Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging UPDATE: Fat White Guy EXPOSED*

We're coming to you today from the Stephen Spielberg wing here in the marbled halls of IM Central. The Stephen Spielberg wing is part of the Ed Wood School of Film and Media Studies and is located next to the  Plan Nine From Outer Space Museum and Gift Shop.

It seems the overlords have taken a cue from MTV 30 years ago and made a video, or as they explain:
This documentary explores the claims that greyhound racing isn't safe, that it is an heartless enterprise for the greyhounds and that it is unprofitable. We cover everything from distortions to outright lies. Take 15 minutes and learn about how Greyhound racing stacks up against more 'respected' animal organizations. We think you will be surprised.
Well, if by "documentary" you mean a fat white guy in an ill fitting shirt and something on his face trying to be a bead talking for 15 minutes while exhibiting the body language of someone who just witnessed a cow explode, but let's not quibble over production values. The title of the video is Greyhound Racing: The Facts, Myths and Grey2k Lies EXPOSED.

Now, we don't claim to be Hollywood directors, or independent filmmakers or anything, but that title is a little odd. We mean, sure lies need to be exposed, but myths are usually just explained, and facts...well...are facts and that's about it, so we're not quite sure where you are going with this dude, but whatever. So we popped up some popcorn, refilled the Stoli and settled in to see what the fat white guy (he never gives his name) had to say.

Right away FWG gives it to us straight. Greyhound racing isn't dying because it's unpopular, it's dying because track owners would rather use slots because the profits are higher and costs are lower, and since people are too stupid to realize what a great time betting on greyhound racing is, they'd rather play slots. Also too, lazy. Interesting opening gambit, thinks us. Insult the landlord and the people who you want to attract back to the track all in the first 48 seconds.

Next up, the obligatory swipe at Grey2K. Did you know that Grey2K doesn't spend all its money on adopting greyhounds after they've been used up by the industry? No way. Instead they spend their money on bringing an end to the industrialized commodification of innocent living creatures. Where are their priorities FWG wants to know. Instead of focusing on the symptom, they're going after the disease. OK, we're not sure here, but we think FWG just exposed a fact.

 And what attack on Grey2K would be complete without mention of the ever evil Christine Dorchak. FWG tells us that Ms. Dorchack (who is evil by the way) clams that not all greyhounds are adopted after their period of exploitation has ended, and some are, in fact, retired with extreme prejudice. Nothing could be further from the truth and to backup that claim FWG cites statistics from the NGA. Now, we appreciate that the overlords have at least learned to respond to claims against their industry by attempting rationality, but using the NGA as a source is like Governor Christie hiring a law firm to "investigate" his role in Bridgegate. In addition, as we have pointed out previously, the overlords' relationship with math to say this politely...dysfunctional on a good day.

Then we move on to a long section we like to call "Can we change the subject please" in which we learn that stray and abandoned animals also suffer and die. Looks like FWG exposed another fact. The implication here seems to be since more stray and abandoned animals die than greyhounds, you should leave racing alone. We're not quite sure you can quantify cruelty to your advantage dude, and anyway, sad as it is, those abandoned and stray animals are victims of circumstance, whereas greyhounds are victims of design, having been born and bred for exploitation.

Finally, we are treated to some myths about greyhound racing, or as they are more popularly known: industry talking points. The video fails to address the biggest myth of all though, and that is more than 95% of greyhounds are adopted after their racing career is finished. What do you think Tiffany? You seeing 95% of your old racing buddies at the dog park?

Our Tiffany was named after the famous Tiffany diamond. Having moved into a foster home, our sweet girl is being molded and refined. How beautiful the end result? That will be determined by the family she chooses. This sweet girl loves to play with her kitty housemate, her heart open to the possibilities of other species...even people! OK, really- she was already clued into people but is finding life in a home suits her. Tiffany told us she is getting a little bit of a late start so will need lots and lots of love and petting. She is looking to settle down in just the right place. Are you the right home for this lovely jewel? For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here and here.

*UPDATE: We found out that FWG is really Brett Mason who says his friends call him "puppy chow for obvious reasons." OK that's not obvious to us, unless it has something to do with the chow part. Dude, back away from the buffet a little sooner, will you? You're scaring the children.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

You know, much as the overlords complain about it, we think government over site of is a good thing. We mean, with all the tens of dollars changing hands daily the temptation to focus on the money instead of the care of the units...uh...dogs must be great. The overlords are only human according to the rumor going around so an outside entity watching over them is a good way to keep them true to the real reason they got into the industrialized commodification of innocent living creatures for profit: Love for the greyhounds. And that's why when we saw this story concerning the regulatory response to the recent statistical anomaly that resulted in the retirement with extreme prejudice of the unit designated LNB Night Mare we were intrigued to discover how the Arizona Department of Racing was going to, first of all, help the overlords through their grieving process and then help them get back to the business of loving the greyhound breed.

