Day 145: I’M OFF TO SPAIN TO HELP ABANDONED HUNTING DOGS
The Greyhound hunting dogs of Spain don’t have it so easy….
In rural spain the local hunters don’t use guns they use dogs. These ‘galgos’ are a type of greyhound: beautiful, sleek, loyal, fast. Unfortunately, in traditional Spain with its sometimes macho culture they are often mistreated, considered tools rather than pets. When the season is over those that are considered weak or too expensive to keep are discarded, sometimes in brutal ways: thrown down wells, left in plastic bags, hung from trees, injected with bleach or if lucky, just abandoned by motorways. The particular horror is the ‘type writer’ where dogs are hung by the necks so that their hind feet can just reach the ground. Their scrabbling keeps them alive a little longer and creates a ‘typing’ sound on the ground. c
Campaigners estimate that between 10,000 – 50,000 dogs are killed by the owners in Spain every year.
Even before they are abandoned their lives can be miserable. As one new article says:
‘Galgos used for hunting are usually starved for 5 days prior to a hunt to keep them “keen”. Very often they live in hovels with little shelter and spend 90% of their lives on a short chain. It is not uncommon for hunting dogs in Spain to be kept in a “vallado” (fenced holding pen) in the middle of nowhere being visited only two or three times a week to be fed left overs and given water.
My first reaction to this was….in Spain? REALLY?
Perhaps that was naive but I was truly shocked it was so close to our doorstep. Africa maybe, but an EU country? Then again they have Bull fighting.
So …I’m off to visit an inspirational couple who, like Avis in India, have started to help these dogs with minimal investment other than their open hearts. I’ll report back soon.
These are the questions I’m packing along with my boxer shorts:
– How widespread is this?
– Why I have I not heard more about it?
– What are the Spanish government doing about it?
– How can I make a difference?
If you or anyone you know has any experience of Galgos that you want to share please be in touch. I’m kind of nervous about what I’m going to find.