Dog-racing industry a model of disregard

Our view: Ban practice of greyhounds getting anabolic steroid shots within city
2012-09-11T00:00:00Z Dog-racing industry a model of disregard Arizona Daily Star
September 11, 2012 12:00 am

We are not surprised Tucson Greyhound Park has skirted around a South Tucson law that bans anabolic steroid injections for dogs.

The track has long shown little regard for the concerns expressed by greyhound activists for the health and care of the dogs. By sending the racers into the city of Tucson for their steroids, Tucson Greyhound Park doubles down on disregard.

It has chosen to ignore the will of South Tucson voters, who approved the ban four years ago. And it once again ignores the concerns of greyhound advocates, who fought hard to get the ban on the ballot.

To get around the ban, Tucson Greyhound Park has been transporting dogs a few hundred yards north into the city of Tucson, the Star's Darren Daronco recently reported.

Once the dogs are inside Tucson, Dr. Joe Robinson, the track veterinarian, legally injects them.

Susan Via, chairwoman of Tucson Dog Protection, which led the effort in getting the ban passed, has repeatedly said the steroid injections can result in liver damage, genital infections and shorter lifespans.

"It's just common sense. You don't give large doses of testosterone to females," she told Daronco. "It's unhealthy and it's unnecessary."

Tucson Greyhound Park CEO and General Manager Tom Taylor has characterized the ban as a poor law, saying the steroids are an effective method for birth control.

He said the stigma associated with steroid injections comes from kennel operators, who traditionally gave dogs overly large doses under the thinking more was better.

By using a veterinarian, Taylor said Tucson Greyhound Park has avoided this problem.

"It's what's best for the dogs," Taylor said. "And we will always do what's best for the dogs."

Will Tucson Greyhound Park always do what's best for the dogs?

History says no. The greyhound racing industry again and again has shown disregard for the dogs.

We all, hopefully, remember the 140 greyhounds who went missing from the track between 2005 and 2006.

State authorities eventually assumed the dogs were killed by a hauler.

In 2010, eight dogs baked to death on their way to Tucson.

More recently, greyhound activists have released footage of dogs crammed into dark cages. In that video, a trainer discusses serving the dogs 4D meat, which is such a bad grade charcoal is mixed in to ensure people don't eat it.

The law South Tucson voters approved bans this meat and ensures a minimum of time outside for the dog.

We support Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik's effort to have the council adopt a ban similar to South Tucson's.

"The greyhound racing industry is a horrific example of mistreatment of animals. If I could shut it down in Arizona, I would," Kozachik told Daronco. "The next best thing is to do what I can to improve the treatment of the dogs, and in this case it's to stop the use of anabolic steroids being used to buff them up and keep them on the track. To justify administering them to the dogs in the name of 'sport' is both inhumane and unethical."

Tucson Greyhound Park might be in South Tucson, but it is a black mark on our entire community.

Arizona Daily Star

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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