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.
Abuse: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: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..
Drugs: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.
Vaccinations:There was one fine imposed because a vaccination was found not to be current.
License: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|
|Alabama (Birmingham): Fines|
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.
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.