Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent reader(s) of this blog know that happiness is a Potemkin village built in the valley of disillusionment...erm...we mean know that we are loathe to give up our little digital soap box here on the porch of the marbled halls of IM Central, particularly on Fridays when we avail ourselves (and you honorable reader) of the latest feats and foibles of the overlords as they try to avoid gainful employment and meaningful existence.

However, yesterday as we were slooshing through the inter toobz, waiting for the Stoli to chill, we ran across the blog of well known animal rights wacko Karyn Zoldan who reported on the perplexity the Racing Commission in Arizona, a governmental body,  was having in determining what was a public record, as in, the records maintained by a governmental body.
Question: When is a public records request not a public records request?  Answer: When it’s sent to the Arizona Department of Racing. The Arizona Department of Racing is a state agency. And for the past gazillion years, it’s been funded by you the taxpayer from the state’s General Fund.
Now, admittedly our initial thought was that the Commission's newest member, friend of the blog Rory Goree must have attended his first meeting and this confusion is the result, but then we remembered, Mr. Goree doesn't have any difficulty recognizing public documents, he just doesn't want people to see them, particularly when they concern the number of greyhounds injured and killed, and killed because their injuries are deemed too expensive to fix.

 Well, a true conundrum, no? Oh wait, it seems the Commission no longer maintains the injury report.
Officials claimed that injury reports were no longer "maintained" by the agency and could not be produced.
Ah, there you go then. Can't release something you don't have, right?
Yesterday, we received proof that Dr. Andrew Carlton, Chief Veterinarian for the Department has in fact been in possession of injury documentation. This suggests that the agency has been playing hide-and-seek with the public record.
No, no no no. You've got it all wrong. It's not hide and seek, it's keep away. See the Commission gave the report to Dr. Carlton, so if you want it, you'll have to talk to him, at which time he'll give it back to the Commission.  Sort of like in grade school when someone would take your notebook and then toss it to another person when you tried to get it, who would then toss it to another, and so on. Remember how much fun that was?

But keep away aside, we've never dealt with the essential question of when is a public document public? Helpful commenter to Karyn's blog Marc B Evans lays it out for us:
The fact that a private entity is regulated by a government agency or that it receives tax subsidies do not make its records public. To get the injury logs, the state would have to require that race tracks submit them to the state agency as part of its regulation and the agency would have to "maintain" them as part of its regulatory duties. Then, assuming the Legislature doesn't exempt the records from review, which it frequently does for businesses it requires to submit reports (such as hospitals), the state agency would have to release the record.
 And thank you for clearing that up, Mr. Evans sir. You have truly done the public a service here...wait, what did you say Karyn?
TGP is not a private entity like a restaurant that must, for example, obey public health laws, pay sales tax and have non-discriminatory policies.  It is quasi-public because it must share its revenues by law with our state.  That's how pari-mutuel wagering works. 
Oh. So it turns out Mr. Evans is about 14 different kinds of wrong. But wait, he's not finished:
By my reading of this rule in the Administrative Code, these are public records. You should be able to obtain them. It doesn't matter whether they're not in the possession of the Department of Racing but kept either at the track or by the veterinarian. 
Well all righty then, we all agree. But why all the fuss in the first place? It's not like you're asking for the nuclear launch codes or anything.
A funny thing happened sometime after GREY2K USA released greyhound injury reports from Arizona racetracks in 2009. The Department of Racing decided it would no longer produce injury records to us.
Oh yeah. There is that whole state sanctioned animal abuse thing there. Tends to reflect badly on people who are supposed to have souls, right  Charon?

Charon is a very sweet but shy girl. She loves to play with the other Greyhounds in the household outside but once they are inside, she becomes shy. She loves to be petted but once she has gotten some attention she will back away. She is housebroken. She will go in her crate to take naps. She is learning to play with her toys. Charon would do best in a home with older well-behaved children due to her shyness, which her foster parents are working to help her overcome. She would do well as an only dog or with other dogs and she is cat safe. She would do best in a home with someone with experience with dogs who will be willing to work with her to help her overcome her shyness. 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.

No comments: