Enhancing Disaster: Cocaine and GreyhoundsPublished June 14, 2010
No matter what species athletic competitors may be, whether equine, canine, or even human, it is essential that all laws concerning the racing sport are tightened to ensure an end to drugging of any kind. Unscrupulous trainers often resort to administering performance enhancing drugs to assure that coveted spot: the winner's circle. Not only is this a dangerous and abusive practice, it doesn't accurately demonstrate the true abilities of the contenders. When I watch a talented, ethically trained horse gallop past the wire to capture the win, I hope the victory was accomplished due to careful selective breeding, superior genetics, skeletal and muscular soundness, and excellent training. And since I avidly enjoy watching top-notch horse racing, on occasion, and other competitive equine sports, some folks may consider me somewhat hypocritical in my disdain and abhorrence of dog racing. But apparently this "sport" is riddled with its own brand of cruelty. These dogs are often subjected to constant confinement while at the racetrack, in cages so small they are unable to stand up or turn around. It has been reported that over one thousand dogs are kept in "warehouse" style cages at each track. While the Sport of Kings is by no means without its share of abuses, we are now becoming increasingly aware of the dirty little secrets that dog trainers and breeders often resort to for financial gain. Each year at commercial racetracks, thousands of dogs receive serious injuries like broken legs, spinal cord paralysis, broken necks and cardiac arrest. Some states do not require that records are kept on the number of dogs injured. Public transparency is not a goal. Massachusetts-based organization, GREY2K USA, is one of the most active groups involved in the protection of greyhounds. Their mission is to put an end to dog racing. And they recently released some rather disturbing facts about the widespread practice of drugging in the sport. Greyhounds were administered cocaine in Massachusetts, Florida and overseas in the past few years in order to "fix" races. And according to an article published on The Birmingham News website, a greyhound tested positive for cocaine at the Birmingham Racetrack last fall. The dog's handler was suspended for 60 days and fined, according to Birmingham Racing Commission documents and a greyhound advocacy group. The Racing Commission ruled that Pots Banshee, the dog that won the 10th race at the track on October 20, 2009, tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a common marker for cocaine that can be detected in dogs' urine for several days after the cocaine itself leaves the body. The purse from the race was rescinded and the handler was fined $750 due to the positive test, but was not charged with a crime. He was fined an additional $50 based on the evidence of "indictable medication" along with the presence of a syringe uncovered at the kennel. Based on these findings, Grey2K USA asked Governor Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling to look into not only this incident but also a similar one in Mobile, which occurred last December. In 2007, 13 regular patrons were arrested at Mobile Greyhound Park in Alabama in a scheme to fix races using "male enhancement" products, according to authorities. Their plan was to bet on non-drugged dogs with longer odds, in hopes that the pills would exhaust the favored dogs to which they were administered. Three of the patrons were arrested on charges of tampering with racing, but all charges were dropped eventually. Sounds fishy to me! After all, it is only involves innocent animals. Read more about Grey2K USA by clicking here. What are your thoughts about dog racing or animal racing in general? Discuss them by leaving a comment.