Yo Galgo interviewed Patricia from Galgos del Sur. The interview online is in Spanish, this is the English translation.
'To my question: What do you say when hunters tell you that you are making money giving for adoption the dogs they gave you? She answers that they consider associations like a kind of 24/7 service that immediately takes the dogs they don't want. Whenever they are told to wait, they say that then they will get rid of the dogs, give them away, or worse. In this way, the people working in shelters are pressured emotionally to keep the dogs, end up having more than they are supposed to, in a sheltered economy that is not abundant.
Each galgo normally costs around 500 euros per year, that is if they don't have any medical condition or injury. If that is the case the costs skyrocket.
As an example, Galgos del Sur spent 6000 euros trying to save the leg of a galgo that was injured. One of the main problems here is that the injuries with which the galgos enter the shelter are old and did not have treatments on time, therefore are much more expensive to deal with. But what galgueros don´t understand is the costs of a normal standard of living for a dog with all the vaccinations, the periodic deworming, the neutering, or the good food we give them.
But the image of us making money out of adoption has been encouraged by the media that supports hunting, and that is far from the truth. Galgos del Sur charges 150 euros per adoption, and all this can be found on our webpage. Patricia manifested a certain degree of bullying and bad press towards them from many hunting web pages and hunting media. But the real drama here is that animal activism does not appear, and if so marginally, on any of the main Spanish media outlets.
When Galgos del Sur started, they knew that they needed to be doing something more than just collecting galgos from hunters, which has a very dangerous side effect which is that it eases the breeding and abandonment of dogs. Galgos del Sur decided to be very active in the media, both traditional and in social media, and bring cases to court with a lawyer that started working with them last year. The strategy here is to raise awareness, and with that bring about transparency, and bring sentences that would support further fights against animal abuse.
But being an activist in smaller villages is not easy, so Galgos del Sur brings legal support to smaller organizations too.
Rescuing galgos in small villages, with small groups, is not easy. Many times the ones attempting to denounce abusers or hunters to the police face that many policemen and hunters themselves too, who try to discourage, abort or slow down the process. Most cases do not get to be tried at court so the animal welfare laws, which Patricia says are not great but exist, cannot be applied, tested, and improved.
Patricia stresses that rural life is much more than just hunting and that it is the younger generations the ones who will change this.
The process to adopt a galgo is taken very seriously here. There are questionnaires, conversations, and home visits that need to happen. The goal is to match the galgo and the family so there are no rejections. Some people realize during the process that they might not be the best family for a galgo right now, so it is important to inform them.
Galgos del Sur will not adopt if the dog does not share the home with the family. Having a galgo in certain areas is dangerous too, due to the high rate of robberies, and they will not adopt there either. Patricia talks a bit about the conditions of their adopting program, and the differences that it has with others that are a bit more strict about the ownership of the animal, the leash policy, and other aspects. I encourage you to visit their web at galgosdelsur.com and learn more.
Since covid hit adoptions have exploded. People have learned that working from home is possible and more enjoyable with an animal by your side. Since the lockdown began people have been much more curious about the galgo.
I asked Patricia about how they take care of their emotions, it is not easy to work rescuing dogs. The answer was clear. We do care for the people we work with and are always vigilant. We give ourselves time when we need it and talk about what affects us. This kind of work, which is almost always voluntary, is quite toxic. So it is important not to lose and burn those who want to help and care for this issue, otherwise, we will not be serving the cause.
Last year Galgos del Sur rescued more than 300 galgos. On average, there are two groups of ages that are abandoned the most. The first one is between 18 months and three years of age, and the second one around 8 years of age, those were the breeders.
If Patricia had to address one point towards improving the situation of galgos in Spain, that would be the numbers, the massive breeding. They're just too many dogs out there in need, and it is very difficult to do anything else if all our resources are put towards coping with so many abandoned galgos.
I hope this was useful to you.
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The interview online is in Spanish. https://www.moonleaks.org/2-podcast-galgos-del-sur/