The death of a dog during a race at Tucson Greyhound Park about a week ago prompted requests from Tucson News Now to the Arizona Department of Racing for copies of kennel disposition logs and the track roster.  Such requests could show when dogs are injured, adopted, or put down.  But the department said that it doesn't maintain those records. "You think we want to know what's going on out there?" asked Bill Walsh, director of the Arizona Department of Racing. Are you nuts? The place is a hell hole," he continued. "As long as they keep signing my paycheck I have no reason to have anything to do with them."

OK, not the response we were looking for, but perhaps there is some technical regulatory reason for all this that we as mere citizens don't understand because we don't have the years of training and experience it takes to be on the ADOR Board. Can you explain for us Susan Via, a greyhound welfare advocate?
"They deliberately do not inquire so they don't have to give the information out to the public."
 Oh come on now Ms. Via. Surely it's more complicated than that. Why, these people are entrusted with the welfare of highly trained athletes in whom a lot of money and time has been invested. Surely it is in everyone's best interest to make sure that investment has the best conditions, the best food and the best care available, is it not?
She said that a bill that has passed the state Senate and is headed to the state House of Representatives would make that pre-emption of local authority official and make the track off-limits to city or county authorities such as Pima Animal Care."There's nothing South Tucson, or the county, or even PAC could do, as a county agency, to go in and investigate any complaints of dogs being left without veterinary care, dogs without water, dogs that are sick, dogs that are injured, dogs that are dead."
 "Right," said ADOR director Walsh. "That's our job. Well, it's supposed to be our job, but like I said, I'm not going anywhere near that dump. It's too depressing what with all the drunks and losers hanging around. And then there are the people that bet on the dogs."

Well, that is a point Mr. Walsh and we certainly don't envy your responsibilities in this matter, but maybe you should have thought of that before you dropped out of  Walmart Greeter School. Surely there must be someone out there with the insight to solve this dilemma.
Representative Ethan Orr said that he thinks that he can remove not only the increase in authority that the bill gives the department, but also increase the department's accountability. "Anytime you get information out, you're not only making the racing more viable but you're protecting the dogs and frankly, the people that work at the dog track"
 Excellent idea Mr. Orr. A partnership among the local governing units and the ADOR all of which leads to a better, safer life for the greyhounds who have been conscripted to earn money for the otherwise unemployable. Who could argue with that?

The director of the Department of Racing said that the department cannot take a position on proposed legislation that might require him to do his job until the state employment compensation board rules on his claim that lack of moral fiber is an identifiable disability.  Tucson Greyhound Park general manager Dale Popp could not be reached for comment. His office stated that he is A) out of town through the end of the week,  B) in a meeting, or C) kidnapped by aliens.

Boy, we're thinking if that legislation goes through old Popp is going to wish C was the correct answer huh  Charlie Brown?

Sweet and lovable Charlie Brown is affectionately called "Chuck" at his foster home. Chuck is a bit shy at first meetings. Fortunately he does not take after the unlucky Peanuts character he is named after, no Lucy yanking the football! And Good Grief! This fellow has been a huge success with house rules! For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here and here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's Your $9 Million Compared To My Lack Of Marketable Skills?

We're coming to you today from the You Don't Say Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. The YDSD is a division of the What Was Your First Clue Corporation, a wholly owned subsidy of Where'd You Park The Squad Car, Sherlock? NA.

Recently, as we were crawling around the interwebs we happened to make the acquaintance of the following headline:

Our first thought was Obamacare is making medication more affordable and accessible and America is finally ending its long dark night of struggling against an unremitting gale of misfiring neurons and has made for the calm, clear waters in the bay of rationality. Buoyed by this thought we investigated further. 
Most afternoons you can find Meyer “Mickey” Coren in front of a simulcast TV at Bluffs Run, sipping Diet Coke from a plastic cup, smoking a cigar as dogs scramble around the track outside. He usually bets $100, mostly on simulcast dog races but also on the greyhounds that race here every afternoon except Mondays. “It gives me a nice place to go, where if I don't win, I don't lose too much,” he said. “I can smoke a cigar and drink pop and shoot the breeze with the other degenerates,” said Coren, jokingly.

