Skechers commercial shot in Tucson kicks up controversy
Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - A Skechers running shoe commercial set to air during the Super Bowl is already kicking up controversy, partly because of where it was filmed in Tucson. Animal rights activists are calling on Sketchers to revoke the ad that was shot at the Tucson Greyhound Park, claiming that the message and location should not be promoted.
Grey2K USA spokesperson Christine Dorchak told 9 On Your Side that dogs in the facility are kept in small cages with low-grade food. An undercover video released by Grey2K USA depicts the dogs muzzled, in a cage in a dark room.
"Tucson Greyhound Park is a black mark on the community," she said, "We are appealing to greyhound advocates across the country to rally for the greyhounds and ask Skechers to withdraw this misguided ad."
The commercial will depict a French Bulldog in the running shoes, winning a race against greyhounds. The name of the park and location will not be disclosed in the commercial.
Grey2K USA's recent blog about the park makes claims of animal neglect, and points to two incidents involving trainers. One trainer was cited in October for their dogs' flea infestation. Another was cited for not taking the dogs outside for the proper amount of time.
9 On Your Side reporter Jessica Chapin posed these concerns to Tucson Greyhound Park owner Tom Taylor.
"There's no abuse," he said, adding that they feed the dogs meat ordered from Iowa, and keep them in temperature-regulated kennels which are inspected weekly.
He said trainers hold each other accountable when it comes to the recent hearings. He says that ultimately protects the dogs. He also elaborated on the flea incident, saying the particular trainer had purchased new dogs from out of state which already had fleas, accidentally spreading it to other dogs, but that the trainer had taken care of the problem.
9 On Your Side went a step further, asking to see the dogs. Taylor did not hesitate to show off one of their kennel facilities, where dozens of dogs had just come in from the outdoors. They were not wearing muzzles, and appeared in good health.
In response to Grey2K USA allegations, Taylor responded, "They want to end greyhound racing. So as long as I keep racing, I can't say anything to them."
Grey2K USA is planning a rally at a Skechers location in Tucson at the end of the month. They are also circulating an online petition and have already gathered 45 thousand signatures.