Remembering Dead Tucson Greyhound Pa’s Mismakamess-Missyby Karyn Zoldan on Aug. 31, 2013, under Animal Cruelty, Greyhounds
Some greyhound adopters who have been around for awhile will remember an incident that received much negative publicity when on the night of August 31, 2007, an allegedly inebriated Tucson Greyhound Park kennel operator, David Blair, tried to save Missy’s life after she broke her leg during a race.
While I can’t remember what I had for dinner last week, this incident is one of those “clicks” in my life that changed me from adopter/advocate to activist.
Poor Missy was only 2 years old and had raced 7 times. Other than being a race dog, her other misfortune was being part of a kennel where the kennel operator didn’t want to save her life.
And so she was euthanized even though the allegedly inebriated David Blair tried to save her by removing Missy from the premises; even though a local greyhound adoption group was on their way to pick her up; even though an adoption group from San Diego would have jumped in their vehicle and driven 6 hours to pick her up. A virtual greyhound adoption group was on the premises (GPA-Tucson) in name only and did nothing to save Missy’s life.
As a matter of fact, according to the official document (page 3), Tom Taylor wore two conflicted hats – one as the head of the virtual GPA-Tucson and one as general manager of the track. Under the direction of the bad boy kennel operator, he (Taylor) tried to broker a deal, and sell the broken leg Missy to David Blair for $200. Is that according to the AZ statutes? State regulation R19-2-329 states: “Every effort shall be made to adopt greyhounds not used for racing or breeding.” Nobody sells a broken leg dog. David Blair was the on the right side of the fence. Tom Taylor, not so much. Hey, ADOR – Is selling a broken leg dog permissible in the statutes?
According to Arizona Department of Racing incident review which chronicled the event after many complaints were logged, a track vet …”determined that the animal had a fracture to the right hock. The options were either surgical correction or humane euthanization.”
Missy greyhound was performing her “job” and fractured her leg in the process. She was euthanized on the spot without the benefit of an x-ray or a proper medical evaluation to determine the extent of damage, despite the wishes of someone trying to give her another chance. The track vet decided to end Missy’s life without proper x-rays. If you took your pet dog to a vet, the minimum of an x-ray would be in order.
To the rest of us — adopters and animal advocates — a greyhound with a broken leg or broken hock will heal (with care and/or surgery) and become a beloved pet. However, to the greyhound racing industry and to the state agency (Arizona Department of Racing) which is supposed to oversee greyhound welfare, a dog with a broken leg has no chance of winning money and therefore is exploitable and expendable.
“During the hearing, Dr. Carlton (AZ state veterinarian) was asked to discuss hock injuries to provide insight into the prescribed course of treatment for this type of injury. He noted for the record a total of 95 hock fractures occurred at Tucson Greyhound Park during the past three years. Forty of these dogs, who had injuries similar to “Pa’s Mismakamess” were humanely euthanized at the request of the owner or the owner’s representative. Dr. Carlton stated that all of these injuries could have been treated, undergone surgery, and received subsequent medical attention, but the euthanization decision is based on the “willingness and capacity of the individual to treat.” (page 5/incident review)
“Dr. Carlton also noted that 333 total injuries occurred during this three-year period at Tucson Greyhound Park. Fifty, or 15% of the animals, were euthanized.” (page 6/incident review)
In other words, broken leg dogs cost money. Is no one in the racing industry willing to pay for these injuries even though millions of dollars are made annually from live dog racing?
What’s changed in Tucson? What happens to the broken leg dogs? How many dogs break their legs every month? Every year? For the past 6 years, how many dogs have broken their legs like Missy? Is anyone keeping records? How many broken leg dogs are killed?
Are the dogs at Tucson Greyhound Park in better condition today six years later than they were in 2007? Doubt it. If you think so, prove it — with better reporting, accountability, and transparency.
Please remember Missy today and every racing greyhound who died in vain for a $2 bet.
For more on the topic of Missy, read this article: Why does our society tolerate the mistreatment of greyhounds and other dogs?
(The above sign was made for the original protest at Tucson Greyhound Park September 2007)