After it approved the policy, the commission also unanimously voted to refer two cases of alleged animal cruelty to the Ohio County prosecutor.
The commission took action on the referral in connection to allegations of abuse by James Bloom and James Grace. The two previously worked at the same kennel in Wheeling, where they allegedly refused to provide adequate treatment for a dog with a broken leg.
A board of judges determined Bloom and Grace did not provide enough care to the dog, named Kiowa Dutch Girl. They stripped Grace of his permit and suspended Bloom's for six months.
Although commission employees had detailed records of the alleged abuse, the commission decided at its July meeting it needed more information before making a decision on the referral. The commission provided the Daily Mail with the information in June after a Freedom of Information Act request.
The commission allowed Grace to speak before it made its decision. Speaking over the phone, Grace said he was trying to save the dog from being put down and he didn't do anything wrong.
Telling the commission he was very sick and planned to leave the state to seek treatment, he asked they not punish him after his 35 years in the racing business.
Grace made similar statements at the July meeting, seemingly in direct conflict with statements he gave commissioners and track investigators near the time of the alleged abuse.
Again, the commission did not discuss its decision to refer the case at length before it was unanimously approved.
A referral does not necessarily mean prosecutors will filed criminal charges, Amores said.
Making it a policy to refer cases to law enforcement didn't sit well with Burdette.
"I don't think they should refer cases to the local prosecuting attorney as a matter of policy," Burdette said. "They have the right to do that anyway."
"I'm afraid that the inclusion of a referral in their policy will encourage the referral of cases that are not true animal cruelty."
Dorchak, who has advocated for the referral since it was reported, again thanked the commission for its decision.
"A new day is really dawning hear in West Virginia for racing animals, and greyhounds in particular," she said after the meeting.
Thirty-eight states ban commercial dog racing. The practice remains active in seven states, according to Dorchak's organization.