Live racing at Tucson Greyhound Park could come to end if Arizona lawmakers pass bill

May 6, 2016, 5:30 AM
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Tucson Greyhound Park has had live racing since 1944 and is the only Greyhound racing track that is still operating west of the Rocky Mountains.  But that will come to an end by the end of this year if Arizona House Bill 2127 becomes law.

Representative J.D. Mesnard, the bill’s sponsor, said the animal rights group Grey2k USA has been pushing to have the track closed.

“Their experience is that they’re not in a good condition, some of these dogs.  They pushed pretty hard that we should bring live dog racing to an end,” Mesnard said.  “I question some of the conditions that these dogs are in.”

A video on the group’s website claimed the dogs are kept muzzled inside small cages that are in the dark.  Several media reports revealed that two dogs have died during races since 2014: one was electrocuted and the other’s back was broken.

Tucson Greyhound Park Spokesman Michael Racy insisted that the park passes inspections.

“The facility is inspected routinely and regularly by the state veterinarian and Pima County Animal Control, and had routinely and always received a clean bill of health,” he said.  “The animals at Tucson Greyhound Park have absolutely not been mistreated.”

Both Mesnard and Racy said the bill came about as a compromise between Grey2K USA and Tucson Greyhound Park.

Racy said the live racing has become less profitable because of several Native American casinos that are now operating near the Tucson park.

While the live racing would end if the bill is signed by Gov. Doug Ducey, Mesnard and Racy both said off-track betting on races simulcasts from greyhound parks in Florida and other parts of the country will continue at Tucson Greyhound Park.

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Live racing at Tucson Greyhound Park could come to end if Arizona lawmakers pass bill