Animal organizations are working to change the laws and educate the public about the rights of animals in Spain, where every year tens of thousands of dogs – Galgos, the greyhounds bred there for hunting – are hung, garroted, poisoned or thrown off cliffs and into pits and wells. On February 1, we commemorate World Galgo Day to symbolize the ongoing fight to put an end to the horrific fate that awaits these animals once the Spanish hunting season is over.
In Spain, Galgos are bred by the thousands and terribly mistreated. These Spanish Greyhounds spend their days confined in cages and frequently are neglected, crowded in with other dogs, and starved. These innately swift animals are trained to run fast by being attached to and dragged behind moving vehicles.
As miserable as their lives are, things only get worse for the Galgos once hunting season is over at the start of February. If a dog is considered too old and no longer useful to the hunter, or if it’s simply decided the owner doesn’t want the expense of keeping the dog alive for another year, these greyhounds are killed in unimaginably brutal ways: hung from trees, left to starve in a tiny cage without food or water, burned alive or thrown into pits, wells, and off of cliffs.
The lives of the Spanish Galgos mean nothing to their countrymen. The dogs that prove to be best at hunting are kept alive to serve as breeding animals for the next generation. The 190,000 Spanish hunters who use galgos and authorize such cruel treatment view the dogs as disposable.
The “lucky” dogs are abandoned, and rescue groups who find them say they need a lot of medical care. When the hunter frees a Galgos, it’s normal to break their legs so they will be unable to return to their hunter/owner. The majority of abandoned dogs are thus severely injured and often starving.
Local Spanish charities call it “The Greyhound Holocaust” and estimate that 50,000 dogs are affected every year. Numerous local charities have emerged to help these canine cruelty victims and to draw attention to the acts of brutal animal mistreatment that are taking place in their own country.
The Baasgalgo Association is dedicated to finding strays and seeing that they get both medical attention and loving care in local shelters.
One very active charity with a mission to save the Galgos is Greyhounds in Need based in England. Since beginning their work in 1991 the organization has rescued and found homes for several thousand Galgos with the help of their volunteers, and by working with homing groups and a network of contacts in Europe who are also working to promote Galgos adoption in their own countries. The group is dedicated to saving the lives of these dogs and has been able to find good homes for many of their rescues.
Spanish-bred hunting greyhounds make excellent family pets. They get along with other animals including cats, and their requirements for exercise are more moderate than people might imagine.
A group called SOS Galgos has programs for rescue, rehabilitation and adoption. Through their efforts they’ve been able to give new lives to almost 2000 dogs. They are also fighting every day to change the laws that allow the horrible mistreatment of the Spanish Galgos.
Other rescue groups are also getting in on the life-saving act. All can provide more details on rescue, adoption, and explain how you can help. Some websites to check out for more information include Galgo Rescue and AdoptAGalgo .
The BaasGalgo USA website has been established to make information for potential North American adopters available. BaasGalgo works with several rescue groups in the United States and can put you in contact with the right one if you are interested in adopting a rescued Galgos.
Please spread the tragic story of the Galagos to make more people aware of the situation and help to facilitate an end to this horrible treatment. Every dog should have a decent life and the kind treatment that an animal rightfully deserves.
If you can adopt, share a dog or contribute in any way to rescue efforts, now is the time to take a lifesaving action. Follow and “like” the rescues linked in this article on Facebook and share their dogs on your social media to help them find homes and raise awareness about this horrible yearly event.