Leaders of an anti-dog racing group gathered at the state capitol Wednesday to roll out Iowans for Ending Dog Racing—a new organization aimed at mobilizing support across the state to end dog racing in Iowa.

The leaders of Iowans for Ending Dog Racing include Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol, Greater Dubuque Development Corporation President and CEO Rick Dickinson, Council Bluffs Chamber President Bob Mundt and former Council Bluffs mayor Tom Hanafan.

The Iowa dog racing industry requires $13 million in subsidies every year, which costs Council Bluffs and Dubuque millions in local economic development and charitable giving.

"Eliminating the requirement that dog racing remain in Dubuque would be an enormous benefit to our community in terms of millions of additional dollars that could be spent on charitable giving and local economic development," said Buol.

Ending dog racing in Iowa would also open up the land where the current track is located in Council Bluffs for new development.

"The dog track in Council Bluffs sits directly off of I-80 on one of the top potential development sites in the entire state," said Hanafan. "Since attendance and interest in dog racing has dramatically declined in the last two decades, our community would benefit greatly by opening up that area for new development and job opportunities."

Iowans for Ending Dog Racing is encouraging citizens from Dubuque, Council Bluffs and across the state to study the facts about the dog racing industry and sign the petition to end dog racing in Iowa at www.EndIowaDogRacing.com.

The organization is also encouraging Iowans to contact their local legislator and urge him or her to support proposed legislation to end dog racing in Iowa.

The proposed bipartisan bill that has passed a committee in the Iowa House would provide the dog racing industry with $70 million over seven years to end dog racing and explore new opportunities.

In addition, each casino currently subsidizing the dog racing industry has publicly committed to keeping their track employees on staff and giving them a new role within the casinos.