While backers of a statewide ban on dog racing in Massachusetts say they have enough signatures to put the issue before voters, a lawsuit filed by dog track operators could keep the matter off the November ballot, the Boston Globe reports.

The Committee to Protect Dogs said it submitted 45,000 signatures -- far more than the 11,099 needed -- to local election officials for certification Tuesday, a day before the deadline.

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The proposed dog racing ban would shut down the state's two tracks, Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park and Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere, by Jan. 1, 2010.

But a lawsuit filed by attorneys for one of the track owners argues that the referendum, since it singles out the two tracks, rather than applying to the whole state, is unfit for a referendum. The Supreme Judicial Court took the matter under advisement after a hearing May 7.

In 2006, the same track onwer used a lawsuit to successfully block a similar ballot initiative. Animal rights activists were successful in getting a ban on the ballot in 2000, but it was narrowly defeated.

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