This is a story of truth, mystery, accusations,lies, assassination...
In order to carry out further research for my current book, I recently visited Murcia to meet some of the people involved in animal rescue there. It’s an area to which many British people have moved, attracted by the good weather amongst other things. What many of them did not realise was the extent of animal cruelty and abandonment there, behind the glitz of the beaches and hotels.
Some could not turn a blind and eye and have become very involved in rescuing the abandoned and maltreated dogs and cats – and sometimes horses and donkeys - caring for them, finding forever homes for them – often outside of Spain. Others concentrate more on educating people that animal cruelty in any form is unacceptable and looking at legal ways to protect animals. Hence the reason for my visit there.
I don’t know the area atall. We flew into Alicante once many years ago and drove straight out down to Mojacar where we stayed with friends. So outside the airport I relied on friends who live in Murcia who had kindly offered to drive me about. I hadn’t realised the distance between the two friends with whom I was to stay, so when I moved from one to the other a pick-up point was organised roughly midway so I could be ‘handed over’, so to speak. To me it was all a blur of traffic and concrete buildings as I absorbed the sprawl of the city of Alicante. ‘All this was fields when we first moved here’, one of my chauffeurs told me.
So you can appreciate that when we diverted to call into a supermarket to pick up provisions, I was still unaware of the area we were passing through. Add to that it’s not the area my friend usually shops in either. We passed through a large commercial zone and I did what I usually do, looked around at the shops and offices and advertising hoardings...one of which I recognised from a photo on the Internet I had seen a year or two before – which I had published on Galgo News. I was surprised because I thought it had been reported stolen. (I have subsequently learnt that it could have been San Javier, of which I have advised the association if they want to go and look.)
I stopped off in the UK en route back to France, spending a couple of quiet days writing up my research notes whilst everything was fresh in my mind. Returning home, I wrote about my visit and also gave a mention to having seen the advertising hoarding – billboard as I am now told it is called – and thought no more about it. Little did I know of the can of serpents I was about to open!
I’m always informed when a comment has been posted on Galgo News and Podenco Post so I was surprised to read one advising me I could not possibly have seen this billboard! Now, they’re pretty big things and this one had few words and a picture of a galgo – so the picture stayed in my mind. Add to that, two of us had seen it, at the same time. But no, more comments came in that I could not possibly have seen it.
I like to hear from my readers, many of their comments contain extra information to add to the post. But I do not tolerate comments which personally attack someone – whoever they are directed at – in this case me. On the very rare occasions this has happened, I unpublish the post as I did with this one. I don’t take kindly to being called a liar.
So far we have now covered truth and mystery – the association claims the billboard could not possibly have been there. So, as two of us saw it, the question which should be asked is – who put the billboard there? Possible copyright issues? A natural progression by the association, one would think. Not my problem.
As I always do, I moved on – too many appeals for help coming in, some rehoming stories to prepare to publish, the court case of the hung galgos in Toledo to follow.
My next surprise came when Paypal advised me of the receipt into my account of a sum of large money. Many years ago I had donated the same amount towards the construction of some kennels to be used for rescued galgos. As I had not requested the return of this money – it had been put to the use for which it was sent – I returned it. It was, after all, for the dogs.
I was further surprised when friends advised me that I was then being accused – on the facebook page of the association - of demanding the return of the money and trying to close the association down! I thought ‘All this because I said I saw a billboard?’
So now we have the accusations and the lies.
This is the second time this year this association has attacked me in this way – I call it Beryl bashing’. I’ve reported it to facebook as many of the comments are defamatory by people who do not know me and have not visited my weblogs to read the material there. Blinkered people who fire the bullets after the gun has been pointed.
So now we reach the assassination – character assassination – mine.
I am unable to defend myself because I am blocked from so doing. Yet, do I really want to? These people will follow blindly wherever the gun is pointing. It’s already been turned on someone else...
I’ve received many lovely messages from friends, some of whom have suffered the same abuse in the past from the same source. I question of the association what all this has to do with the plight of the galgos and podencos in Spain? I also question if this is not also because I did not visit the association whilst in Murcia? But then, there's only so many people you can visit in 4 days!
And I also question the money sent to me which I returned in total. This is money donated by people for the care and rehoming of rescued galgos and podencos. Would you donate, knowing the money is not necessarily used as you intend? Is this a case of misappropriation of funds?
There we have it, folks. To repeat myself, 'This is a story of truth, mystery, accusations,lies, assassination'
As I have said before, those of you who do not have a facebook page nor wish to have one, you are very wise. I only use my facebook pages to share information and appeals about the galgos and podencos. In the wrong hands it is evil – as illustrated by the bullying against vulnerable teenagers, some of who are driven to commit suicide - and to destroy reputations.
I’m at an age now where I pity people who act in this way, that they do not have a better purpose in their lives. I'm having a good chuckle at the latest brickbat to be thrown at me – mild in comparison with that which has gone before. ‘That crazy woman’, a mantle I'm happy to don if it means helping continue making a difference to the lives of the galgos and podencos of Spain.
Give me dogs any day!