Officials Investigating Deaths of 23 Dogs at Shorter Track

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SHORTER, Ala. (AP) - Autopsies have been ordered on 23 greyhounds that were found dead at the VictoryLand dog track and the state Agriculture Department is investigating.

Five of the dogs were sent to a lab at Auburn University, and the other 18 were sent to Tuskegee University for autopsies Friday.

The cause of their deaths was believed to be a heating malfunction in one of the track's kennels. Ag Commissioner Ron Sparks said that appears to be the cause.

A phone message left for a VictoryLand spokeswoman was not immediately returned Monday.

The Greyhound Protection League is calling for an independent safety taskforce review of all Alabama kennel compounds following the deaths.

Susan Netboy, president of the Penn Valley, California,-based organization, said the deaths were an "avoidable man-made tragedy that has to be prevented in the future."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)