Last Saturday evening, local activist Kitty Granquist struck a true blow for animal rights. Trouble is, the blow she struck landed squarely below the belt.
It was 8:30 p.m., the height of the dinner rush, and Granquist was rallying outside Abe & Louie’s, the upscale Boylston Street steakhouse. Granquist’s demonstration did not target the beef industry, however, but rather the greyhound-racing industry. Specifically, she was there to put a thorn in the side of Charles Sarkis, who owns controlling interest in Abe & Louie’s and, more significantly, the Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere.
" The best way to hurt a millionaire, " Granquist says, " is to hit him in the pocketbook. " As the events of July 21 made painfully clear, however, the best way to hurt any guy — millionaire or not — is to hit him in the balls.
The trouble started when Granquist spotted a man taking pictures of her outside the restaurant. Irate, she followed the man inside, where she was intercepted by staff. A struggle ensued. " I have bruises to show that I was mauled, " she says. In any case, at least in terms of physical injury, the 44-year-old Granquist got off a lot more lightly than her alleged victim.
According to an Abe & Louie’s spokesperson (who requested anonymity), the target of Granquist’s attack was a 72-year-old security guard employed by Sarkis. The guard was off-duty at the time, having dinner with his 73-year-old wife. As he approached Granquist, she allegedly felled him with a well-placed kick.
" I didn’t kick him in the balls, " Granquist says. " I kneed him in the balls. "
All this may seem academic to the guard, who witnesses say was left " helpless " and " vomiting " by the blow, but the distinction is significant: a kick in the balls qualifies as assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a shod foot), which is a felony; a knee to the balls is a misdemeanor. On July 24 Granquist was arraigned at the Boston municipal courthouse on the greater of the two charges.
But the intrigue surrounding this case does not stop at the difference between a knee and a foot.
On the day of Granquist’s arraignment, a report in the Boston Globe identified her as " a leader of Grey2K, " apparently as the result of information in a media alert put out by local track owners. Though there is no love lost between Charles Sarkis and the anti-dog-racing organization Grey2K — which last November sponsored a narrowly defeated bill to ban greyhound racing in Massachusetts — the group also wants no part of Kitty Granquist’s campaign. Incensed that the media alert implicated them in Granquists’s alleged attack, Grey2K staffers fired off a letter to Sarkis threatening " appropriate legal action. "
" Grey2K is in no way affiliated with Kitty Granquist, " says spokesman Carey Theil. " This is absolute misinformation, a further attempt by these track owners to defame and harass anyone who opposes dog racing. " He goes on to call Granquist " unstable. "
For her part, Granquist also denies any affiliation with Grey2K, calling Theil a " jerk " and Grey2K " a bunch of dumbasses. " Though she acknowledges her role as a founding member of the organization, Granquist says she quit Grey2K last year. Theil, meanwhile, insists that she was expelled.
Though Granquist denies that her bizarre rift with Grey2K will hamper local anti-racing efforts — " Our infighting will have no effect on that " — she does admit that the events of July 21 have left her battle-weary. " The fight’s almost out of me, " she says. " But it doesn’t matter if I fight or not. If I die tomorrow, others will take this on. It doesn’t matter what I do anymore. "