Monday, June 26, 2006

Bad News for Greyhounds

Posted By on Mon, Jun 26, 2006 at 1:59 PM

I’ve been on vacation for the past 5 days in Northern California, and the weather wasn’t as cool as I would’ve liked—it was in the high 90s in parts of the East Bay, but there were layers of fog coating the horizon driving southbound on Highway 1. That was refreshing, even though the hairpin turns were not. 

While on vacation, I didn’t read any newspapers (except the East Bay Express, an alternative paper) and didn’t watch any television; a vacation from the news is just as important as soaking in mother nature’s eye candy. I don’t even know if the Internet has been saved. 

There was a bill pending that would allow horse off-track betting locally, which could have forced Tucson Greyhound Park to close because of the revenue loss. For some of us who own greyhounds, let’s just say we were tap dancing curbside, hoping the track would close. Although greyhounds are built to run, they are not built to live in stacked cages 22 hours a day—and not to run in 107-degree heat. 

Arizona is one of 14 states where greyhound racing is still legal. Are Arizonans barbarians? 

When I adopted my dogs in 1998 and 1999, most dogs who retired from the track were between 3 1/2 and 5 years old. Today, they’re mostly 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years old. Dogs are over-bred and wash out so quickly, many with broken bones. TGP retires 600 dogs a year, and the local adoption groups are scrambling as fast as they can. The Phoenix track retires 700 dogs a year. 

The bill was removed from voting which—for now—means the TGP remains open for business. The TGP is owned by a Florida-New York corporation, so the revenue doesn’t really stay here (but for the people of South Tucson, it does provide low-paying jobs and pays property taxes which support some of their services).

Thankfully, greyhound racing continues to wane as most people want to go to a glitzy gaming casino instead of a run-down track whose foodservice facilities recently got dinged by the health department.  

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