The Arizona Daily Star reports that there’s no record of any exemption being granted by South Tucson, the municipality in which the track operates, or by Pima County.
An ordinance in South Tucson requires dog owners pay a $45 licensing fee.
Under the ordinance, any unaltered dog kept within the city for 30 consecutive days each year is required to have a license.
Yet Tucson Greyhound Park, a home of sorts to more than 700 dogs, hasn’t gotten a license for any of them in six decades. At $45 per license, given all those dogs and all those years, that’s a pretty significant savings.
Kim Janes, manager of Pima County Animal Care, said he doesn’t know why the park considered itself exempt. He said his office began investigating the matter about a year ago.
His office found no state statutes that spared greyhound tracks from paying the fee.
The South Tucson’s City Attorney’s Office contacted his office last week, informing him that dogs at the park should be licensed, and Janes planned to send officers to the park this week.
“We are going to be talking to the track and say they need to have some information for us,” he said. “When we come out, we will need to see rabies vaccinations and proof of when the dog got here. If (they) don’t have proof, we are going to assume it has been here more than 30 days.”
Tucson Greyhound Park CEO and General Manager Tom Taylor said the greyhounds don’t need a license because the state requires every greyhound to receive a rabies vaccination before entering the state or being qualified to race. Since rabies vaccinations are the primary reason for licensing, he said, there’s no need for the park to register the dogs locally.
“Since 1944, we have never had to have them licensed,” he said.
Taylor said he suspects negative media coverage about the track, and animal welfare organizations seeking to ban greyhound racing, are behind the crackdown.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal care, animals, arizona, avoided, crackdown, dogs, fee, fees, greyhound, greyhounds, licenses, municipal, ordinance, park, pets, pima county, racing, registration, south tucson, tucson, tucson greyhound park
Remember that Super Bowl ad for Skechers athletic shoes — the one that featured Mr. Quiggly, a French bulldog, racing a group of greyhounds at an Arizona racetrack?
It led to some major backlash, mainly from Grey2K USA, an anti-greyhound racing group that had documented abuses at Tucson Greyhound Park, where the ad was filmed. The organization, and others, tried to get the ad pulled and then called for a boycott of Skechers, saying the ad promoted cruelty.
Given all that, what is one to make of this?
A band called Swedish House Mafia — if band is even the right word – has teamed up with Absolut Vodka to create a commercial that promotes the musical group, and the vodka, and, seemingly, the racing of futuristic greyhound robots.
I don’t begin to understand what’s going on in the ad, but the band members appear to be taking part in some sort of virtual greyhound racing experience in which they are the dogs, as a crowd of people dressed in Lady Gaga-like attire and wearing too much make-up watch, biting their lips in excitement.
One of the digital greyhounds takes a fall at some point, but gets up and keeps running.
Most people seem to find the ad, and its pounding techno dance club music, highly cool, but an Arizona greyhound rescuer and blogger has lashed out against it, saying it promotes animal cruelty. “…Greyhounds are once again perceived as futuristic exploited racing machines,” Karyn Zoldan wrote on her blog, Tucson Tails. “The video is a deadly cross between Project Runway and Mad Max.”
“…This ad is haunting…haunting in the way it promotes greyhound racing as subhuman depravity. Haunting in a way, I feel nauseous and want to vomit.”
GREY2K USA, to its credit, hasn’t taken a position on the Absolut ad, deeming it not worth pouncing upon, given no greyhounds were used in it and those depicted are computer-made images.
Besides, complaining about an ad so oddly ambiguous and unclear in its meaning — if it has any – would be a waste of time, and who has time to waste in today’s fast-paced world?
If you’re wondering what greyhound racing and vodka have to do with each other, the answer is absolutely nothing. The only connection I can see is that there was — even before Absolut had the foresight to put them in the same bottle — a vodka and grapefruit juice cocktail called a Greyhound, and adding salt to it makes it a Salty Dog.
While we don’t object to cocktails being named after dogs, or to consuming vodka, or to mixing it with grapefruit juice, we”re all for an end to greyhound racing.
While slowly fading away, it continues in seven states.
Racing greyhound robots, though? We have no objections to that. In fact, it can even be looked at as a solution.
If only robots were raced at greyhound tracks, industry employees would learn news skills more befitting modern times. There would be employment opportunities for all the techno-nerds who build and service them. There would be no worries about feeding or humanely maintaining the dogs. There would be no exploitation of animals for human gain — just exploitation of robots, and I kind of like that idea, at least until they turn on us. There could even be techno dance music pumped in, and vodka-based beverages served.
