff's officials are now working together the case of a greyhound owner accused of killing at least 32 of his own dogs.

At 11:30 last night Walton County sheriff's officials received a call from animal control regarding the decomposing bodies of eight more greyhounds.

The dead animals were located under the highway 20 bridge on the Walton County side of the Choctawhatchee River just west of Ebro..

Walton County sheriff's officials believe the discovery is linked to the case involving Ronny Williams, the dog owner who's facing more than 30 counts of felony animal abuse.

Williams was arrested last Friday night after authorities first found at least 20 dead dogs in his kennel at Ebro Greyhound Park.

At this point, investigators say they don't know if the dogs discovered today are part of the original group or additional victims.

Ebro Greyhound Park Assistant General Manager Mark Hess says the track did not know about the animal abuse.

"This is the first Ebro has heard about it and we're astounded just shocked that this could happen," said Hess.

Ebro officials say they contracted with Williams to race greyhounds during the season, which ended about a month ago.

Under the agreement Williams and the other owners at the park, were supposed to find adoptive homes for their dogs, or move them to another track that still races.

Hess says that Ronald Williams blamed the smell of the decaying animals on rotting meat in a broken freezer.

Ebro officials became suspicious when seven dogs were returned to them underweight. When the track is not conducting races, Ebro officials do not check on the dogs.

Since this is the first year Ebro has not held racing year round, Hess says there is no off season policy.

"During that time period we didn't have any policy's in place to randomly check the kennels because we weren't racing live and that's something we are going to re-visit and try to redo our policy's and make sure it never happens again," said Hess.

Authorities found five dogs alive in the kennel Williams was using. They've been turned over the Hess' staff at Ebro and are doing much better.

Williams is facing 37 counts of felony animal cruelty so far..

Washington County Sheriff's officials have yet to comment on Monday's discovery of the 8 dead dogs by the river.

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  • by bdg Location: ia on Nov 4, 2010 at 09:43 AM
    I trained greyhounds for 30 years. Trust me! I know 99.9% of trainers that read and heard about this case were sickened and disgusted. Most like myself probably got depressed just realizing the terrible suffering these dogs experienced. I trained at Ebro and agree that with the compound nearly 1/2 mile from the track and down a hill, it would be hard for officials to know everything that was happening when the track was not evem running live racing. Obviously some new rules will need be put in place to make sure this never happens again
  • by Greyhound Man Location: Florida on Nov 3, 2010 at 05:15 PM
    The owners of the dogs have contracts with kennels and the kennels have contracts with the tracks. The dog owners don't manage the kennels and neither do the tracks. The tracks just let us use their buildings, they manage the purse money and provide safe racing conditions. The animal care is all based on trust. The kennels are all supposed to do right or else we just lose our contract and our reputation. The tracks do regular kennel checks while the greyhounds are racing to help make sure the betting game is fair. This track was closed when this happened and there probably weren't even any officials to do their routine checks. All responsibility should fall on the one who committed the crime but the track shouldn't be so darn trusting in the future if they don't want any creeps to do this on their property ever again, despite their clean 50 year history. I do agree better policies should be enforced to help prevent this but nothing is gonna stop a maniac killer no matter what.
  • by Chuck Location: Tallahassee on Nov 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM
    All racing greyhounds have identifying tattoos in their ears. These match up to their registration papers which are held by the track. These papers also identify the owner of record. The owners should be front and center in the effort to initiate criminal and civil legal action against the track ownership and the Florida Division of Parimutuel Racing for failing to make even minimal efforts to monitor the activities and conditions at the Ebro Greyhound Park that led to the torture and unnecessary death of these greyhounds. Oh, and by the way, the Ebro facility is a palace compared to the Jefferson County Kennel Club in Monticello. The Division of Parimutuel Wagering does nothing to provide for the safety of the greyhounds there either.
  • by Greyhound Man Location: Florida on Nov 3, 2010 at 09:21 AM
    People need to understand how the business works before going around bashing them. Anyone that thinks it's the track's fault needs to educate themselves a little more first. If a crazy pilot flew an airplane into a school of children on purpose, should the airline be closed down? We shouldn't let the evil acts of one person judge a hardworking honest industry as a whole. I know many good people at Ebro and other tracks who are truly good people and like myself are probably disgusted by this worse than any of the general public can imagine. Don't you think they realize how tragic this is? Let this be a wake up call for all tracks across the country and encourage them to make sure that scum-bags like this don't ever get close and try to ruin it for us responsible ones. One never knows who their dealing with until it's too late. It's a shame how t Be more careful his inhumane waste of life weaseled his way into the business now he'll have to sit there where he belongs?
  • by Greyhound Man Location: Florida on Nov 3, 2010 at 07:50 AM
    I'm a supporter of responsible greyhound racing and I am extremely saddened by this. I love greyhounds so much and it hurts to know how cruel a person could be. I've been in the business all my life and worked hard and honest at it. My parents and grandparents did too. It's not fair for all of us who do what's right and to be looked at like the killer this man is. What if they found these dogs at this guys farm instead? Unfortunately for the track, it looks much worse because it happened on Ebro's property. But that kennel building was being loaned to that creepy loser and it wasn't the responsibility of the track's to take care of those greyhounds. That's how the industry works since the 1920's. Kennels are contracted and most of them treat the dogs like they were their own pets. So the track's responsibility is to keep the facility in order and insure safe racing conditions. Tracks do not run that side of the business. They take bets and run the financial side of the business.
  • by Shocked and disappointed Location: Chipley on Nov 2, 2010 at 09:27 PM
    This is an awful turn of events for animal lovers, racing fans, and the general public. My husband bred and raised racing greyhounds for many years, some of these broke-in and raced as puppies at Ebro or returned to Ebro in their retirement years. Our dogs were leased to a racing kennel who had a booking at Ebro, but was based in Kansas. When Ebro's meet was over, they would be brought to another track to continue their racing career. In all the years that we were in the business, I have never heard of such a horrendous story as this. It saddens me greatly. I know of many fine people who work very hard for diminishing money in the greyhound industry, but they do it because they love the animals and the thrill that greyhound racing provides. I hear the outcry for justice from the general public, and felt compelled to say that in many businesses there are bad apples. Yes, we should look for justice, but we should not call for the destruction of innocent, good peoples professions.
  • by Missy Location: Panama City Beach on Nov 2, 2010 at 08:02 PM
    Owners of the track are Stocky (Stockton) and Tammy Hess who just so happen to live RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the track. Number's listed although we might be better served voicing our concerns to those who regulate this business and the few politicians in office that still may care about the voice of the people that voted them in.
  • by terri Location: EBRO on Nov 2, 2010 at 06:34 PM
    As a former trainer myself I am ashamed of this. There are trainers that care greatly for thier dogs. Its people like this that give this industry a bad name. People don't get to hear about the trainers that take time and effort to find good homes for thier retired racers.I had a dog I kept in my kennel for two years hunting a home for him. Not all trainers or owners are bad . This is a real tragedy for the dogs and the industry. Just know there are those of us who do care for and love our greyhounds.
  • by ts Location: ebro on Nov 2, 2010 at 06:28 PM
    The people he had helping him in his kennel should also be held accountable for the deaths of the dogs. As I understand it they were in the kennel at the time the dogs died. So shouldn't they have to pay for not helping these animals. They should have told somone themselves. But of course they didn't see anything.Yeah right!!! His helpers are just as sorry as he is.
  • by beach guy on Nov 2, 2010 at 04:10 PM
    Can we get the name or names, addresses, phone #s, etc. of who owns the track? I cant believe that there have not been any charges brought against the owners as of yet.
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