How We Started

The first galgo rescued from Spain

The Story of Ibiza

Ibiza in her rescue kennel in Spain

I went alone for a week in December 1993 to the interesting old city of Salamanca in Spain, to take a course in the Spanish language for the purpose of aiding my work to help the greyhounds in Spain. Salamanca was far away from the Mediterranean coast where I had previously poked my nose into the tracks and kennels of the greyhound stadiums. One thousand unfortunate greyhounds are brought there each year from Ireland, to race their hearts out. My relations with the tracks had deteriorated because the Ministry of Agriculture sent my criticism to the directors of the tracks. The directors, particularly at Valencia and Mallorca, were furious, to such an extent that I was warned it would actually be dangerous for me to return.

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The first greyhound rescued from Spain

Masay and the Rescue from Mallorca.

An exhausted Masay, slumped in her racing kennel before the race.

In July 1991 a horrific, heartrending article appeared in a British national newspaper about Irish greyhounds exported to Spain for racing. I knew of the scandal and had been engaged in campaigning against the export for some time. The large centre picture of Masay, a red-eyed, panting, exhausted black greyhound slumped in a cage, both legs bandaged, unable to stand up even before she was due to race, tore me to pieces. I felt someone had to go to Spain, face the Spanish and - dare I even hope- find the poor bitch and bring her to England. I had all sorts of ideas as to who should go. Was it to be a vet, a priest, a greyhound trainer? I found no no-one who would go. In the meantime, I made tentative inquiries with British Airways and quarantine kennels about costs and at first it seemed all too depressing and expensive and bound up in red tape. Suddenly the miracles started to happen. British Airways offered free passage from Barcelona for three dogs worth 700; Raystede Animal Welfare Centre offered three free quarantine places worth 3000; and Willowslea Quarantine Kennels offered travel boxes valued at 300. While hardly realizing it, I personally was becoming deeply involved and reluctantly had to admit that it had to be me or no-one who would be going. I was scared out of my wits. I'd never been to Spain and spoke no Spanish.

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