Barbaric Tradition In The Heart Of Europe Claims Tens Of Thousands Of Dogs’ Lives Every Year
February 1, 2019 15:49 By Fabiosa
Every year hundreds of thousands of animals are being killed, tortured, or starved to death. Among them are galgos, the Spanish greyhounds.
How did these amazing creatures deserve such cruel treatment?
Unfortunately, as is the case with other abused animals, there is no accurate statistics on galgos. In Spain, the number of these dogs destroyed or left on the streets after the end of a hunting season, is estimated at 50,000 per year!
What is galgo?
The Spanish greyhound or galgo is one of the oldest dog breeds. They are peaceful, quiet, and gentle. Galgos are generally friendly to other dogs, cats, and small children.
They are very affectionate and tolerant of overly enthusiastic children’s attention, so they make a perfect family dog.
Alas... Galgos were specifically bred for hunting hares. And this is how their fate was pre-decided. Most of these dogs don’t live up to 3-4 years and are slain by their owners immediately after the end of a hunting season.
Why is it happening?
The fate of most galgos is tragic. Galgos are mass-bred in hopes of finding particularly fast dogs. This is what Tina Solera, the founder of the galgo rescue organization, tells:
Dogs in many parts of the country [Spain] are often kept in terrible conditions, chained outdoors in small concrete bunkers and fed just enough to keep them alive — and ravenous enough to give them an edge in competitions. We've had galgueros that have had 70, 120 galgos, living on crisps and bread and eating each other when they die.
To train galgos for speed, hunters usually take 12-15 dogs, tie them to the back of a motorcycle or car, and then force them to run. Needless to say, some of them don’t make it.
It’s hard to tell how many galgos die each year because no one keeps track of how many are born. The dogs are rarely spayed or neutered, and this uncontrolled breeding results in a large number of discarded galgos and that the dogs are useful only within such a short time. Given a 7-month lull between hunting seasons, it’s cheaper and easier for the owners to get rid of the hunting dogs and get new ones next year.
A galgo is an excellent greyhound between the ages of 8 months and 2 years. Reaching 3-4 years of age, they are generally not fast enough to hunt and, therefore ‘useless.’ Best case scenario, they are thrown out; at worst, sadistically killed. And the cruelty of it will make you shudder.
How do they end?
After 1-2 hunting seasons, still very young galgos are killed. And some owners ‘out of kindness,’ just leave the dogs in the woods with broken legs so that they don’t find their way home.
They leave only some females for breeding. This explains the fact that adult galgos picked up by animal rescuers are all mostly females.
What can be done?
If you want to help volunteers who work hard saving galgo dogs, here's what you can do.
1. Take a galgo from a shelter in Spain
But be prepared for the fact that it will take time and patience for the dog to trust people again. It has gone through so much!
2. Take a galgo for a while
If you can't adopt a dog, maybe you can offer it a temporary place to stay? It will give it an opportunity to recover until it finds a permanent owner.
3. Raise funds
Most organizations that are involved in saving galgos are charitable and rely on animal lovers’ donations. Fundraising is equally important to the cause.
You can help galgo dogs even from the comfort of your home! Join the charitable organizations in social networks and follow their work. Please spread the word about the galgos’ plight – share this article with your friends!
Or, maybe, a rescued Spaniard already lives at your place? Tell us its story and share a photo!