Greyhound Park's CEO: steroid injections are safe form of birth control

Greyhound Park's CEO: steroid injections are safe form of birth control

CREATED Aug. 31, 2012

Reporter: Claire Doan

SOUTH TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) – A 9 On Your Side Investigation sparked a lot of viewer outrage – and the person receiving that backlash wants to set the record straight.

KGUN9 News aired an exclusive story, showing operators of Tucson Greyhound Park injecting racing dogs with anabolic steroids – as a form of birth control. The city of South Tucson banned the practice years ago, but the track’s veterinarian has been injecting the dogs inside the city of Tucson – where it’s legal.

In the story that aired Monday, CEO Tom Taylor admitted operators were skirting the South Tucson city ordinance.  On Friday, he had more to say.   Taylor expressed concern that viewers might race to conclusions about what are technically anabolic steroids under the law.

Taylor emphasized that the track administers the drug only as a form of birth control, and only in the dose required to achieve that purpose.   Taylor denied that the drug is used for any kind of performance enhancement, and added that the same method is also used on show dogs, and for the same reason:  birth control only.

“We’re giving it to them to bring the level up, where they don’t go into heat,” Taylor said. “I’ve checked with a lot of veterinarians around the world and every one of them has told me this is the safest form of birth control out there for dogs.”

In 2008, dozens of veterinarians signed a petition supporting the ban of anabolic steroids on female greyhounds.

Taylor said building a separate compound for the females would cost half a million dollars and insists that this is a effective, good method since the track doesn’t know which greyhounds it wants to breed.

“Most animal lovers will tell you this is the safest way of giving birth control because after you take them off it, they can have puppies – healthy puppies afterwards – with no problems,” Taylor said. 

No problems? Not so, said Councilman Steve Kozachik, who is pushing for a ban on the “birth control” in Tucson, saying the steroids are simply unethical.

“We have evidence and we’re going to bring to the city council meeting: People who adopted these dogs and watched them a die a slow death as a result of the UTI infectio and enlarged livers,’ Kozachik.

Kozachik said separating the males and females would be the right to do no matter the cost.

But Taylor everything they do is for the good of the greyhounds.

“The only reason I’m going to this extreme of going over to Tucson and still continually doing it because I think it’s a bad law,” Taylor said.

Reporter Claire Doan asked: “There are a lot of people who think they are bad laws but they still don’t skirt them though.”

“Oh they skirt them, they just don’t break them like I’m not doing,” Taylor responded.

The issue will go before Tucson’s City Council on September 11th.