OK, first of all, $100? How often does he usually bet $100? Mostly? Sometimes? Is $100 the total of all he has bet since he's been coming to the track? What does his wife think about this as she clips another coupon for canned beans from the newspaper? What about his children when they wonder what happened to their college fund, and his grandchildren who open their birthday cards and find a coupon for free fries at the track bar and grill? More importantly, how does he manage to get home alive after the other patrons realize he actually has cash on him?

And second, while we applaud the writer for trying to soften Mr. Coren's image by inserting the adverb "jokingly"  to make it seem like his characterization of himself and his compatriots as "degenerates" is a bit of self deprecating humor, we're talking about a man who regularly spends money to watch innocent living creatures risk life and limb while he sips a beverage that may contain carcinogens and inhales toxic gasses. "Degenerate" probably fails by half in its verisimilitude when we consider how this guy should be described.

Now we're a ways into the article and our faith in the efficacy of Obamacare to deal with the plague of untreated wackadoodlism that has spread across the land is somewhat shaken because we still don't know what finally unlocked the breeders' ability to see the noses that have been camped in front of their faces for the last, oh, say 25 years.
Bo Guidry, general manager of Horseshoe, said the casino loses about $9 million per year on dog racing. “People just choose where they want to spend their entertainment dollar. Twenty years ago ... there weren't that many options, and now there are plenty of options. One happens to be casino gambling.”
Whoa! Nine million dollars! At that rate even if Mr. Coren did bet $100 a day he'd have to come to the track for, let's see...divide by pi, carry the four, take the last train to that's 90000 days. OK, the article said Mr. Coren is 71, so he's going to be coming to the track until he's just shy of 320 years old. Hope the track has some handicap parking close to the door.

We notice, however, that Mr. Guidry is the general manager of Horseshoe and not a breeder, so we're even farther into the article and still we haven't discovered why the coffee has boiled long enough to finally raise the breeders from their slumber.
“It's a relationship. We need them, and they need us,” said Darren Flahive, 47, of Council Bluffs, a 25-year dog trainer.
Thank you for your input Mr. Flahive, but if the casinos are losing $9 million a year, they need you like a submarine needs a screen door. Plus, you're a trainer, not a breeder. Next please.
And when casino operator Harrah's bought Horseshoe and Bluffs Run in 2001, the decline in popularity of dog racing was already underway. “They knew what they were getting into. They knew dog racing was not a profitable business,” said Jon Stidham, 49, who raises greyhounds in McClelland, Iowa, and provides dogs for Bluffs Run.
Finally. Thank you Mr. Stidman, who raises greyhounds in McClelland. At last we discover what the breeders are worried about. Let's see if we have this straight. Racing was losing money in 2001 when the casinos bought into the business. They've continued to lose money in the intervening 13 years and because they are a for profit company (and you are a no profit chain around their necks) they are about to make a perfectly legitimate business decision to boot your scrawny buttocks off the gravy train. Is that what's bothering you bunky?

Looks like Obamacare still has a lot of work to do.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Greyhound Racing! Motto: There Is No Australia

