The Galgo situation in Spain
Over the twenty+ years that GIN has been helping the galgos of Spain there have been changes. It is very hard to say accurately how many galgos are abandoned each year, figures quoted vary from ~50,000 to ~100,000, but what we all know is the figures are in the thousands not hundreds !
When we first offered help to shelters in Spain it was to cover veterinary costs. We discovered that the galgos were not automatically tested for the Mediterranean diseases endemic in Spain – Leishmaniasis, Babesiosis, Heartworm and Ehrlichiosis, nor were they sterilised. This was mostly due to lack of funds and we worked tirelessly, and still do, to raise funds to cover these costs as we could not move or home the dogs without being as sure as we could, that they were healthy and able to cope with the long transports ahead of them.
The cruel abandonment of the galgos continues and often when we are asked for help and we see photos of horrific injuries and very traumatised thin dogs, like Roma, it is hard to believe that they will ever recover and be able to be homed. Often when they are rescued and have broken limbs or open wounds they rarely attack their rescuers even though they must be in a lot of pain. They appear to have a lot of strength and seem able to survive so much and yet still have it in their big hearts to trust us humans again.
We do find now that shelters are reporting that more galgos are being handed in by their hunter owners, some still in a poor way but at least they are safe once they arrive at the shelters.
There are many groups and individuals in Spain, and in the rest of Europe, who help rescue and care for these dogs and find them homes. Galgos make wonderful pets but some have suffered so much during their hunting days that they need homes where people will have the time to help them regain their confidence and learn to trust again.
It is so rewarding when you see your new pet slowly show his/her character and start to relax in their new environment. Over the years we have adopters coming back to us for a second or third galgo. Once you’ve had a galgo you’re hooked !
Galgo adoptions in Spain have increased in some areas which is good to see. They are not really regarded as pets, they are classed as “working dogs” and sadly the animal welfare laws are seldom enforced.
Many shelters do not report cruelty cases they find as so often nothing gets done. One shelter we work with report every abandoned dog they help, rarely do the authorities take action, but each case has to be recorded so there will be a report kept on file which could be used in the future.
As well as carrying out/supporting the rescue and rehoming work, which we appreciate is at best first aid; we have tried to tackle the galgo problem at source. Our hopes are that our education programme will support the teaching of English in Spanish schools, educate the children about the plight of the galgos and change the perception people have of these dogs. The aim is to develop empathy for dogs and help make a difference to the many that are in need of loving homes, hopefully encouraging more Spanish people to adopt a galgo as a family pet.
Please continue to support our work, without the tremendous support you give to us we would not be able to do this work, a very big THANK YOU to everyone.