Día del Galgo

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.

Galgos. Needing homes?
Galgos. Needing homes?

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.

A hunting dog passport, now safely homed
A hunting dog passport, now safely homed

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.

133 comments on “Día del Galgo

  1. Oh I wish I hadn’t read this. What is wrong with people? Seriously I could pull the trigger on these people with very little remorse on my part. Animal abuse is a gateway crime. Its been proven. I hate these people with a passion.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. What is it with the Spanish? It puts me off Spain. Still, we race horses, just as cruel. Most horses that don’t make it to racing quality, are abandoned or end up in the knackery. What’s wrong with us?


    • I like the coffee, the tapas, the beer, the ambience.
      But truth is as you say, every country has animal cruelty.
      Badger baiting, cock fighting, hunting with hounds to rip a fox to bits for the sake of hoorah henrys and henriettas on a jolly good ride.
      My mother was no animal rights activist. But she hated the UK Grand National. Every year some poor horse would get killed at Beecher’s Brook. Or somewhere else on the course. Why. Just why?

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Shouldn’t the EU be looking at animal cruelty, or at least be imposing legislation* on member states to protect animal rights? Do they do that at any level, and if not, why not? [Rhetorical] As doubtless you know, we have low-life [i.e. human animals] here in Britain breeding dogs purely as commodities without caring a damn for their welfare. I’ve lived on or near farms most of my adult life and have seen first-hand how some rural farmers treat their stock – using bolt cutters to remove horns from cattle so as to save vets fees is a favoured little earner. Mind you, I don’t think that comes close to matching the garrotting you cite, nor being thrown down a well – one could say it’s inhuman, though sadly the opposite is true. I have the same strength of feeling about Border Collies as you do about Podencos and these gentle, sensitive, Galgos. I know these are illogical biases, but better those than none at all. Just goes to show how far our species has come in eleven centuries. So much for Meliorism and the advance of society.

    * “In formulating and implementing the Union’s agriculture, fisheries, transport, internal market, research and technological development and space policies, the Union and the Member States shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals, while respecting the legislative or administrative provisions and customs of the Member States relating in particular to religious rites, cultural traditions and regional heritage.”

    So, as the EU clearly states, their legislation deals with “the protection of animals kept for farming purposes which gave general rules for the protection of animals of all species kept for the production of food, wool, skin or fur or for other farming purposes, including fish, reptiles or amphibians.”

    Tough shit for Border Collies and Galgos then is it? Oh, wait a minute, the EU has ruled it illegal to de-claw cats – progress!

    Liked by 5 people

    • I discern slow improvement, but it is not in terms of banning cruelty, but banning particular activities from a number of cruel options. So, hare coursing, badger baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting, hunting foxes with dogs. We don’t watch public hangings any more, either, they have been private since the 1850s, around when hanging changed to breaking the neck- quicker than strangulation, which happened before.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brazil is bad. Garbage men in our city found a dog tied to a metal pole sealed inside in a plastic bag on Christmas eve. Luckily, the guy felt that something wasn’t right and didn’t throw it in the back of the truck. Makes you wonder, though, how many aren’t so fortunate. An NGO we work with has a person who walks the train tracks regularly because people tie puppies to the tracks. I hate to think what I’d do if I found someone doing something like this.

        Liked by 3 people

        • No country is different. The UK had a serious problem of horse slashing at one point. WTF? I mean really? That is sickissimo. Lock them away. Throw away the key. And actually throw away the key for any of them.

          Make sure it’s dark :)

          Liked by 5 people

  4. Thank you Hariod. I think, myself the EU is busy looking up its own arse rather than anywhere constructive. Or maybe that is a considered constructive view?

    However, I am not breed specific. When we homed Snows, we told our vet we would take any unwanted dog. Large small young old male female.

    To say we wanted a specific breed smacked to me of uh, well, work it out. Should we judge not only people on appearances but dogs also? Hell, dog needs home, we can offer it. Solution.

    As for the rest, I’m sure you can work out my views.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I would imagine all countries have animal abuse issues. Part of it I think is perpetuated by the commodification of animals, pets in stores, puppy mills, racing industries, illegal fights… I’d guess as well that people who mistreat animals don’t have much respect for humans either. It makes me sad, and bloody angry. I’d like to say I think there should be harsher penalties than simply fines but nothing seems to be a deterrent to evil, stupidity…the prison industry is booming.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I got sick reading this. I had read somewhere else about the cruelty of dogs and cats in Spain. I could not live there. Just could not and watch what the heathens do to lesser creatures. Maybe some how some one can start a movement to change the laws. Why no spay/neuter clinics and laws to limit how many animals one can own?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry Yvonne. But, we can’t stick our heads in the sand. Or, I can’t. And I hate reading about it all too. We went for a walk last time and saw three emaciated dogs. We looked at little Snwy and wished we could do something for them. There are laws. They aren’t enforced. Refuges do try and spay/neuter. Vets come from northern Europe to do it cheaply. Doubt numbers would make any difference. It’s the mentality that needs to change.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I did not mean to imply that I would stick my head in the stand or that you should. I merely said that I could not live there and witness the animal cruelty. That includes bull fighting as well. I detest how the Mexicans continue with bull fights. Mexico, for the most part, has little regard for cats and dogs. In countries where people are so poor, nothing gets done toward education for spay and neuter. And the poor can not afford to get it done. There are answers but it will take an army of volunteers coming from other countries to make a difference. American vets go to Latin America but there are not enough to cover a vast area. I suppose the same holds true for vets coming from the north who are trying to make a difference in Spain.

