Greyhound Park to stop accepting female dogs

2012-09-19T00:00:00Z Greyhound Park to stop accepting female dogsDarren DaRonco Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 19, 2012 12:00 am  • 

After weeks of public scrutiny, the Tucson Greyhound Park won't be injecting female dogs with steroids any more.

Instead of injecting the dogs with testosterone to prevent estrus, the track has decided to become female-free.

CEO and general manager Tom Taylor said the track won't be accepting any more female dogs and expects the track to be all male in about a year and a half.

He said the current female dogs at the park will be allowed to go into heat. While in heat, the dogs will be separated and will not race for approximately 30 days.

Taylor said spaying the dogs was not an option because it presents a serious risk to the dogs' health.

"We've been advised by veterinarians across the country that this is the best course of action," Taylor said. "There's too much danger in spaying a female greyhound. They don't take anesthesia well and there can be a lot of complications in the spaying process."

The track currently has around 400 female dogs and Taylor doesn't know if all of them can be replaced.

"That's a big chunk," he said. "And people that send their dogs to us may stop sending their dogs to us if they can't send females."

Fewer dogs mean fewer races and Taylor said he is uncertain if the track will survive if it can't find enough dogs to maintain a sustainable number of races.

Taylor said even though the track doesn't actually own the dogs, he only defended the owners who injected their dogs because it was in the best interest of every one involved.

"The track doesn't have any interest in that at all. I'm interfering because I'm trying to make it better for the dogs," he said. "Because what's better for the dogs is better for the track."

After receiving death threats and a lot of hate mail recently, Taylor said the track owners instructed him to leave these issues for the individual dog owners to contend with.

"So the trainers are going to take care of their licensing and they are going to take care of the dogs when they come into heat," he said. "And they'll have to deal with the mail."

Dog-racing critic Councilman Steve Kozachik lauded the change as a good first step, but said more needs to be done.

"I am glad they are going male-only and giving half the dog population a break from racing," said Kozachik, who spearheaded the campaign to ban greyhound steroid injections in Tucson. "Now they can work on fixing the track and the living conditions of the dogs."

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