|Bella Kingnarmer was injured at Tucson Greyhound Park in 2009|
Two days ago, Arizona Department of Racing Director William Walsh wrote to us and denied that his agency has refused GREY2K USA public information requests
for greyhound injury data. In part, his letter
"The Department of Racing has not 'denied' GREY2K USA access to any public records it maintains."
is not only disingenuous, it is deeply misleading. The fact is, the Department of Racing is using a sneaky tactic
to prevent the public from having access to information about greyhound injuries. GREY2K USA immediately responded
to Walsh, and addressed this sneaky tactic
Below, you will find a full copy of our letter
. A digital copy, with endnotes and supporting documentation can be downloaded here
. Hopefully, the Department will soon realize that this wrongheaded policy must end, and will provide the public with information about greyhound injuries
"August 16, 2012
William J. Walsh, Director
Arizona Department of Racing
1110 West Washington St., Suite
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Dear Director Walsh,
Thank you for
your correspondence dated August 15, 2012.
Please consider this a formal response to your letter.
the Arizona Department of Racing is willfully violating the Arizona Public
Records Law. Specifically, the Department is intentionally
not keeping physical possession of records related to greyhound injuries at
Tucson Greyhound Park, in a patently obvious attempt to prevent such records
from entering the public domain.
records were produced as public documents in Arizona until approximately
November 2009, when the Department opted to begin skirting the public information
law. Additionally, they are public
documents in other jurisdictions, including West Virginia, Iowa and Texas.
This “hide and
seek” tactic to skirt public information laws is not new. In fact, in 1993 an individual named Steve
Barham withdrew his application to become the next Director of the Arizona Department of Racing after he admitted using this same tactic in another
state. The Arizona Republic Editorial Board addressed this issue forcefully:
“What Arizona did not need was an individual who willfully would seek
to come up with creative means to cut off public access absent legal
will find a full copy of the Arizona
this is not the first time the Department has shown a disregard for public
transparency. For example:
On July 15, 2012 Arizona Racing Commissioner
Rory Goree publicly stated that he was “mulling some bill ideas” to make public information requests much more difficult.
On September 12, 2011 Arizona Department of Racing Director Lonny Powell forwarded a message about dogs racing in extreme
temperatures at Tucson Greyhound Park to various racetrack lobbyists and
executives. At the top of his message, in large font, he
wrote “Please…no e-mail responses
question, the reports that were released prior to November 2009 demonstrate a
serious problem. Specifically, between
January 2007 and November 2009, 923 greyhound injuries were reported at Arizona
racetracks. The most common injury was a broken leg, and
other reported injuries included fractures, sprains, dislocations, muscle tears
and strains, lacerations, a cracked skull, broken backs, heat stroke, puncture
wounds and paralysis. Most greyhound injuries reported during this
period were serious, and 67 were fatal or resulted in euthanasia. For example:
· On April 11, 2009 a one-year-old brindle greyhound named Oxbow Savage died after he suffered a broken skull during a race at Tucson Greyhound Park. The official injury report included the statement “Dangerous track – too wet!”
· On February 23, 2007 a four-year-old white and brindle greyhound named Too Tall Sky was euthanized after he suffered a back injury during a race at Tucson Greyhound Park and had “no feeling” in his tail and rear legs.
· On August 12, 2009 a two-year-old brindle greyhound named Boc’s Flamingo was euthanized after suffering a broken leg during a race at Tucson Greyhound Park. According to the official injury report “surgical repair” was recommended but instead the individual responsible for the dog “decided on euthanasia.”
The public deserves to have access to this data, and it is not be in the best interest of the state for it to be withheld. We can only assume that the Department has chosen to block access to greyhound injury data because disclosure would not be in the financial interests of Tucson Greyhound Park.
In closing, I would like to remind you that you are not an employee of Tucson Greyhound Park. As a public official and state regulator, you represent the people of the State of Arizona. By playing hide and seek with Tucson Greyhound Park injury data, you are putting the interests of a private racetrack ahead of good public policy and the integrity of the Arizona Public Records Law. It is my hope that you will reconsider this harmful policy and once again fully adhere to both the spirit and the letter of the law.
A. Dorchak, Esq., President
and General Counsel, GREY2K USA
cc: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer"