|Birmingham Race Course, c. 2012, photo by Ray Wong|
On December 4, inspectors at the track found four drugs along with needles and syringes in the Fine Line Racing Kennel. One of the drugs was an anabolic steroid called Testosterone Cypionate. While it's likely this drug is being used by prevent female greyhounds from coming into heat, it can also be used to enhance performance. According to Steroid.com:
"Testosterone Cypionate is a highly anabolic and androgenic hormone making it a great steroid to use if one is in pursuit of more size and strength."Incredibly, greyhound trainer Eric Griffin was only fined $100 for possession of this anabolic steroid. This is nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and raises serious doubts about the effectiveness of the Birmingham Racing Commission.
On the same day, inspectors found that the Phat Kat Kennel "had a strong odor" and that multiple dogs in the kennel had "flea dirt" and "live fleas." The official inspection report further states that there has been a "persistent flea infestation in this kennel." As far as we can tell, no disciplinary action was taken.
Months earlier, in September, similar problems were documented at Birmingham Race Course. In the Phat Kat kennel, inspectors found that the food preparation area was "cluttered and dirty" and the refrigerator was "filthy." Inspectors also noted that the kennel compound was in a general state of disrepair.
Going back further, on May 21 the story was the same. A syringe was discovered in the Phat Kat kennel at the track, broken cages were found in the Double G Kennel, and officials were unable to conduct any inspection at all for two kennels.
Alabama is the only state in the country that does not have a state regulatory body to govern greyhound racing, and it shows. Local agencies like the Birmingham Racing Commission are not up to the job of addressing even basic issues, like drug cases and filthy conditions. In the next legislative session the state should create an Alabama Racing Commission, and send a message that it will not tolerate this cruelty.