Every once in a while we here in the marbled halls of IM Central are privileged to read the story of how an overlord became an overlord. These stories usually involve some sort of epiphany--a kind of St Paul on the road to Damascus experience--or head injury. One or the other, or maybe both, we don't know. Anyway, the point is the tales tell how a seemingly normal person in possession of all of his or her faculties suddenly comes to the conclusion that the commodification and exploitation of innocent living creatures for profit is something that ought to be done by people who consider themselves...well...people. Take Amy Cochran for instance, her story is fairly typical.
Okay whoa. Hang on a second.  You're anti-racing. I get it, but you're so full of smoke I can't see the ground in front of me.  Being used by people? Suffering? Forced to race? Do you even know what you're talking about? Have you spent time with trainers, owner, operators etc?
 See, the problem here is that facts can be very bothersome, so if you're going to be an overlord the first thing you have to do is clean out your mental closet of everything you've ever read, or that people have told you, find some trainer somewhere that isn't overtly shipping dogs off to oblivion and decide that person represents the entire industry. Sort of like deciding a Malayan Blue Krait would make a good pet because the one you saw today didn't bite you.
I have never SEEN a greyhound suffer at the hands of their trainers. And I certainly have never SEEN a greyhound "forced" to race.
Umm...Amy? We have never SEEN Australia either, but we're pretty sure it's there because we've read about it, seen pictures and met people who claim they've gone. Although we do appreciate the caps because you kind of helped us make the point in step one.
The track crates, and yes they are crates, are nicely constructed and roomy. I can curl up in one of these crates and have room to spare. I’m no small woman either. I'm five foot nine and twice the weight of the average male greyhound. So trust me, if I'm comfortable in one of these crates...
Now that's very scientific of you Amy, and we are sure your desire to be "curled up" in a crate had nothing to do with the quart of Vodka you have to drink to get you through your day, (Not that we blame you. Coming to work every day to a job that institutionalizes cruelty and injures and kills hundreds healthy dogs each year has got to put a strain on the old conscience. Best to keep it heavily medicated)  but here's our question: Would you have been as "comfortable" if you'd had to stay "curled up" in that crate for 18 to 22 hours? OK, to be fair, since you're twice the weight of a male greyhound, let's try the experiment again. You go get "curled up"in the crate for 9 to 11 hours then go out for a quick jog around the track and back to being "curled up" in the crate. Let's do that for a week, what do you say? It's for science, Amy.
The truth is when you "train" a greyhound to chase, all you are doing is encouraging a natural instinct. You walk or give the greyhound a ride to the track, hold on to the dog’s collar, and when the fast moving, white, fuzzy toy goes flying by, you let them go. The greyhound will either chase it, or he won't. The dogs that do chase it go on to race. The dog that doesn't is placed for adoption. It really is that simple. There's no abuse there.
 Not to quibble Amy, but dumping unprofitable dogs and expecting people who suffer from congenital empathy to come along and pick up after you may not be abuse, but it's not the most altruistic thing you've ever done either, especially for those greyhounds who aren't lucky enough to find an adopter, and there are a lot of those, aren't there Amy?
Another farce, their diets. These dogs are athletes.  Their diets are designed to give them the nutrients their bodies demand.  There's nothing wrong with red meat, chicken, pasta, veggies, omega three, and vitamin supplements. Hell, that's what dog food is made of. It just doesn't come in kibble form. Why? Do a bit of research. When you cook food it loses its nutritional value, and these greyhounds, these athletes, need every ounce of nutrition to meet their body’s demands.
Well now that's true Amy. Of course if you were to cook the food you feed greyhounds you would also lose Salmonella spp, Campylobacter jejuni, and Escherichia coli, which can cause  diarrheal disease and death, but on the bright side, dogs who die in the kennel don't need to be adopted.
If you crate and work, how many times does your dog go out to relieve himself? How much exercise does he or she get? Track dogs are turned out 4 to 5 times a day to relieve themselves. They are exercised every day either in the sprint pen or on the track.  I guarantee you, these dogs are in better shape, physically, mentally, and emotionally, than your pet greyhound.
Hey Amy. You said you became an overlord because you had never SEEN abuse, but since you've never SEEN our greyhounds, how do you know what mental, physical or emotional state they're in? Just wondering.
Can you say you truly understand the dog’s needs, what it requires, and not what you think it requires?  Because, I'm here to tell you many people don't.  Your dog, greyhound or otherwise, doesn't operate on human rules or have human needs.  He is a dog, a greyhound, and his needs, wants and desires are very different from your own.
Huh. Thanks for clearing that up Amy. We didn't realize that a greyhound needs, wants and desires were to make you a profit. We thought they were dogs, you know, animals that like to "bark, prance, play bow, and wag their tails.  In short, they are goofs." Too bad you have to dump all those "goofs" when they no longer have the need, want or desire to make money for you isn't it?
"But what about euthanasia?"  Well, I hate to break it to you, dogs, cats, cattle etc. are not human. And despite your moral objections on the subject, euthanasia is --and always will be -- an appropriate medical treatment to end the pain and/or suffering of an animal.
Not to nit pick or anything Amy, but when a dog no longer makes money for you, it isn't the dog that is suffering, it's your bank account. Might want to think that through a little more.
If you’re going to end racing.  Fine.  Stand up and put your money where your mouth is.  HELP THE DOGS --the ones that you and your cause are putting in the line of fire -- instead of having someone else clean up the mess you've made.  You want to talk about and stop unnecessary euthanasia, then stop putting hundreds and thousands of dogs at risk.
 Yeah, uh Amy? About that whole "mess" thing. Maybe rampant over-breeding, leading to dumping non-winning dogs faster and faster as you scramble to get a smaller and smaller piece of an ever shrinking money pie is contributing to the problem. Perhaps if you want to yell at someone who is putting dogs in the line of fire, you should check out your mirror. Just a suggestion.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent reader(s) of this blog will recall the limitless horizons and boundless potential of youth now shrunken to a crippled dystopian landscape of empty dreams and cold rain...erm...we mean will recall we have several times discoursed on the overlords' use of sophisticated statistical analysis to elucidate for those of us who believe injury and death are bad things how little we actually understand about the fast-paced excitement of industrialized animal exploitation.

