Earlier in the year I was contact by a someone who had made contact with the League Against Cruel Sports in the UK, to ask if I could write to them about the plight of the galgos. As you will all know, it has been a terrible year for the Spanish hunting dogs, worse than ever, so time has been very short for me.
Natalie Osborne very kindly offered to compose a letter to send, and so I am asking you all to please print off the letter below - copy and paste it into a Word document, and then print and post - to see if the League will help to try and make a change for the galgos.
Mr J Duckworth
League Against Cruel Sports
New Sparling House
England (Insert date)
Spain has over 900,000 registered hunters. Between 50,000 – 100,000 Galgos are killed or abandoned each year at the end of the hunting season, along with thousands of Podencos, many of these on the Spanish Islands - Canaries, Balearics - as well as mainland Spain. These are the ones that are found!
Did you know that Galgos were found hanged in Murcia just over a month ago? Spanish hunters deny their involvement. It was reported to Seprona, part of the Guardia Civil who supposedly deal in animal cruelty. A week later the bodies were still there. Strung up by their necks to a branch. Toes of their back feet just touching the ground. The video was published world wide on YouTube. Hunters can't deny that! ´Good´ Galgos are hung high. ´Bad´ Galgos who did not hunt well are left with their feet tapping ´playing the piano´. A death which can take days. Yet another hanged galgo was found recently in the Province of Seville, and hunting has only just started!
Shallow graves, in which some dogs are buried alive, are being found across Spain. Many of the bodies have noose marks around their necks, others still with the nooses attached. Hunters deny they kill their Galgos this way. The dead dogs show the opposite!
What do the authorities do? Nothing! Many people believe corruption is rife through the authorities. After all, many of Seprona are hunters themselves.
Dogs found with broken limbs so not to follow their owners when they dump them; doused with acid or bleach either to blind or maim them; thrown into wells, down ravines, into deep dykes; microchips carved out of their necks; dumped on busy dual carriageways; burned alive; shot.
A law banning 'training' galgos from a moving vehicle was last year rescinded in Andalucia, again allowing hunters to train their dogs by attaching them to a moving vehicle. Podencos on the Spanish Islands are killed this way; that is if they have not been thrown alive off a cliff. These are a few examples of the atrocities in Spain and on the Spanish Islands.
More examples of barbarism in 2012. Gran Canaria, two Podencos found wandering the hot, dusty mountains with their mouths tied shut with sharp pieces of rope. El Hierro, Podencos left tied up in the sweltering heat – no food or water in sight. Hunters openly admit to throwing their ´useless´ dogs over cliffs, dragging them by cars to their deaths. They say the Vets are too expensive. Podencos rarely pass four years of age.
You can find details of these stories and photos on Galgo News http://www.galgonews.com.
For galgos and podencos dumped in killing station, they are housed for 10-21 days. Then they meet their untimely end no matter how old they are. Puppies are killed weekly. Spaniards will not adopt these breeds as pets so homes are needed to be found in other countries.
What is the situation right now? Hunting season is here again! The ´lucky ones´ rescued over the past year after being found injured and starving could yet again be plunged into this miserable existence. How, you may ask...they are in the shelters? Hunters and Gypsies break into such shelters, steal them back. They are not seen as living creatures with rights. Simply tools for what they want.
Dog diseases are endemic. Many hunters do not vaccinate their dogs. Leishmaniosis, tick fever, heartworm – fatal and all preventable. Many Galgos and Podencos rescued off the streets have one or more of these diseases. The pain and suffering continues.
Female Galgos and Podencos are bred from constantly – where is the control? March 2012 in Bullas, Murcia, 120 Galgos and Podencos were found in a compound surviving in awful conditions. Fighting and eating each other. Carcasses strewn across the floor alongside deep open graves. The owner was breeding them and selling them to hunters. The rescue was made harder as the owner denied access to the property and stole some of the dogs whilst the rescuers waited for permission from the courts to enter.
The end game...... Hunting with Galgos and Podencos needs to be banned. Spain has to step out of the dark ages with ridiculous traditions that allow them to disregard the sanctity of life. To come in line with other countries who have banned this disgusting 'sport'. In the meantime hunters need to be monitored. Their dogs should be vaccinated, microchipped and kept in sanitary conditions, not kept in damp, cramped holes, underground. Not kept on short chains. Not left without food or water. Not being thrown morsels of mouldy bread crumbs as and when the hunter can be bothered. Not being overbred. When it is not the hunting season - during the other 8 months of the year - they should keep their dogs, instead of discarding them like a piece of rubbish. They should get sufficient exercise. This is something that needs to be monitored extensively.
Why in the 21st Century do we have to fight for the basic right of an animal in a supposedly developed country?
Rescue organisations are trying to reach this conclusion. The size of the project is gigantic. Awareness on a global scale of the horrors could bring this to an end. The more people that are aware, the more pressure put on the Spanish authorities, the faster this can be stopped. The amount of hangings has reduced slightly, possibly as a result of some hunters becoming aware of the bad press it gets. It needs to be stamped out completely.
Volunteers work tirelessly all year round. Shelters are full. Money simply is not there to support them. At the end of hunting season some hunters will arrive at these facilities and demand they take their dogs. If they do not, they will kill them. The shelters to them are simply a dumping ground.
On writing this letter I have read two more shocking reports. Dead Podencos hanged alive and then shot. At the scene an officer confirmed one was pregnant and shot with a bullet cartridge, while the other two smaller dogs were killed with ammunition.
A volunteer in Cartagena, after being kept awake at night by horrendous howling and crying of dogs, went to investigate where the noise was coming from. She stumbled onto a farm and saw a concrete circular wheel with a chain around the circumference. Galgos were attached to this chain, some running, some going crazy and others trying to attack each other. She tried to take photos and had the camera knocked from her hands. An animal welfare officer stated that this area is the worst for animal cruelty. The hunters and Gypsies who do this to their Galgos are dangerous, threatening the lives of the children of the volunteers, burning their cars, poisoning the dogs in the refuges.
The League Against Cruel Sports needs to help front this campaign. So many lives already lost this year. Action is needed and fast. Laws need to be made widespread and be the same across Spain and the Islands. With your help we can make this happen. The world needs to see what is happening, until this happens. nothing will change. Together We Can bring about change.
run a letter-writing