Racing Dogs Abused

CHARLESTON (AP) – Three men involved in racing at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack have been disciplined for neglecting or abusing greyhounds.

Published reports state the track’s board of judges punished them in separate hearings during April and May. A spokeswoman for the track did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Rulings obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request show that Christopher Bever and trainer James Grace lost their operating permits, while trainer James Bloom’s permit was suspended for six months.

According to the National Greyhound Association website, both Bloom and Grace train dogs for Cardinal Kennel, which has a location in Beech Bottom. A telephone listing has been disconnected.

A listing for James Grace also was disconnected. Numbers for Bever and Bloom could not immediately be located Wednesday.

Bloom’s suspension began April 10. The documents say he will have to take the trainers exam again if he wants to go back to work.

The disciplinary documents don’t indicate the nature of the abuse, or when and where it occurred. They say only that Bloom and Grace deprived injured greyhounds of necessary care and neglected the daily care of a kennel.

Dr. Lori Bohenko, the state veterinarian assigned to the track, said she couldn’t comment on the cases, except to say that two kennels were involved.

Presiding Judge Ralph Brehm said he’s not allowed to discuss the cases, and Executive Director Jon Amores of the West Virginia Racing Commission said details about the abuse aren’t maintained at this level of disciplinary proceedings.

Witness statements and other evidence might emerge if one of the men were to appeal the ruling, he said.

Amores said the reprimand process is informal and less paperwork speeds up rulings. Other state agencies use similar practices, he said, adding that the rulings provide enough information should someone try to reapply for a permit.

“That’s why we keep them. Over time, the details of any particular infraction may be lost or misinterpreted, but the ruling is written,” he said. “It’s saved; it’s clear as a bell.”