Apparently, LNB Night Mare didn't get the memo because she went and made herself a statistic at the Tucson Death Camp for Greyhounds.

On Friday, during a race at Tucson Greyhound Park, one of the dogs bumped the electrified inside rail and died.  The track manager Dale Popp has called that an unfortunate statistical anomaly resulting in product loss.  But Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik said that records from last June through January show about nineteen dogs that "pulled up" during the race, or fell, and were not reported injured.  These records do not list any specific injury to those dogs, unlike other reports of broken toes and other injuries.  But Kozachik said that these incidents should not be left out of reports to the state, since those dogs never raced again.

"Well there can be a lot of reasons a dog doesn't race again besides injury," Popp said."Maybe they ran off to join the circus, or got kidnapped by aliens. Ever think of that?" Mr. Popp also pointed out that it is not uncommon for dogs to quit racing due to religious conversion. "A lot of these dogs become Baptists, and you know how they feel about gambling," he added.

"Every one of these injuries was substantial enough so that the dog never raced again.  That's the bottom line.  So, if these were the last races for these dogs and the stewards noted them in their own reports, they were significant enough that the owners either adopted them out or just got rid of them," said Ward 6 Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik. "Now, unless you can find a bunch of aliens, or Baptist missionaries around who suddenly have a pack of greyhounds in their front yards, I think it's pretty safe to assume that Popp's paycheck is signed in greyhound blood."

South Tucson city Commissioner Luis Gonzales said that while regulating the dogs is up to the state racing commission, he is drafting a request that when the investigation is complete, the commission will tell South Tucson the results.  The city will then decide what if any actions are appropriate, and a building inspection because of that electrified inner rail could be possible. "We're hoping to add it to our list of ordinances we don't do anything about," Gonzales said.

Yeah. Well, with friends likes these, huh Bolt?

 Here is your chance to experience many greatest minutes of your life loving this very affectionate and eager to please fellow. Bolt is a curious boy who loves to be where the action is! He starts each day off prancing and wiggling in excitement that his people are waking! Bolt is in foster and doing well with house rules and gets along well his brother. Who is ready for some new greatest minutes? For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here and here.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

We're coming to you today from the Department of Journalistic Ethics here in the marbled halls of IM Central. The DOJE is a division of the International School of Parrot Reporting, a wholly owned subsidy of We Report? You Decide. Corporation.

It seems that in the blizzard of information blanketing the nation concerning the giant sucking sound you hear that is the torrent of money falling in to the black hole of greyhound racing as it slowly collapses in on itself, one local news outlet has managed to remain blissfully unaware of the last, oh say 25 years:

Taxes on Greyhound racing in Florida put about 24 million in the state treasury each year. Some are pushing to end the sport, and thousands of jobs and millions of dollars are at stake.  Of course that 24 mil is down from $76 million in 1990, and actually it's not $24 million anyway as last year only about $1.5 million was collected, but you know, one number is as good as another when you're just filling air time.

Using reports to the state would show 70 dogs died last year, animal activists are pushing lawmakers to end dog racing, and by "animal activists" we mean anyone who thinks dogs dying in a futile quest to suck a few more bucks out of a dead industry is a bad thing.

Breeder Gene Gurley, who has been a Greyhound breeder since 1961, counters that it doesn't make sense for him to mistreat his dogs. When asked to comment specifically on the issue of dogs dying, Gurley glanced down his page of talking points and said, "How about 'all dogs get adopted.' You like that one?"

And Jack Cory, who represents the breeders in front of Florida legislators, says the 70 dogs who died make up less than one percent of all the dogs that raced in Florida. He blames tracks for the majority of deaths and injuries. "We're the real victims here," Cory said. If those tracks didn't make us race our dogs on their unsafe surfaces we could keep the animal rights wackos off our backs."

Now see there Schroeder? Don't you feel bad because you ran on all those unsafe tracks and made nice Mr. Cory get yelled at?

Schroeder is 2 1/2 years old. He is good with cats and small dogs.  For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here and here.