PHOENIX — Officials with Tucson Greyhound Park knew that the Colorado-based hauler they used to transport now-missing dogs had had his license suspended recently by Colorado racing authorities, according to documents.
The Arizona Department of Racing released records Wednesday in its investigation of about 150 missing greyhounds that Richard Favreau transported from Tucson Greyhound Park over the last year.
Records show that last fall, the track's general manager, Chris McConnell, and Tony Fasulo, chief operating officer for ZapCon Inc., which owns the track, contacted the National Greyhound Association to check Favreau's standing with the organization.
The association serves as the registry of racing greyhounds in North America.
Gary Guccione, the organization's executive director, told them Favreau was in good standing, but he also said Favreau's Colorado license was suspended for the 1998 sale of greyhounds to Colorado State University for research without the permission of their owners, according to records.
In a follow-up letter to McConnell and Fasulo, dated Nov. 2, 2005, Guccione foreshadowed the problems to come.
He encouraged track officials to work with credible adoption agencies that closely monitor the dogs and their locations.
"This would entail concise recordskeeping and follow-up, so that all Greyhounds designated for adoption are never placed in an 'at-risk' situation," he wrote.
Geoffrey Gonsher, the Racing Department's director, released the records after Favreau failed to appear for his most recent hearing in Phoenix.
In October, Favreau was fined $1,000 and had his license suspended for 60 days by the Phoenix Greyhound Park Board of Stewards with the recommendation that Gonsher revoke his license.
Although Favreau did not appear at Wednesday's hearing, Gonsher is to issue a written ruling within 20 days. In addition to revoking Favreau's license, Gonsher can also increase the fine to $5,000.
Last fall, Favreau made a verbal contract with Tucson Greyhound Park to haul dogs from the track to adoption agencies for $150 a dog, according to records.
On Tuesday, McConnell, the track's general manager, would not comment about the Favreau case, citing the ongoing investigation.
However, records show McConnell supplied log sheets to investigators for 146 dogs hauled to Favreau's Colorado property. Favreau made six trips, with a different hauler making one.
Efforts to reach Favreau were unsuccessful because his telephone has been disconnected.
He has said he delivered most of the dogs to adoption groups, notably in New Mexico and Texas, according to records.
In a letter responding to questions from Guccione, of the National Greyhound Association, Favreau wrote that "20 or 30 of these dogs were directly returned to their owners in Colorado. … Still others were adopted out to several different places."
He wrote that he could not provide further records because of a "power surge" that "fried" his computer.
Although he has said he delivered the dogs to various owners and adoption agencies, he has only named one colorado adoption agency.
To date, the Racing Department has located six of the dogs.
In a visit to Favreau's kennels, Colorado racing investigator Terry Marsh noted that "Favreau had fewer than a dozen dogs present, and the majority of runs and turnout pens were filled with weeds and debris," according to documents.
In addition to letters and investigative reports, the documents released by the department also include several lists of dogs.
Joan Eidinger, editor and publisher of the Greyhound Network News, said she and other activists will use the lists to locate the dogs' owners.
The missing dogs were first reported to Colorado and Arizona authorities by Susan Netboy of the California-based Greyhound Protection League.
Greyhound Park officials' monitoring the adoption of dogs and their locations "would entail concise recordskeeping and follow-up, so (the dogs) are never placed in an at-risk situation."
Gary Guccione, National Greyhound Association executive director