And, odds are – when it comes to the real, breathing versions — there’d be a lot more happy greyhounds.
(To see all our Woof in Advertising posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: absolut, absolut greyhound, advertising, animals, cgi, commercial, cruelty, dogs, dogs in advertising, grey2k usa, greyhound, greyhound racing, karyn zoldan, marketing, pets, racing, swedish house mafia, tracks, tucson tails, video, vodka, woof in advertising
A racing greyhound found running down Interstate 75 in Florida last week continues to recover from dehydration and more than 20 wounds found on his body.
After reports of the loose greyhound being sighted on I-75 near Gainesville, greyhound rescuers went to the scene, stopped traffic and captured the dog, a two-year-old male.
“He was in shock, had a fever, and was severely dehydrated … He still had his racing muzzle on and his kennel collar. I have no idea if he was being hauled and escaped or is loose from a local kennel and frankly, don’t care. He has over 20 wounds on his body, some severe, and some pretty serious road rash,” volunteer Kendra Stauffer wrote on the Goldcoast Greyhound Adoptions Facebook page.
The dog, now named Freeway, was rushed to the University of Florida Veterinary School emergency clinic, where he was operated on and his wounds were treated, according to Examiner.com
After his first surgery, Freeway was taken home by Stauffer, who fed him pureed chicken through a syringe for the first few days.
Goldcoast Greyhound Adoptions says his medical expenses have grown to more than $3,400, and that donations to his care have come from Canada and 30 states.
More photos of Freeway can be found on this Facebook page.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, dogs, florida, found, freeway, gainesville, goldcoast greyhound adoptions, greyhound, medical, pets, racing, rescue, surgery, treatment, veterinary
Still, it’s interesting to see how Skechers ad-makers gave an apparent facelift to Tucson Greyhound Park, the site of their “Mr. Quiggly” ad, in which a French bulldog outraces a group of greyhounds thanks to his Skecher’s athletic shoes.
The pictures to the left come from Grey2KUSA, the anti-racing group that sponsored a boycott of the ad, which aired during the Super Bowl.
I’m not sure if the improvements were digital or real, and, if real, whether they were temporary or permanent, but they raise the question: If the track is something to be proud of, as some backers of greyhound racing maintain, why did it need a cosmetic makeover?
Of course, the purpose of the ad was to sell sneakers, not expose the so-called sport’s seamy underbelly. But sprucing the place up beforehand does lend some credence to Grey2KUSA’s concerns that the ad would glorify greyhound racing.
The organization launched a boycott of Skechers before the ad aired and urged its backers to send their shoes back to the company. More than 122,000 people signed its online petition asking the company not to air the ad.
While that wasn’t achieved, Grey2KUSA says the company did make some changes to the ad, including removing “Tucson Greyhound Park” from the footage and digitally replacing it with a fictitious name, “Rexford Downs.”
In addition to altering the sign, the company also spruced up the grounds, the organization says, “bringing in green shrubbery, flowers and other improvements to make this otherwise dilapidated track look attractive.”
“It is not known if the greyhound racing ad will continue to air, but if it does, we ask you to continue boycotting Skechers,” Grey2KUSA informed its members this week.
According to Grey2K, dog racing continues in seven states, and three of those — Arizona, Iowa and Florida — have bills pending in their legislatures to ban it.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, advertising, animals, boycott, commercial, dog racing, dogs, facelift, french bulldog, grey2kusa, greyhound racing, greyhounds, makeover, mr quiggly, petition, pets, racing, super bowl, truth in advertising, tucson, tucson greyhound park, woof in advertising
Don’t be surprised if you see more canines than cleavage when it comes to this year’s Super Bowl ads.
At least three ads premiering during the 2012 Super Bowl will star dogs.
“You can’t go wrong with a dog,” Robbie Blinkoff, a cultural anthropologist told USA Today. “The dogs are idealized versions of ourselves. The dogs aren’t dogs — they’re us.”
As anyone who’s been following our “Woof in Advertising” series knows, sex may be the quickest way to a consumer’s groin, but the best route to a consumer’s heart (which we’d argue more often controls the purse strings) is through dogs.
Volkswagen is one company that’s shifted to more heartwarming ads, moving away from the mean spirited but funny ones of recent years.
