Thursday, November 7, 2013

Greyhound Adoption Universe

I have been away from this blog for a very long time, but with somewhat of a good reason.  It is not because I have dropped everything, decided to train in Judo full time and go for Olympic gold.  No.. instead I have opted for decreasing physical activity, increasing belly size and becoming much more involved with the local greyhound adoption group.

It has been any eye opening experience and a rush of ups and downs.  It has also been an honor to work with such a dedicated community of people dedicated to greyhound adoption.

For those who don't know, my background and profession are in computer software development.  As such I have tried to lend those skills to the greyhound adoption program.

My latest endeavor has been to write an auction software program and integrate it into our website in order to raise money for greyhound adoption. Now, with an enormous effort by many people assembling, photographing and cataloging items, we are ready to run our first auction.  You can register now and it opens on Friday, November 8th.

Please go and have a look at the items and sign up for the auction.  There are a lot of great items and it is for a great cause.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

How to make road kill, by Kassa

First get a brand new stuffy toy complete with squeaker.

Identify the precise location of the squeaker

Carefully rip into the toy and extract the squeaker.  Surgically  remove any stuffing that you can grip.

Result.  One empty carcass.

Get a hold of your brothers new toy.....

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Analytic Mood

I was in a somewhat analytic mood today and so I felt like having a look at some greyhound data assembled by Grey2k.   I find that Grey2K gathers quite a lot of data but seems to cherry pick the results without really looking it it as a whole.  Their purpose is to end greyhound racing and so they look at all the information that they get through that lens.  I want to look at things from the point of view of not expecting perfection but rather to determine if there is there indeed is a systemic problem in the industry. Grey2K's bias is that wrong doing, or failure is due to a system that is corrupt to the root and must be ended.  My bias is that racing is a system filled with checks and balances, but that is ultimately comprised of humans that have similar human failings to those found in any industry.

I found that Grey2K had requested the disciplinary records from the different tracks in the different states.  They assembled the data together into a searchable database.  I found it easy to look up individual records but could not get any summary (aggregate) data so I wrote a simple program to get the data and put it in my own database for analysis.  I decided to analyse 2 different tracks.  The ones I chose are the once my boys are from being Birmingham Alabama and Southland in West Memphis Arkansas.

Birmingham is a track that currently houses 423 active racers at 9 different kennels.  Estimating from track info they run anywhere from 5000 to 6000 races per year or 400 to 500 per month.  From 2002 to 2012 only 162 disciplinary actions in fines have been taken amassing $8920 in fines.  The majority of the actions taken from 2008 to 2012.  Grey2K manually classified all the actions into one of the following categories:  Abuse, Conduct, Death, Drugs, Injury, License, Miscellaneous, Neglect, Racing Rules, Vaccinations, and Weight/Weigh-Ins.


There have only been 2 disciplinary actions taken that Grey2K classified as abuse. Both were from the same kennel in 2007 where the offender was found keeping more than one greyhound in a single crate. A total fine of $175 was issued.


Conduct breaches have nothing specifically to do with the safety of greyhounds per say, but rather are disciplinary actions taken against individuals for their actions on or off the job. Grey2K classifies conduct as follows. "However, the category of “conduct” is used for a human that tested positive for drugs (or engaged in other negative behaviors)."  At Birmingham their were 22 conduct violations with one of the following reasons.  Only one had any relationship to humans testing positive for illegal drugs:
  • failed to supervise leadouts
  • disorderly conduct
  • human drug positive-marijuana
  • conduct detrimental to racing
  • possession of gum on grounds
  • possession of tobacco on grounds
  • being in restricted area
  • possession of beer in kennel compound
  • entered restricted area
  • not handling their business in a proper manner
  • possession of gum during weigh in
  • possession of a cigar during weigh in
  • possession of alcohol during kennel inspection
  • possession of food in restricted area
  • having a cigar in the paddock at weigh in
  • possession of alcoholic beverages in kennel compound
  • possession of a soda container while entering..


There were 13 disciplinary actions taken for the reason Grey2K classifies as drugs.  I found the Arkansas racing rules online and while they are not Alabama's, based on the fines that were issued I think they line up with the way Alabama classifies the violations.

