Saturday, 2:15 PM
Dog racing opponents win high court legal battle
(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
Racing towards a ban? Greyhounds tore up the track at the Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park in January.
By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff
Opponents of dog racing in Massachusetts are hailing a decision by the state's highest court today that clears the way for a dog racing ban proposal to appear on the November ballot.
George Carney, who has owned the Raynham-Taunton dog track for the past 40 years, sued in March, challenging Attorney General Martha Coakley's certification of the ballot question proposed by the Committee to Protect Dogs.
Carney argued, among other things, that the law would amount to an uncompensated "taking" of his property.
But the Supreme Judicial Court today rejected that argument, noting that gambling on dog races is a heavily regulated industry that only exists because the Legislature has carved out narrow exceptions in the law.
The court, citing an earlier decision, also said that racing "can be abolished at any time that the Legislature may deem proper for the safeguarding and protection of the public welfare."
Christine Dorchak, co-chairwoman of the Committee to Protect Dogs, said, "I couldn't be happier."
"We're pleased that the greyhounds will appear before voters in November. Once Massachusetts citizens learn about the suffering and cruelty that these greyhounds are enduring, they will support the greyhound protection act. They will vote yes on (Question) 3," said Dorchak.
Lee H. Kozol, who represented Carney, said he was disappointed by the ruling but felt the case had gotten a fair hearing. "It certainly appears that this will be on the ballot," he said.
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