Or, Day of the Galgo. February 1st.
Galgos are basically Spanish greyhounds, probably partly descended from the North African greyhounds via Phoenicians and Muslims that populated and traded within the Iberian peninsula.
Due to their primary role as hunting dogs in the Spanish countryside, the Spanish Galgos are sometimes treated a little better than commodities. However, some people argue that Galgos are mistreated and abused in their native Spain. Galgueros (breeders), as they are normally called, will often select puppies from a litter that show the most propensity for hunting or racing, while abandoning the rest in the streets. The puppies that do get selected often do not live very long lives, as the galgueros often consider the dog too old to hunt once it has achieved two or three years of age-often after hunting season ends, they are either abandoned, shot, or hanged.
Some people argue? Huh? What part of being abandoned, shot or hanged is not mistreatment or abuse?
The great esteem in which the Galgo was held is visible in the many laws of the time designed to punish the killing or theft of this dog: Fuero of Salamanca (9th century); Fuero of Cuenca; Fuero of Zorita de los Canes; Fuero of Molina de Aragón (12th century); Fuero of Usagre (12th century). In the Cartuario of Slonza we can read a will written in Villacantol, in which, using an odd mixture of Latin and Spanish, the Mayor Gutiérrez bequeaths a Galgo to Diego Citid in the year 1081:
“Urso galgo colore nigro ualente caetum sólidos dae argento”;
“a black Galgo with patches of silver”;
The fact that this dog was a significant item in a noble’s will, demonstrates the great value that it was given at the time.
Things have changed somewhat. Read about Galgo abuse on the galgorescue site.
And galgo history.
Let’s look at a couple of recent news items. Hayley was abandoned, gave birth and was found with her pups. My lazy links from Susie Kelly.
And then, she was found to be poisoned as well. Does this never end?
So now, there is a huge bill facing Galgosdelsol, who rescued her.
This next source is in Spanish, but it refers to an orgy of blood when some unknown people broke into a refuge and killed three dogs and poisoned seventeen others on Friday.
Just to be clear, for people who don’t speak Spanish, they picked on a pregnant dog about to give birth, a male podenco and a female galga. They tortured them and then killed them with cement blocks.
This. Is. Disgusting. These dogs are in a refuge because they have already been abused, and they aren’t even safe there? It’s time Spain pulled its finger out of its sick abusive arse and starts to prosecute people and take animal cruelty seriously.
The Podenco Alliance and Podenco South West have organised a peaceful protest in the UK for the visit of King Felipe and Queen Letizia to meet the Queen and Prince Philip in March.
This is a delivery of postcards with photos of Spanish hunting dogs who have been given safe homes. Yes, I have submitted Snowy photos.
Given the propensity of both royal families for hunting, I am doubtful of the effect it will have, but we have to try.
Spain has estimated figures of 200,000 to 250,000 abandoned dogs a year. Or, some 16 dogs and cats an hour!
Other studies suggest a mere 100,000 and they aren’t in bad condition.
The majority of stray animals were healthy when admitted to the shelter (dogs, 68.1%; cats, 60.7%, p < 0.02)
Yeah. Right. So that makes it OK when others are on death's door?
Because this doesn't include the ones that are hung, poisoned, garroted, thrown down wells or hit over the head. Or just chucked out on the street. Academic studies: meet reality.
People in Northern Europe and North America are starting to adopt Galgos and Podencos. I think that's great. But surely there are enough dogs closer to home to adopt?
And yet, who can deny the need for homes for these beautiful galgos?
I have no answer. But Spain needs to wake up. Animals are sentient beings. Unlike the ones who poisoned Hayley or killed and poisoned the ones in the animal refuge in Seville.
Header photo courtesy of wiki.