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Racing foes file complaints against Tucson Greyhound Park vets

Complaint says 2 vets allowed others to give steroid shots; one defends her services

Opponents of greyhound racing in Tucson have filed complaints with the state against veterinarians who monitor the dogs at Tucson Greyhound Park.

Tucson vet Janet Forrer and Susan Via, a retired assistant U.S. attorney and head of Tucson Dog Protection, filed the complaints with the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board.

The complaints claim that Andrew Carlton, the Arizona Department of Racing veterinarian, and track vets Betty Menke and Paul Pullen are in violation of the Veterinary Practice Act.

Some of the alleged violations include:

• Steroids being administered by people other than the dual-licensed vets, who are the only ones authorized to do so.

• Track vets turning a blind eye to the steroid injections that are clearly in violation of the act, either because of “negligence or indifference.”

• Lack of records outlining the drugs or treatments given to the animals, which should be submitted to the Arizona Department of Racing.

• Lack of oversight by Carlton, who, as state racing veterinarian, should be supervising the track vets’ practices.

• Pullen not notifying theVeterinary Medical Examining Board of a change of address, or having a listed phone number. The last two practices where Pullen worked have disconnected telephone numbers.

Via also filed a complaint with the Department of Racing about unlicensed workers administering steroids. This complaint is against the vets as well as against Tom Taylor, the track’s CEO and general manager, and track employees.

State vet board Executive Director Jenna Jones and Department of Racing Director Luis Marquez confirmed complaints were filed with their organizations but would not comment because the investigations are still open.

Menke said the purpose of track vets is to be there for the dogs while they are racing.

She said any other care the track vets provide is done as a courtesy, at no charge, and is not considered part of a practice.

“Our position is, we are not practicing because we are not offering services to the public and we’re not charging anybody for these services,” she said.

Department of Racing vet Carlton said the investigative committee of the Veterinary Medical Examining Board recommended the complaint against him be dismissed. He referred questions about the complaint filed with the Department of Racing to that agency.

Pullen couldn’t be reached for comment.

Taylor said he was unaware of the complaints but was aware of the passage of the Tucson Dog Protection Act, a South Tucson voter initiative on the November election ballot. South Tucson’s City Council will certify the initiative Monday .

Tucson Dog Protection put the initiative on the ballot.

The act prohibits feeding dogs low-quality raw meat and administering anabolic steroids. It also mandates dogs be let out of their kennels at least six hours out of every 24.

“We haven’t decided on the course of action we need to take,” Taylor said, “but we plan on following the letter of the law.”

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