A revealing report on greyhound racing wraps up with some poor reporting

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The video below, produced by CBS Miami reporter Jim DeFede, uncovers information on greyhound kennel operator James O’Donnell and the recent charges that he gave his dogs three different steroids and the allegations that he forged the signature of a deceased veterinarian to falsify vaccination records.

But some huge miscues were made in the reporting. The reporter never asked O’Donnell to disclose the name of an assistant to the deceased veterinarian, an assistant O’Donnell claims stamped the signature, after the vet’s death. If he did ask and O’Donnell declined to answer, this would have been important to include in his report.

And at the end of the video above, DeFede calls O’Donnell a “decent man” who is being used as a scapegoat. This would not be an issue particularly, if DeFede was billed as a columnist. But he is billed as an investigative reporter. He went on to claim O’Donnell is under fire, as a way for those who want to shut down dog racing to drum up controversy.

But he did not offer up any proof to this claim, as an investigative reporter. And he calls greyhound racing, “a once storied sport that has fallen from grace.” It is not a sport – and to use the phrase “storied” to describe an industry that was once and still is killing dogs as part of a gambling operation is simply horrible.

I’m stunned by what was uncovered concerning the accusations against O’Donnell – which was great reporting. But then I was stunned by the huge gap in information and with the comments made.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

BREAKING NEWS: Florida officials suspect steroids are being used in racing greyhounds

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The animal-welfare movement generally suspects this is being done, but now the allegations are coming from greyhound racing officials in Florida.

The Miami Herald reports today that a dog trainer who works out of the Flagler and Hollywood greyhound tracks has been charged with the illegal possession of performance-enhancing drugs.

The article notes the man charged, James “Barney” O’Donnell –

“… is one of the industry’s largest greyhound operators in the nation. He owns and trains dogs in multiple states and runs the compound shared by South Florida’s racinos.”

The drugs were first discovered in August, but no action has been taken to date. The article reports inspectors found more evidence in October, including the drugs testosterone, boldenone and androstenedione. He could be fined or could lose his Florida license.

And then we have the following, troubling paragraph from the article:

According to state records, O’Donnell has a history of being investigated and disciplined by regulators. His file includes eight complaints, including an animal welfare case. He has been reprimanded twice, and fined at least once.

Greyhounds are at risk of injury and death at race tracks everywhere and when we read information such as this, those of us who want to protect the dogs have a heightened level of concern.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

South Tucson caves – lifts ban on improper use of steroids for racing greyhounds

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The voters of South Tucson, Ariz. and city officials had supported an important ban on the improper use of steroids in racing greyhounds. But now, as reported by the Arizona Daily Star, the ban has been lifted.

Why has the ban been lifted? – Because the director of the Arizona Department of Racing said so. So if an alcoholic beverage manufactures association told the city it could no longer arrest people for DWIs, I now wonder what would happen in South Tucson.

For those who might claim there is a difference, because it is a “department of racing” – no, not really. The Arizona Department of Racing supports greyhound racing and therefore supports an industry with a history of abusing dogs.

But the story gets even more troubling, In showing a stunning lack of knowledge about dog racing, South Tucson City Manager Luis Gonzales is quoted by the Arizona Daily Star as saying –

“From our perspective, it has nothing to do with whether or not the greyhounds are being treated humanely or not; we believe they are.”

Mr. Gonzales needs to educate himself as to the horrors of greyhound racing and to the latest research into animal cognition and self-awareness. He is clearly deficient in this area.

Thankfully, Susan Via, who worked to develop the voter initiative, is quoted as saying –

“It just shows they have contempt for the welfare of the animals and contempt for the voters that passed this ordinance.”

The article notes officials in neighboring Tucson seem to have retained their backbones and will not consider lifting the ban there on injecting steroids in racing dogs.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Arizona Department of Racing wants ban lifted on steroid use in dog racing

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The City of South Tucson rightfully banned the improper use of steroids in racing greyhounds five years ago. And Tucson later joined in after it was found that dogs were transported just beyond the South Tucson limits for injection.

But the Arizona Department of Racing recently sent a request to South Tucson, asking for a lift on the steroid ban for racing dogs. The letter suggests the “law interferes with its power and authority to regulate the industry and the property on which the races are conducted…”

Translation: The ADR wants to allow the improper use of steroids and doesn’t want anyone else trying to protect dogs from harm.

Clearly, steroids should only be prescribed by veterinarians, for medical conditions. The racing industry there in Arizona claims the use of the drug (PED – wink) is for birth control (wink,wink). How about separating the females from the males. Or how about ending the abuse and shut down dog racing forever.

The Arizona Daily Star published an editorial Wednesday rightfully supporting the ban on steroids for racing dogs and the other provisions in the local ordinance, which “prohibits the use of 4-D meat, the standard racing industry feed that gets its name from the dead, dying, disabled or diseased animals it’s made from.”

The editorial also reports on the health risks of long-term steroid use – including liver damage, genital infections and death.

And Karyn Zoldan has the issued covered in her Tucson Tails blog.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic