Monday, April 29, 2013

More greyhound deaths documented at Sarasota racetrack, including dog who was electrocuted

The final race for Raiders Uncle Mo, who died in February
Yesterday, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported on two fatal greyhound injuries that occurred at Sarasota Kennel Club, including a dog that died after apparently being electrocuted. This coverage followed a state investigation that was launched in February, after GREY2K USA provided regulators with information from a confidential source.

Unfortunately, the state investigation confirmed that our informant was correct about the fate of Raiders Uncle Mo, who died on February 9. In what was apparently just his third official race, the 23 month old black dog was bumped by another greyhound, stumbled, and "landed on the electrified lure tracks that are located under the guard rail." According to a track veterinarian, Mo's cause of death was listed as:
"Dog fell or was pushed within 20 yards of leaving box. Fell under rail. Death by electrocution, burns on jacket."
Despite Mo's death, business continued as usual at the track. According to the state report it was determined that "there was no interruption of positions caused by the early incident" and the race was declared "Official." Further, the track lure operator told regulators he was "thankful that no one was seriously injured."

This is not the first time that greyhound deaths have been documented at the Sarasota racetrack. Our informant told us that second greyhound had died at the facility under similar circumstances weeks earlier, and this was confirmed by the state Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering:
"I again spoke with DVM David Wyatt, about any additional electrocutions that had recently occurred ... He showed an entry in his Treatment & Injury Sheet. It involved, 'Se's Yukon Joe' which hit the guard rail going into the first turn, he then continued to run and collapsed after the far turn ... Cause of death was listed as unknown; consider electrocution, cardiac arrest, brain hemorrhage, aneurysm, etc."
Finally, another state investigative report indicates that at least fourteen greyhounds died at Sarasota Kennel Club between November 2009 and April 2010, including three greyhounds that died on the same day.

When the Herald-Tribune asked the track for comment, Racing Director Thomas Bowersox contradicted his own records and claimed that there was "no way to say for sure" whether Raiders Uncle Mo died due to electrocution or "something else."  He then stated:
"Dogs are euthanized for reasons other than accidents."
To our surprise Bowersox also claimed that the track's injury records are open to inspection, but added that he would "prefer not to send" them to me. This was shortly after GREY2K USA sent the track a letter urging it to voluntarily release its greyhound injury data. So far, we have not received a response.

The sad death of Raiders Uncle Mo is another example of why greyhound injury reports should be made available to the public. If we had not received a confidential tip, his fate would have been simply swept away as another nameless dog. All of the greyhounds racing in Florida, and elsewhere, deserve better.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Are There Zombie Greyhounds at Arizona Dog Track?

Happy Birthday Zoe
Is it possible that there are zombie greyhounds at Tucson Greyhound Park?

According to state records on October 3, 2012 state regulators prevented a greyhound named Bubbles Sidekick from racing at the track because she was "lame." Ordinarily this would not be unusual, as dogs are "scratched" from racing on a regular basis. But in this case it is quite strange, because according to a separate state record Bubbles Sidekick had actually died after racing at Tucson four days earlier.

Setting aside zombie humor, this discrepancy raises even more questions about the poor regulation of this low end racetrack. Which state record is inaccurate? Did a different greyhound die after a race on September 29, or was a different greyhound prevented from racing on October 3 due to being "lame?" Are there other similar discrepancies in official state records?

According to a database maintained by dog race gamblers, Bubbles never raced again after September 29. If that is the day she died, then the black greyhound passed away only a few days shy of her fifth birthday.

On Monday, we hosted a small party at the GREY2K USA office to celebrate the birthday of my adopted greyhound Zoe. Although this was a joyful occasion, it does remind me now of all the family birthday parties Bubbles Sidekick will never have.