Arizona greyhound racing – another black eyeby Karyn Zoldan on Aug. 09, 2012, under Animal News, Dogs, Canines, Fun with Fido, Barking Encouraged, Greyhounds
Question: When is a public records request not a public records request? Answer: When it’s sent to the Arizona Department of Racing. The Arizona Department of Racing is a state agency. And for the past gazillion years, it’s been funded by you the taxpayer from the state’s General Fund. Here, it’s an agency that regulates horse racing, county fair horse racing, dog racing, and boxing … all forms of entertainment that rakes in millions of dollars every year – yet – this regulating agency has relied on your tax dollars to pay its salaries and keep it operating until the past year where it was partially funded and this year as of July 2012 is 100% self funded. However, $250,000 will come out of the General Fund to pay for Breeder Awards which was voted for by your AZ legislature.
For now you can peruse last year’s budget here. Oh by the way, Tucson Greyhound Park still gets a hardship tax credit, something it has been privy to since 1995.
Nevertheless for the past few years, when making a public records request for injury reports at Tucson Greyhound Park, has been like asking to see CIA documents. None are forthcoming. The same can be said for disposition logs.
When Phoenix Greyhound Park closed in December 2009, I contacted a reporter from a Phoenix alt weekly asking her to do a story on the disposition of the dogs after the Phoenix track closed. She liked the idea. However, the powers that be at the time at Arizona Department of Racing didn’t like the idea. They said the disposition logs were not in their possession. They said they could request the logs from Phoenix Greyhound Park but decided not to. End of story.
To me that was the story. I told the reporter the fact that Arizona Department of Racing wouldn’t ask for the logs was a big story. It didn’t get pursued.
It’s no secret that I despise greyhound racing and I always will. While I have gotten to know and like some of the people who make their living from this grisly “sport,” I still hate it and want it to end.
Aside from greyhound racing being state-sanctioned animal abuse, it has also been unaccountable. According to yesterday’s e-alert distributed by GREY2K USA, the alert demonstrates how injury report requests to the Arizona Department of Racing have been repeatedly denied but yet they exist. The alert also shows the number of injuries at Tucson Greyhound Park in certain months and the state civil servants bantering back and forth of what should be done about the situation.
Duh. This is nothing new. Month after month, year after year excuses abound but nobody makes anyone accountable. In the report, the condition of the track is mentioned. It’s mentioned here and it’s mentioned here too. Maybe Tucson Greyhound Park should close down until they figure out how to fix the track condition problem once and for all.
I personally am still waiting for Mr. Nolan Thompson, Assistant Director of Racing, to call me back after I called him a few months ago about some canine flu quarantine rumor. He was going to check it out and left me know. Still waiting…Mr. Thompson…
Is this something for the Goldwater Institute? Don’t they investigate public record request refusals? “The Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation provides free legal representation to Arizonans whose constitutional rights are violated by government.”
Recently a governor-appointed Department of Racing Commissioner stated that he wanted to make it much more difficult for citizen groups to submit public information requests, and also suggested that confidential tips of greyhound cruelty should not be reported to authorities. He has since publicly apologized.
What you can do is send an email to Governor Brewer and ask her to enforce public record requests for Tucson Greyhound Park. As an Arizona taxpayer you have that right.
And as an animal lover, please do it for the greyhounds.
(Photo courtesy GREY2K USA from a PACC public information request.)