In its 2012 Super Bowl spot, an extended Internet version of which is seen above, a dog sets off to chase a new VW Beetle only to realize he can no longer fit through the dog door.
He undertakes a makeover of his own, drops a few pounds and is off and running — through the dog door and after a shiny red Beetle. In the final seconds, the ads shifts to a Star War themes, in homage to VW’s popular 2011 Super Bowl spot that featured a child dressed as Darth Vader who thinks “The Force” helped him start a car.
“The Dog Strikes Back” will run in the second quarter of Sunday’s game.
Anheuser Busch, meanwhile, will introduce a new dog — a rescued mutt — in its ad for Bud Light. The dog’s name is Weego, and he fetches a bottle of guess what whenever he hears someone say, “Here, Weego.”
Then there’s the controversial Skechers ad, which the company hopes more people will find funny and inspiring than offensive. (Filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park, it has led to protests and a boycott of Skechers by the anti- greyhound racing group Grey2KUSA.)
Skechers, in case you haven’t stayed abreast, featured Kim Kardashian in its Super Bowl ad last year. This year it put its money on an athletic-shoe wearing French bulldog named Mr. Quiggly, who, in the ad, goes up against a group of racing greyhounds.
Leonard Armato, president of Skechers Fitness Group, says the spot is about inspiration — not greyhound racing: “We believe he’ll be the most lovable dog on the Super Bowl.”
As we’ve only seen a snippet of that one, and no sneak preview of “Weego,” we’ve got to go with the VW dog, for now, as most lovable. He’s a pretty magnificent beast, named Bolt, a 3-year-old Australian shepherd and St. Bernard mix.
As for how he achieved that amazing weight loss, you can find the answer in this “Making of The Dog Strikes Back” video:
(To see all of our “Woof in Advertising” posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2012, ads, advertising, anheuser busch, beetle, bolt, boycott, bud light, budweiser, canines, cleavage, commercials, controversy, dogs, dogs in advertising, french bulldog, grey2kusa, greyhound, marketing, mr quiggly, racing, selling, sex, skechers, star wars, super bowl, the dog strikes back, tucson greyhound park, volkswagen, vw, weego, woof in advertising
When is a funny Super Bowl ad not very funny?
When it promotes animal cruelty.
While they haven’t seen the ad in question, an organization that works to ban greyhound racing says that ‘s what the athletic shoe company, Skechers – intentionally or not — is doing.
As we reported a couple of days ago, Skechers, having concluded its contract with Kim Kardashian, has turned to a dog to advertise it’s shoes, and its planned Super Bowl ad features a French bulldog — in Skechers, of course – competing against greyhounds in a race.
The ad was filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park, which the anti-dog racing organization GREY2K USA says is notorious for treating greyhounds poorly. Greyhounds are kept in small cages which are barely large enough for them to stand or turn around, fed diseased meat, and get injured at a clip of nearly once a day. According to the Arizona Department of Racing, nearly 1,000 greyhound injuries occurred at the park between January 2007 and November 2009.
Grey2KUSA says it contacted Skechers after learning the ad had been filmed, aksing that the “misguided promotion” be canceled. It started a petition urging Skechers to pull the ad at Change.org, and it had nearly 80,000 signatures as of the end of this week.
Grey2K is calling for a boycott of Skechers, and is urging its membership and others to write emails to those involved with the ad:
•Skechers President Michael Greenburg at email@example.com
•Skechers Vice President of Media Gary Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
•Mark Cuban at email@example.com (Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is briefly featured in the ad.)
•NBC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And the organization is also running a contest for the best protest photos (such as the one of the greyhound atop this post). The top three entries will win a Grey2KUSA cap.
Protests have been planned at Skechers outlets, and, on Jan. 28, at Tucson Greyhound Park.
Skechers marketing chief Leonard Armato says there are no plans to pull the ad — scheduled to be shown during the Super Bowl Feb. 5. He said the ad doesn’t condone animal cruelty, and pointed out that it has not been seen by any of those who are protesting.
“That the ad is running during the most heavily watched sporting event of the year suggests that greyhound racing is a sport. It is not,” said Grey2K President Christine Dorchak. “It is greyhound cruelty.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ad, advertisement, animal cruelty, animals, athletic, ban, dogs, football, french bulldog, grey2kusa, greyhound racing, greyhounds, marketing, pets, racing, shoes, skechers, sports, super bowl
Here’s a memorable scene from the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge National Finals, held earlier this month in St. Louis.
