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TGP closing could overwhelm adoption groups

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Posted at 11:09 PM, Apr 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-27 13:40:33-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A bill that would ban live dog racing in Arizona is making its way through state legislature.

Since House Bill 2127 was introduced, it has not received a "nay" vote and is waiting to be signed by Governor Doug Ducey. Should it pass, it would end live dog racing in the state by the end of the year. The state's only live dog race track is Tucson Greyhound Park (TGP) in South Tucson.

During a recent meeting with the department of racing, officials already began discussing how to move or adopt the 450 dogs which race there at any given time. TGP lobbyist, Michael Racy, spoke about what the track is planning to do with the dogs.

"To make sure those animals are properly and appropriately taken care of and relocated whether it's to a track or an appropriate adoption agency," said Racy.

The dog owners can ultimately do what they would like with the dogs. For race dogs in Tucson, it is often the last leg of their career and many are adopted out once it is over. Greyhound adoption groups in Arizona are preparing for a large influx of retired greyhounds.

"It's going to affect us as far as the number of dogs coming in," said Jean Williams, president of Arizona Greyhound Rescue.

Williams says most greyhound dogs that are adopted as pets in Tucson once raced at TGP. A shuttered dog race track would add to that. To compensate, Williams says they have begun ramping up donation efforts and creating publicity. She says they will need to work with other groups in town to accommodate more dogs.

"If we cannot get them petted out, Greyhound Pets of America - Phoenix has said these dogs will go back to the farms in Oklahoma," said Williams.

Tucson city councilman Steve Kozachik, who has been outspoken about conditions at TGP in the past, would like to see the racing commission invite adoption groups from out of state to help relieve the burder on local groups.

"So that we're not putting five or six or seven dogs in a foster home indefinitely, but trying to find homes for them," Kozachik said.