The present day situation
The focus of said problems is on two topics: The uncontrolled breeding of Galgos and their massive abandoning at the end of the hunting season.
An investigation by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in 2001 and 2002 proved that tens of thousands of Galgos are bred annually in Spain in the hope of producing the national coursing champion. Medina del Campo is the focal point for those with a coursing interest in Spain. Many galgueros (breeders and owners of Galgos) live in Medina del Campo and its environs.
Prior to 2001 it was an annual tradition for the galgueros to kill their Galgos by hanging them en masse in the pine forests in and around Medina del Campo at the end of the coursing season (January/February). Fermín Pérez and WSPA captured vast photographic evidence and WSPA compiled a report about the treatment of Galgos in Spain.
From about 2001 onwards the galgueros started to bring their unwanted Galgos to the Scooby shelter with the result that on average Scooby houses about 450 dogs, mainly Galgos. Scooby ensures all of the dogs are neutered and receive veterinary attention. Scooby rehomes a limited number of Galgos and some of the mixed breed dogs via small partner organisations in Europe.
Practically everybody in the country is allowed to breed Galgos – the simple precondition is to own a male and a female. There is no control whatsoever by any authority. Needless to say that the laws intended to govern this issue do exist, however, nobody abides by these laws nor executes any control as to their violation. This is usually due to the fact that there is no possibility at all to check whether or not these laws and regulations are being violated. Every single animal ought to be identified – which is frequently not the case, and the breeders should be forced to register in order to regulate the breeding. The breeding of Galgos in Spain is excessive – a population of dogs that will never have the chance to find a home – and this is why we have resolved to follow a new direction in order to fight the root of the problem, which is in the “UNCHECKED BREEDING OF GALGOS”.
We at Scooby continuously receive calls for help from numerous persons asking us to take over their dogs. We are mainly given two- to three-year-old Galgos, sometimes also older ones or Galgos from bad living conditions. Some of these Galgos end up in an association like Scooby where they have at least the chance of a future, others end up in the so-called “Perreras” where most of them are “put to sleep” by lethal injections. Some get killed on the roads, some are being shot to death and others are hanged – the hanging of the animals continues in Spain in spite of the many campaigns. To the owners of Galgos, we are simply the ones collecting their garbage. To them, a Galgo after the hunting season is nothing but garbage they want to get rid of. Given the possibility to drop their animals in a more or less appropriate way, we even give them a chance to clean their conscience because, on top of everything, they feel they are doing something good.
In view of these facts, we decided to operate in various fields. The two major issues are to take over the dogs and to find them a new home – keeping in mind that all those reading this page play a major role in this. Further, it is most important that all you readers participate in the campaigns to reduce the breeding of Galgos. It simply can not be that one single person breeds 15 Galgos in order to keep only two of them and to get rid of the other 13. The breeders have to take responsibility for the dogs, from the beginning to the very end. The associations dedicating themselves to the taking over of Galgos can not be the ones suffering from the responsibility the breeders are no longer willing to assume.
If I use the term “suffering” I am talking about the limited working capacities. No matter how much one individual may be prepared to work and help, no matter how big the animal shelter may be, there will always be Galgos that can not enter because of the limited space, not enough hands, or because the shelter should not be overcrowded, etc… We must get to the point where the laws are being respected – laws that are valid for all persons owning animals, …and laws that are not only valid for pets but also for hunting dogs. The country of Spain does have set laws, but they are hardly being controlled since they do not serve a political purpose. Our aim is to teach the people in our educational centre and with school visits about the situation, and if the time allows us, to make campaigns in order to change the mentality and start awareness.