As people grow more aware of the fact that animals experience pain just as we do and need the same legal protection from cruelty and abuse, more states are cracking down on practices where animal suffering is par for the course. Arizona is now the 40th state to ban the barbaric “sport” of Greyhound racing.
Every year, thousands of these magnificent creatures are bred and trained to race. And every year, thousands of the ones who are injured or not fast enough are slaughtered to make way for new winners to be made.
Their lives are little better than those of puppy mill dogs. They spend upward of 20 hours per day in a crate that gives them only enough room to turn around. Many of the enclosures are not heated or air conditioned. The dogs routinely suffer brutal injuries such as torn muscles, broken legs and necks, cardiac arrest, and paralysis. They generally do not receive adequate medical care because it would dip into profits, so it’s cheaper to just kill them and get new ones.
Because of social media, thousands of people have become aware of their plight and have called for Greyhound racing to be ended. It has been in 80 percent of the states.
“This legislation is something we’ve been working on for 10 years, and we couldn’t be happier that the day has finally arrived,” Christine Dorchak, president of Grey2K USA, told the Arizona Daily Star. She called Tuscon Greyhound Park – the last dog racing facility in the state – a “deathtrap for dogs.”
Hopefully the remaining states will soon follow suit.
“Anybody with a heart for their own pet has to be celebrating this,” said Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik, a longtime critic of dog racing in the area. “Tucson Greyhound Park has been the end of the line for so many dogs, and now those of us who have advocated to get the place shut down have to work hard to make sure the kennel operators do the right thing and adopt out the animals under their care and not send them out to farms, blood banks or auction them as hunting bait.”
Now homes will need to be found for over 400 Greyhounds. People from as far away as Canada has offered to help. Arizona Greyhound Rescue president Jean Williams said the group is hoping to have Greyhounds trained to become service dogs with the Heartfelt Hounds program. Families are needed to foster and train incoming dogs.
“We look at every dog coming off the track and into our family and assess them to see if they can do service work or emotional support work,” she said.