  • There were 3 cases where a syringe was found. Possession of a syringe results in a $25 fine.
  • There were 9 cases of greyhounds testing positive for carprofen (Rimadyl) or methocarbomol (Robaxin).  Class 4 drugs includes therapeutic medications which should have less potential to alter performance than those in Class 3.  Each of these violations resulted in a $50 fine.
  • There was 1 serious case of doping with Benzoylecqonie ( a metabolite of cocaine ) that got quite a bit of attention in 2009.  The offender was fined $800 and given a 60 day suspension.  I do not see him on the roster of kennels at the Birmingham track.  This one violation is hardly an indication of a systemic problem as Grey2K believes

Weight/Weigh ins:

Like Wrestlers, greyhounds have target weights that the trainer decides they will compete at. If at weigh in time they fail to meet the weight, the trainer is fined.  A greyhound being underweight or overweight in this classification does not mean the greyhound is gaunt or obese.  It is simply a record of greyhounds that failed to meet the target weight. Of the 162 disciplinary actions 90 of them are for the reason of weight/weigh ins.

Racing Rules:

Racing rules violations are really violations of procedural issues.  There were 24 racing rule violations.
Examples are: failed to perform preliminary card check resulting in two greyhounds racing with the wrong blankets, failed to operate lure properly, failure to remove collar from dog in race, failure to perform duties of patrol judge, and failure to perform duties of a starter.


There was one fine imposed because a vaccination was found not to be current.


There were 2 cases of penalties under the category of License.  One was a failure to obtain a permit/license and the second just specified that the license was suspended with no reason given.


Examples of the 8 Misc violations are: Unauthorized to sign in visitors into a kennel, Failure to comply with a judges order, Failure to appear, Failure to pay fine on time, Violating Kennel Overflow Policy
failure to disclose criminal history and racing history on license application.

Alabama (Birmingham): Incidents
2002 2003 2004 2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total
drugs 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 6 5 13
license 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
weight/weigh ins 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 42 26 90
abuse 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
racing rules 0 2 0 0 0 0 4 5 8 5 24
conduct 1 0 3 2 0 0 0 9 5 2 22
vaccinations 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
misc 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 5 1 0 8
Total 1 2 3 4 2 1 5 42 63 39 162

Alabama (Birmingham): Fines
2002 2003 2004 2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total
drugs 0 0 0 0 0 0 800 25 275 200 1300
license 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 25 25
weight/weigh ins 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 610 1265 640 2515
abuse 0 0 0 0 175 0 0 0 0 0 175
racing rules 0 400 0 0 0 0 225 250 225 200 1300
conduct 500 0 1350 1000 0 0 0 225 205 100 3380
vaccinations 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 25 0 25
misc 0 0 0 0 0 75 0 75 50 0 200
Total 500 400 1350 1000 175 75 1025 1185 2045 1165 8920

I will be briefer with Arkansa data:
Southland Park has one of the largest kennel compounds in the nation.  It's twenty-five buildings can hold up to 1,950 greyhounds at  any given time. It conducts an average of 6,000 races over the course of a year.  

Grey2K had data from Arkansa from 2010 to 2013 resulting in 63 disciplinary actions.
  • The drug violation was for a class 4, penalty B therapeutic drug.
  • The abuse violation was from the racing secretary observing the offender mistreating a greyhound.  It resulted in a 15 day suspension, 1 year probation and a $200 fine.
  • The neglect violation resulted from 2 greyhound being left in their turnout pen after completion of morning work.  A $300 fine was imposed.
  • Misc violations were from late payment for previous violations and failure to secure workers compensation.
  • The license violations were failure to obtain licenses on time.
  • Conduct violations included: intoxication,marijuana,stealing a wallet,disruptive on track grounds,failure to follow procedure and report the death of a greyhound, using profane language and misleading racing officials during an investigation.  
Arkansas: Incidents
2010 2011 2012 2013 Total
drugs 0 1 0 0 1
license 0 0 4 0 4
weight/weigh ins 3 14 16 0 33
abuse 0 1 0 0 1
racing rules 0 0 0 2 2
conduct 0 9 8 0 17
misc 0 2 0 1 3
neglect 0 1 0 0 1
injury 0 0 1 0 1
Total 3 28 29 3 63

