At one time, there were several dog tracks in Arizona. For much of its 72 years, the Tucson Greyhound Park was among the most popular and successful venues in the state.
This past Saturday night, the track ran its last race.
“In the 1980s, it was very, very popular with big crowds,” Michael Racy, a spokesman and lobbyist for the park for more than 20 years, told Tucson.com. “As a student at the UA, I’d go,” he said. “There was a great restaurant and it was a really fun way to spend a Saturday night.”
But attendance has been in a steady decline as gambling patrons started choosing the quick gratification of casino slot machines over wagering on dogs, Racy added. In May, Gov. Doug Ducey signed bills that put an end to live racing in Arizona for good.
The park’s dogs are all headed to new venues, whether greyhound rescue groups or out-of-state racing venues. Volunteers for the former, of course, are hoping to re-home as many of the hounds as they can. Many have been operating at capacity since before the bills were signed as it seemed likely the ban would pass.
Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption has taken in 43 dogs since April and will be taking more, Renee Bennett, its operations director, told the Daily Star.
“Because we have taken in many more hounds than normal, it will take us a while to find suitable forever homes,” Bennett said. “Once we have adopted out most of those hounds, we plan to take hounds from the track in Tijuana.”
Arizona Greyhound Rescue, has taken in about 20 dogs since April, said Mary Flores, the organization’s development director.
“Once the hounds we have received from Tucson Greyhound Park are placed, Arizona Greyhound Rescue will begin to receive greyhounds from any of the five states where dog racing remains legal and operational,” she said.
If you’re interested in adopting a greyhound (they are such lovely dogs!), there are an abundance of Arizona greyhound rescue organizations from which to choose.