Shocking undercover video footage recently released by GREY2K USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending Greyhound racing nationwide, clearly depicts muzzled greyhounds confined to small, stacked cages in dark rooms for extended periods of time. The video, filmed in August 2010 at Arizona’s Tucson Greyhound Park, also confirms that the dogs are fed meat from diseased animals to reduce costs and are denied proper exercise and human interaction.
The Tucson Dog Protection Act, passed in 2008, mandates that dogs housed at Tucson Greyhound Park be let out of their cages for at least six hours per day and cannot be fed raw, diseased meat. The ASPCA has taken immediate action, demanding that the city of South Tucson ensure compliance with that law.
“As disturbing as this video is, it’s sadly not surprising,” says Ann Church, ASPCA Senior Director of Government Relations. “The footage only underscores what we already know: Greyhounds endure lives of terrible confinement. The ASPCA is grateful to GREY2K USA for capturing these inhumane conditions and raising awareness about the inherent cruelty of dog racing.”
In 2010, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire passed laws prohibiting Greyhound racing, and 25 Greyhound tracks have closed in the U.S. since 2001. The ASPCA urges Arizona legislators to follow suit and outlaw dog racing in their state.
“Greyhound racing is a dying industry nationwide,” says Church. “There is nothing entertaining about dog racing when you know that these animals are suffering.”
On October 7, ASPCA Special Investigator Paul Romano removed Hennessy, a weak and emaciated Pit Bull, from a Staten Island home. She was found tied to a short leash, and veterinarians at the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital determined that the skeletal dog had been starved.
Flash forward to December, and Hennessy is hardly the same dog. (Check out the before-and-after pics below!) During her stay at the ASPCA, she’s gained 92 percent of her body weight.
While hospital staff takes care of Hennessy, Humane Law Enforcement Agents are taking care of business. On December 11, Agents arrested Laquanda Carter, Hennessy’s owner. Carter, 27, was charged with animal abuse and faces a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine if convicted.
Hennessy was rescued thanks to a concerned neighbor who reported the abuse. If you suspect an animal is being abused, don’t keep it to yourself—report it to your local authorities.
On September 29, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested Manhattan resident Anthony Polanco for striking and injuring his four-year-old Yorkie, Jack.
The investigation began on August 9, when Polanco brought his dog to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for treatment—Jack was unable to walk. When questioned by veterinarians, the 27-year-old admitted to striking the dog while grooming him. Upon further examination, veterinarians determined that Jack had sustained severe blunt force trauma to his spinal cord.
“Inflicting such severe injury on a helpless dog signals the potential for violence directed at other vulnerable victims,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for the Humane Law Enforcement. “We too often see that animal abusers are repeat offenders.”
Jack is currently recovering at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where he will remain until he is able to be placed up for adoption. Due to the extent of his injuries, Jack may never regain complete function of his right limbs.
“Jack sustained serious injuries—his body may never fully recover,” says Wolf. “But this victim of abuse deserves a second chance at a better life and the comforts of a new forever home."
Polanco, 27, was charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty and faces up to two years in jail if convicted.
On Wednesday, April 14, the New Hampshire State Senate voted nearly unanimously to pass the Greyhound Protection Act (House Bill 630) to permanently ban the racing of Greyhounds in the Granite State. The bill had already passed the state’s House of Representatives in March, so it now goes to Governor John Lynch, who is expected to sign it into state law.
Thanks for this legislative victory are due in part to the New Hampshire-based members of the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, who sent 267 emails to their state senators urging support for the act, and to Senator Sheila Roberge, who took the Senate floor to tell the tragic story of Amber, a Greyhound who lost her life in a violent track accident. Amber was one of nearly 1,200 dogs injured while racing in New Hampshire between 2005 and 2008—these injuries included broken legs, paralysis, cardiac arrest and head trauma.
The ASPCA opposes dog racing, which is an inherently cruel form of entertainment. Racing dogs are confined for 20 hours or more a day in small cages, often wearing muzzles; they are bred excessively in the quest for good runners, with the “excess” puppies killed or otherwise discarded; they suffer from inhumane transportation as they’re shuttled from state to state for racing purposes; and they regularly endure serious and fatal injuries.
The nine states that have banned dog racing are: Maine (1993), Virginia (1995), Vermont (1995), Idaho (1996), Washington (1996), Nevada (1997), North Carolina (1998), Pennsylvania (2004) and Massachusetts (2008, effective 2010). For more information about the plight of racing Greyhounds, please visit ASPCA.org/dogracing.
On January 19, David Barkley, 39, of the New York Aquarium pet store located on Jamaica Avenue, was arrested by Special Agent Joann Sandano and charged with animal cruelty for allegedly severely neglecting two birds, both of whom died. The store is known for selling exotic birds, reptiles and fish, as well as for boarding dogs.
The initial investigation began on October 25, 2009, after a concerned customer filed a complaint with the ASPCA regarding an ill dog being boarded at the facility. Upon arrival, Agent Sandano discovered that the dog in question had been returned to his owner. However, further inspection of the facility turned up a dead parakeet lying atop a bird cage. The remains were taken to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where veterinarians performed a necropsy and determined that the cause of death was neglect and malnourishment.
Agent Sandano returned to the location as a follow-up to the investigation. Her second inspection of the store uncovered a canary huddled in a cage in the shop’s basement. Agent Sandano immediately transported the bird to the ASPCA Animal Hospital—unfortunately, the bird died in transport. Agent Sandano subsequently returned to New York Aquarium to place Barkley under arrest.
Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel of the Humane Law Enforcement Department stated, “The ASPCA aims to ensure that those in the business of selling pets for profit provide adequate care to their charges—regardless of species. Failure to do so should carry serious consequences.”
Barkley, who took full responsibility for caring for the animals in the shop, was charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail and fines up to $2,000.
If you know of an animal whose health is being compromised by neglect or abuse, please report it. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty in your neighborhood.