After hearing from people all over the world the shoe company appears to be backpedaling, and has told us "we don't even know if that footage we (sic) ever appear in a commercial." This is a step in the right direction, but is not good enough.
Meanwhile, we have received evidence of two new cases of neglect that occurred at Tucson Greyhound Park. Both of these cases occurred only weeks before the Skechers ad shoot, and should give them pause.
According to the Arizona Department of Racing, a greyhound trainer named Willie Davis was fined $1,000 by the state for "failing to turn out and care for the greyhounds" in the kennel he worked in on September 28. According to state records, the dogs were not let out of their cages to relieve themselves for at least eight hours before a state investigator discovered the problem.
Three days later on October 1, another trainer at Tucson Greyhound Park was fined $100 after he brought four greyhounds to race with an "excessive amount of fleas." Thankfully, state officials did not allow the dogs to compete.
These recent cases are just the latest chapter in a long list of humane problems at the Tucson track. For example:
- In June, a kennel inspection report documented poor conditions including "floors filthy (urine & feces)/refridgerator covered inside and out with blood (from meat)." When he was confronted, the trainer responsible for the kennel "could not produce a log" indicating the ultimate fate of greyhounds that had previously raced and refused to sign the inspection report.
- Last year, GREY2K USA investigators gained access to the Tucson Greyhound Park kennel compound and documented the conditions in which dogs live. Hundreds of greyhounds live in darkness, kept confined in small cages and most of the dogs are muzzled. When track General Manager Tom Taylor was asked about our footage, his bizarre defense included the statement that the track is an "ideal place for dogs." Taylor also claimed that he "could show you a picture of the Mona Lisa and you could say 'Oh, that's horrible.'" Taylor did admit, however, that he would not allow his pet dog to live in the track kennel compound.
- Independently of GREY2K USA, nearly identical kennel conditions at the track were documented in 2010 and 2011 by a Pima County investigator.
- In February, we released a Report on Greyhound Racing in Arizona that documented a wide range humane problems at Tucson Greyhound Park. Some of these problems include female greyhounds being given anabolic steroids, cases of neglect, unsanitary conditions, trainers testing positive for illegal drugs, dogs dying while being transported, and greyhounds suffering from various illnesses. In addition, nearly three hundred greyhound injuries have been reported at Tucson Greyhound Park since 2007, including dogs that suffered broken legs and other serious injuries such as a broken skull.
Skechers must now make a decision. I am hopeful the company will make the humane choice, and announce it will not run any ad that was filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park. If Skechers insists on moving forward, we have secured the domain www.BoycottSkechers.com and are prepared to take our campaign to a whole new level. Stay tuned.