Hundreds of dogs at Tucson Greyhound Park are not licensed

Hundreds of dogs at Tucson Greyhound Park are not licensed

CREATED Sep 17, 2012

Reporter: Claire Doan

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Tucson Greyhound Park has been under much scrutiny lately over the steroids controversy, but now yet another hurdle for the track – one that will force operators to pay dog licensing fees.

Since it opened in 1944, the track has not paid licensing fees for any of its dogs. TGP currently houses more than 700 greyhounds.

TGP has been in the headlines recently, after CEO Tom Taylor admitted to skirting the law of South Tucson, by injecting the dogs with anabolic steroids – as a form of birth control – outside city limits. Tucson City Council approved a measure to ban the steroids last week.

“He ought to pay the same fees that every taxpayer in this region pays. It’s not personal … It’s just playing by the same rules everyone else plays by,” said Tucson Councilman Steve Kozachik, who pushed for the ban.

Under South Tucson’s animal ordinance, every dog kept in the city for 30 consecutive days must have a license. And there is nothing in the city or county books that exempts the track.

“Historically these dogs have never been licensed,” said Kim James, manager of the Pima Animal Care Center – which enforces animal-control laws. “Not really sure why that is.”

James said greyhound caretakers – rather than the owners or the track – will be responsible for paying licensing fees.

Enrique Serna, the city manager of South Tucson, said that money would have come in handy.

“It would’ve been really helpful to be collecting fees that would’ve offset money out of the general fund, when we’ve been trying to cut salaries, lay off people, things of that sort,” Serna said.

How much money will be collected from the licensing fee hinges in how the dogs will be licensed, under South Tucson’s code: $225 per kennel or more $45 per dog.

James said Pima Animal Care Center officers will pay a visit to the TGP this week to assess the situation and determine what fees will be owed. In addition, they will be issuing late fees and citations for not having licenses.

However, Serna said it’s not all about the money.

“The track as been really flippant – just the attitude – and that’s really disconcerting because we’ve had a really good, long relationship with greyhound race track,” Serna said.

Serna admitted that the city of South Tucson should’ve taken a closer look at its laws so that this ordinance could’ve been enforced sooner.

Taylor declined an on-camera interview, but said licensing is unnecessary since all the dogs at the track have had rabies shots and do not threaten public safety. He also said fees will hurt the track in the long run, because owners will no longer want to send their dogs to TGP to race.