Half an hour later, when McGaughey returned, the truck would be empty. In McGaughey's words, the dogs had been put down."
For almost a full court day, witnesses were put on the stand by McGaughey's defense attorney, William Stine, to discredit Pendergast, the man who had fingered McGaughey.
The most interesting was Bob Erskine, an angry-looking, heavyset man with a large, black mustache, who had also worked as a trainer for McGaughey.
For several days he had been fulminating in the hall outside court about the do-gooders" and kooks" who wanted to destroy dog racing in Arizona.
To hear Erskine talk, you would think the powers who run dog racing here in Arizona are as high-minded as the people who raised Secretariat in Kentucky.
Erskine worked for McGaughey as a trainer for several years. His employment coincided with the employment of Pendergast for six months.
Was Pendergast an honest person?" Stine, the lawyer, asked.
Erskine sat silently for what seemed a long time. He stared straight ahead.
Then, speaking very slowly and distinctly, he said:
I'd have to say...no!" Stine nodded his head.
Pendergast has said he knew that Mr. McGaughey had taken 80 to 100 dogs out into that field, killed them and left them there. Could that be true?" It's not possible," Erskine said. If he put that many dogs down, he'd be out of business." To Erskine, McGaughey was a dog lover who gave his pets away for adoption or took them to the Arizona Humane Society. The charges against him were both greatly exaggerated and false.
But Leesa Morrison, the assistant attorney general trying the case, decimated this defense with her cross-examination of Erskine.
Mr. Erskine, have you ever performed any cruel acts to dogs?" Erskine grinned with self-assurance.
No," he said confidently.
But that apparently isn't quite true of the way you behave toward humans?" Morrison asked.
Erskine looked startled.
Isn't it true that in 1991, you attacked two dog-track officials and were fined $300 and suspended for 30 days?" Erskine recoiled with anger in the witness chair.
Yes," he said, his eyes narrowing.
And isn't it true that in 1990 you were charged at the track with disorderly conduct, assault and making threats, and fined $200?" Yes," Erskine said sullenly.
And isn't it true that you were fined $100 in May 1989 for using foreign substances on dogs?" Yes," Erskine answered, his head down.
And wasn't there still another charge placed against you of acting in an abusive manner to a mutuel clerk?" Erskine sat rigidly in the witness chair. He said nothing.
I have no further questions," Morrison said.
In a few minutes of cross-examination, Morrison's questions had elicited answers that drew a vivid picture of everyday life at Arizona's dog tracks.
McGaughey's wife, Thelma, also took the stand as a defense witness. She told how difficult it was to make a profit from dog racing.
She explained that they had started back in 1968 when they bought their first two dogs. Over the years, they built to more than 100 at a time. They not only raced their own dogs but housed and ran dogs owned by other owners, too, she said.
Mrs. McGaughey complained about economic conditions.
Prices have gone up," she said, and the handle at the track has stayed the same. For winning a race, you might get $500. It was becoming increasingly difficult to make a profit from it." Nevertheless, McGaughey was voted to have the top kennel in the state last year. In the world of greyhound racing, he was the top winner.
When McGaughey pleaded guilty to the felony charge placed against him, his license was revoked. His dogs were taken away. He is no longer in the dog-racing business.
McGaughey finally stood before Judge Reinstein to be sentenced. His hands shook.
I have been suspended from racing," McGaughey said. I'm completely out of business. It takes years to build up a thing like this. We've lost our livelihood.
I know it's wrong to litter, but I had no idea it could be a felony. This puts me out of the greyhound-racing business which my wife and I have been proud to be in for 20 years." ²Judge Reinstein sentenced McGaughey to serve 30 days in the county jail and to pay a fine of $25,000.
I don't think you're the worst person in the world," Reinstein said.
But as someone unfamiliar with the racing industry, I find it incredible there are no other laws about this." Of course there are no other laws and there never will be.