That’s Bracken, a border collie owned by Diane Allen, competing in the Incredible 30-Weave Up-and-Back competition.
The event featured dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes in Olympic-style competitions, such as Freestyle Flying Disc, Head-to-Head Weave Pole racing, Jack Russell Hurdle Racing, large and small dog agility, Speed and Catch, and the crowd favorite – dog diving.
The world record for dog diving was broken during the finals, with a leap of 31 feet, 8 inches.
A few days later, some of the competitors traveled to New York for an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman (Oct. 6).
Posted by jwoestendiek October 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: agility, animals, border collie, bracken, competition, david letterman, diving, diving dogs, dog challenge, dogs, flying disc, huurdle, incredible, incredible dog challenge, pets, purina, racing, st. louis, video
If the school district in Hudson, Wisconsin, has its way, an empty greyhound racing track could be turned into a school.
The school board approved an $8.25 million offer Monday to buy the St. Croix Meadows Greyhound Racing Park, but the purchase is contingent on voter approval.
District officials said Tuesday that the 130-acre property would be used to address long-term space needs for grades six to 12, according to the Pioneer Press.
It has not been determined whether it will be home to a high school or middle school, or what will happen to the building now standing there.
Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten said buying the property is a move toward reducing crowding at the middle and high schools.
The district has been in contact since 2009 with a representative from Miami-based Croixland Properties Ltd., the track’s owner. Initially, the sales price for the track was $20 million.
The dog track opened in 1991 and was losing as much as $7 million a year when it closed in 2001.
There was a plan to turn it into a casino, but that was opposed by Indian tribes in Minnesota and Wisconsin who already operate casinos near the Twin Cities.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, crowding, dogs, education, greyhound, hudson, pets, purchase, racing, referendum, school district, schools, st. croix meadows, tracks, wisconsin
Tucson Greyhound Park CEO Tom Taylor was put in an awkward spot late last year by a local TV reporter — but as GREY2K sees it, that’s exactly where he belongs.
GREY2K, a national organization seeking to end greyhound racing, combined pieces of the TV news report with its own material and subsequent photos taken during a county inspection, and is circulating the ensuing video widely.
It’s an attempt to show how those who defend the sport will go to great lengths — possibly in the opposite direction of the truth — to spin things their way.
When a TV reporter showed Taylor undercover video footage taken by GREY2K investigators of the less than luxurious living conditions of the park’s greyhounds, he responded that it’s a subjective thing:
“I could show you a picture of the Mona Lisa, and you could say ‘Oh, that’s horrible,’” he said.
In the interview last December with KOLD television, Taylor called Tucson Greyhound Park an “ideal place for dogs.”
Then he refused to allow reporters to see the kennels for themselves, saying that that the TV station would “show it to thousands of people, and we don’t know how they’re going to take it.”
GREY2K says more recent photographs taken at the Tucson track over the past year by Pima County investigators confirm their findings: greyhounds living in warehouse style kennels, in wire cages barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around, many of them muzzled.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals. comments, ban, campaign, ceo, dog, dogs, end, grey2k, greyhounds, inspection, news, peets, photographs, racing, report, tom taylor, tucson greyhound park, undercover, video
Anti-dog racing groups say Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Nitro, West Virginia, has had an alarming number of greyhound injuries over the past six years — more than one a day.
West Virginia Racing Commission records analyzed by Massachusetts-based Grey2K USA show that, in addition to 1.4 injuries a day, 152 dogs were euthanized during that period, only seven of those because of illnesses.
Carey Theil, executive director of Grey2K, the anti-dog racing agency that spent years trying to obtain the records, told the Charleston Daily Mail that the numbers are the highest the group has seen at any U.S. track.
An ASPCA spokesperson called the figures “appalling.”
Track executive Dan Adkins said the number of injuries has dropped the past two years and is near the national average.
Adkins insists dog health is a top priority for the track’s parent company, Hartman and Tyner Inc. of Hallandale, Fla. Out of more than 43,400 racing starts last year, he said, there were only 25 deaths.
The records show about 750 broken bones, and more than 300 career-ending injuries.
Grey2K says the true number could be even higher than state records indicate because more than 13 months of data is missing. The Racing Commission told the Daily Mail it could not find those records.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, aspca, carey theil, cruelty to animals, deaths, documents, dogs, euthanasia, grey2k, grey2kusa, greyhound, injured, injuries, mardi gras casino & resort, nitro, pets, racing, records, west virginia, west virginia racing commission