Beatrice Monnet is one of the founder members of L'Europe des Levriers (EDL) established in August 2006 and I talked to her about how she got involved with galgos.
Beatrice Monnet (featured right): I was a volunteer with the SPA, mainly working with dogs who were considered to have no chance of rehoming. One I worked with was called Wanda and she was very traumatised by the gypsies. After six months she was fine with me, and I discovered she was a crossed galga (female galgo).
So I decided I wanted to help other galgos. I fell in love with the breed. I was very angry with the cruelty against them and I feel that fighting against the galguerros (Spanish hunters) is also fighting against barbarity in general.
Beryl Brennan: When was your first rescue?
BM: To begin with I was a volunteer with Levriers en Detresse for two years and went on many rescues with them. I also went to Madrid to do a rescue for Amigos de los Galgos and at the same time I discovered another association called Perrikus. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship with Cristina de Luna.
BB: How do you find the refuges in Spain which have galgos?
BM: I know them on the web, and the Spanish people know me from the EDL website. Unfortunately I can’t help everybody, there are too many shelters in difficulty. I try to help the ones which haven’t help from other associations in Germany or Holland.
BB: Why did you set up L'Europe des Levriers?
BM: Saving galgos is good, but for every galgo I take from Spain there are 100 more killed. Rescues are not the solution. We need to make people aware of the problem, and petition the Spanish government to make it illegal to hunt with galgos and to control their breeding. I’m also in contact with the European Commission to try and get them to introduce a law to protect pets.
BB: Where do you get your funding?
BM: Mostly from membership fees, which is not expensive, but helps a lot. Then there is the adoption fee but I give more than half of that back to the Spanish shelter, to pay for the vaccinations, microchipping, sterilization of the galgos before we bring them out of Spain. Sometimes people give a donation. Most of the time we ‘run on fresh air’!
BB: Do you have a shelter in France?
BM: No, most of the dogs are chose from our website. We have a questionnaire, a discussion on the phone, and arrange a visit to the family. If everything is ok, we bring the galgo who goes direct to his new family. Sometimes we have an emergency, so we do have some foster homes where the dogs go if they have not got a family.
BB: Do you ever get any dogs back?
BM: Only once, out of over 200 adoptions. It was a little galga who was too traumatised, so the people gave her back to me. But she was very shy, very sweet, and after a week she was quite settled.
BB: What plans have you to expand the association?
BM: I work a lot with the media, so I can raise the profile of the work I do, and I want to work with other associations, like the SPA and other foreign associations.
BB: If people want to help the association, what is the best way?
BM: There are a lot of ways. They can collect medicine like frontline, drontal, allopurinol and the collar Scalibor for the galgos who are in Spain.
They can make coats for the galgos for the winter in Spain, because some of the shelters are in the mountains.
They can sign petitions on line through our website www.adopter-levrier.com and we need more members. It would be wonderful if they could organise fundraising events too.
We desperately need a truck to bring more galgos, one weekend per month, and we need families to adopt these beautiful and loving dogs.
BB: Thank you for talking to me.