Arkansas: Fines
2010 2011 2012 2013 Total
drugs 0 50 0 0 50
license 0 0 150 0 150
weight/weigh ins 200 1175 1325 0 2700
abuse 0 200 0 0 200
racing rules 0 0 0 400 400
conduct 0 600 1402 0 2002
misc 0 50 0 600 650
neglect 0 300 0 0 300
injury 0 0 0 0 0
Total 200 2375 2877 1000 6452
Looking at this data, I think that the racing industry is designed to carefully monitor how racing is conducted. It takes especially seriously anything that could effect the outcome of a race, especially performance enhancing drugs.  It also demonstrates the importance of how individuals conduct themselves.  A disciplinary system that issued no violations would be an indication that it is completely ineffective.  This report shows how the system responded to situations from the relatively minor violations to the serious ones and is an indication of what kind of environment it is trying to foster. Given the number of dogs, races and kennels the number of disciplinary actions does not seem condemning.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Nevada has found his home.

This weekend went on his first home visit and is now being fostered with intent to adopt by a fine family who already has one greyhound.

My wife and I wish him all the best in his new life.  

My boys will miss sunning with him but of course we are all very happy he found his home.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Matchy Matchy

I just realized that our tile matches our hounds.....

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A new step.

Our family has decided to take on a new step in this wacky world of pups.  We are fostering a greyhound named Nevada for the  adoption group.  I'm pretty excited about it actually. Getting a dog  from the track is in many ways like getting a puppy.  Just a mature well trained puppy.  There is so many experiences that are new for them and I'm taking the view of trying to pack as many pet life skills into him that I can to make his first adoptive home his last. Too bad I'm not a better dog trainer.

Nevada has his own blog so that people can follow along with his progress and see what a great dog he is.

Overall I think the dogs have been enjoying life.  My friend Diane caught these shots of Ricky at a grey play meeting.

I also dug out an old old camera.  My Nikon Coolpix 995.  When we got it it was the bleeding edge of technology and to my recollection it was the first digital camera capable of producing photos with enough resolution that you could actually print. During the turn around time between pictures, I can count Mississippi's.  I have to hold the battery case together as I shoot or the whole thing will shut off.  All that said,  it is the only functional camera I have atm and all things considered I'm actually pretty impressed with the pix all things considered.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  Cheers!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


"Rain rain go away..."   The holiday season has been a wet one here in Nashville and once again this weekend has us under water.  This is a perfect opportunity for me to reminisce about the few brief reprieves from the weather.  Our friend Diane has been practicing with her camera as of late and graciously allowed me to post some of her pictures here. She has some beautiful stills of the pups without their racing muzzles on as well but I personally lean toward action shots.  Despite all the racing around,  Kassa and I do take some time to smell the roses now and again.  Of course by "Smell the roses" we really mean that Kassa stands and I rub... 

I love this shot of the pups racing in the grey play field.  Especially our honorary greyhound Maggie on the far right.  That was a busy day.  I think it was a pre-holiday pic but shh.. nobody knows that except those in the greyplay group.

Greyhounds have a lot of fun on these outings.  They like playing "Superman".  We should get them some capes!

Ricky has really adjusted well this year.  He rebounded quickly from the brief fireworks exposure on New Years Eve.  I can really see how his trust in us has grown and he has grown accustomed to us being in his personal space.  Ricky has always preferred running over walking, but even so, he has been eager to join Kassa and I on an evening walk.  I'm hoping to ramp up the walking again as their frequency and duration have slipped over the last year.

Looking back over the last year I can once again see how adding the dogs to our family and interacting with this group of people has been a positive thing.  In the coming year we are looking into doing some more formalized dog training.  Hopefully that will provide me with some more interesting fodder for the blog.  I wish everyone good health, wealth, and happiness in 2013.

the end.