Greyhound Racer, Rescuer Punished By Board of Racing - Tucson News Now

Greyhound Racer, Rescuer Punished By Board of Racing

By J.D. Wallace, KOLD News 13 Reporter

David Blair has a kennel full of greyhounds whose racing days are long gone, and that is just fine with him.

"I've never put a dog to sleep, never killed a dog in 30 years," Blair said.

Blair also races greyhounds, but that stopped on Friday night.

"Over the weekend I've lost thousands of dollars in revenue," he said.

He's now suspended for two weeks after a hearing by state racing officials.  He's also facing $500 in fines.  All of this comes after insisting that an injured dog not be euthanized, which was against the wishes of its owner.

"Oh, I'd do it again tonight, I'd do it tonight, tomorrow night, if I'd had one beer, no beers," he said.

"If David had been sober, I'd have stood up for him more, you know, but I had to listen to people who were in proper mind," said Tucson Greyhound Park CEO Tom Taylor.

Taylor called South Tucson Police.  Blair offered to take, rehabilitate and adopt out the dog like he's done many times before.  But Taylor said that several people agreed that the dog should be put down.

"So I had two veterinarians telling me that, and the owner of the dog telling me that and the trainer of the dog telling me that, and I had an intoxicated trainer telling me he didn't want it to happen," Taylor said.

"This is what kills me because possibly I could have persuaded them at that point but I had the alcohol over my head," Blair said.

The state decided Blair's punishment Tuesday night, threatening not only Blair but those depending on him and his dogs.

"It's going to have a bad affect on the industry," Taylor said.

"It may be a bump in the road, but it if it changes policy, I think racing will flourish," Blair said.

At the hearing, the track veterinarian testified that she had sent dogs home with Blair with worse injuries than the one that was euthanized.  The state veterinarian said that while euthanasia was not the only option, it was justified by the nature of the injury.  Further surgery could have fixed the dog's leg; however, that decision was left to the owner.  Also, further effort would have required that he dog be given a pain killer, and Dr. Andy Carlton said that Blair's behavior was making the other veterinarian uncomfortable in the room.

State department of racing stewards suspended Blair for two weeks and fined him $500.

Blair said that he accepts the punishment, and is pleased that the hearing revealed that the dog could have been saved if more was done.

-Tuesday 5PM Newscast

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