Jett, a greyhound, front, takes it all lying down as Susan Via addresses the City Council about the dog-racing industry's practice of injecting dogs with anabolic steroids, which she opposes. Via's own greyhound, Dilly, is standing behind her. The council approved a steroid-injection ban.


Tucson Greyhound Park will have to find a new municipality where it can inject steroids into its dogs.

The Tucson City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the practice within city limits.

In 2008, South Tucson residents passed an ordinance forbidding steroid use in greyhounds.

Tucson Greyhound Park CEO and General Manager Tom Taylor thwarted the initiative by having the dogs transported just north of the park into Tucson, where the track veterinarian legally injects steroids into them.

When Councilman Steve Kozachik learned of the practice, he drafted a proposal to outlaw it in Tucson.

Taylor said injecting steroids into female greyhounds is safe and an accepted form of birth control in the racing world.

"Every (veterinarian) I have worked with said it is a medication," Taylor said. "If administered properly, it does what it is supposed to do" and nothing else.

Opponents of the practice told the council that injecting female dogs with male testosterone can lead to liver damage, severe genital deformities and an early death.

In the end, the council sided with the opponents.

Kozachik said while the ban in Tucson is a good first step, more needs to be done at the county and state level to protect the dogs.

"I think it's animal abuse in the guise of sport," he said. "I'd love to see the state Legislature step up to the plate and tell the gaming commission to get some guts and end dog racing in Arizona."

Excessive noise

In other action, construction noise will now be held to the same standard as barking dogs and late-night parties.

The council unanimously passed a resolution to amend the existing noise ordinance to include construction activities on nights and weekends.

Under previous rules, someone had to bring a decibel meter to the construction site for an exact reading before a ticket could be issued, City Attorney Mike Rankin said.

Now, any excessive noise generated by construction on nights and weekends would be treated the same as if your neighbor was blaring his stereo too loud, he said.

Town West

The council also voted 7-0 to deny Town West, formerly El Mirador, an extension on its rezoning downtown.

In 2007, the council approved a rezoning for a five-building, mixed-use development, including 150 condos, a hotel, brewery and restaurants on almost six acres of city and state land at the northwest corner of Stone Avenue and Franklin Street. Approval of the zoning and redevelopment plan expire in November.

Councilwoman Regina Romero said the reason for the denial was the plans had changed.

She said over the past few weeks Town West had been discussing possible changes with her and others, calling for a 700-student mega-dorm on the site.

Tom Meehan, a consultant for Town West, said those were just preliminary talks.

But Romero said it was best to jettison the project now so the city could move forward on other possible uses for the property.

Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or