        Maybe you can begin to work toward a change. Persuade ex-parts to form a group who can then work on various methods to reduce the cruelty of dogs and cats.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Apologies Yvonne. You are an advocate for animals and I certainly didn’t mean to suggest you aren’t aware of animal abuse. But others do like to close their eyes. Doesn’t make it go away. Activism makes it go away.

          It’s not even spay and neuter. We haven’t got to that. It’s a mindset that considers an animal an object. Something that fulfils its purpose until it is past its sell-by date.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. We don’t treat people much better, unfortunately. The difference is that we all have louder voices, and the potential to yell for help. I agree that education is key — and appropriate political action and funding — as well as more people standing up and speaking out against the abuse. I won’t be following those links, but I appreciate that you posted them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jesus this is horrific. I sort of wish I hadn’t read it. I can’t stand cruelty to animals or people or anyone for that matter. I only have love in my heart and stuff like this really affects me. Yes, Spain does need to pull its finger out

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oy. Sigh. There is a huge problem with dog fighting here. You and I have talked about puppy mills before. We have just had an incident with visitors to our village: a long holiday rental of an adjacent property. We saw they had a beautiful dog: a wolf it turns out. Then we saw that poor puppy, other than for walks (3x a day, but so what when you see the rest), and the odd stint in the garden when it was TETHERED, it was CRATED in the back of their RANGE ROVER in a CUSTOMISED CAGE. I kid you not. It gets worse: that was all through a HEATWAVE with temperatures of 100 F PLUS. WTF? The vehicle was just moved from shady spot to shady spot. THAT IS ALL. I know I’m shouting… Following a visit from a rep from our local care organisation (and she is NOT to be messed with, and whence our Pearli came), they were given an official warning and seemed to do a runner, but when we got home on Friday night, there they were again. I called D. Seems they’re gone. Again.

    Don’t know what happened yesterday (will find out in due course), but I do know that when D went to see them at the beginning of Jan, they tried to hide behind the fact that the animal was a wolf and therefore difficult to control. NO SHIT! I’d be difficult to control if I were caged 20 hours a day and treated like that.

    On the upside (if there is one) there have been a few successful prosecutions in this country, for animal cruelty, but our equivalent of the RSPCA doesn’t have enough teeth and the sentences are, well, pathetic.

    Sigh, again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And people wonder why abused animals have problems? Your comment says it all. Yet, we have taken in five rescue dogs, and had the most loving animals anyone could hope for. The animals are not the problem.

      I have no answers Fiona. I wish I did.


      • Nope, there are no answers. By way of an update, by the time D got across the road last Saturday, after having seen the vehicle and the hound on her way to do a clinic in the poor area, they had scarpered by mid-morning and when she was going to confront them. She’s livid. Anyhow…


        • It’s weird. Dogs in Spain have to be restrained in vehicles by law so we have a (large) dog crate. But that’s the only time any of our dogs have ever gone in a crate or been restrained in any way at all. If we ever stop en route in warm weather, they are let out, never left in the vehicle alone. We went to a barbie one evening, we walked there with Pippa, and someone else had two dogs, tied to the back of his vehicle. I thought that was bad enough :(

          Liked by 1 person

          • I sometimes think that South Africa should have a similar law restraining animals in cars, especially when I see people with dogs on their laps when they’re driving. Our MVA rate is unbelievable.

            On a completely different note, when we go to the Country Inn, two doors down for supper, Melon always follows. Pearli does, if she’s awake and/or she decides the weather’s conducive…. Guaranteed to pique the interest of visitors… :)


          • Yeah. The amount of crazy animal photos you see is unbelievable. All advice says don’t let dogs stick their heads out of car windows, what do endless photos show?
            A used to have a cat that followed him to the pub and waited for him to walk home together :) so Melon and Pearli figures.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Ah, but Pearli has been known to entertain by dancing along the bar counter, and then from lap to lap! Mercifully she’s outgrown that. Not wonderful table manners… ;)


  10. I wish I could belive it was different somewhere else; that there was some civilization somewhere who revered four-legged animals as just as valuable as two-legged ones. Then I see how little, and many big, two-legged animals are treated and realize that cruelty to animals is no respector of class or species.

    My brother has adopted a bait dog that was used in a dog-fighting operation. My own Dottie survived who knows what.

    I saw your comments regarding Michael Vick. Most people don’t know and couldn’t stomach the details of what he did. They say he’s done his time and everyone is entitled to a second chance. He went to prison for bankrolling a dog fighting operation. He pled not guilty to animal cruelty and never served a minute’s time for that crime. He did far more than bankroll a dog fighting ring. He actively participated in the abuse and murder of underperforming dogs, the details of which I’ll not go into. If he would do unspeakable acts of cruelty to dogs what would he do to a child without blinking?

    Last I heard he was operating a dog rescue as penance. I hope he has been rehabilitated and that he’s trying to make up for his evils. The fact that he’s never verbally expressed remorse and only says he ‘let it happen’ so that he’s completely detached from his actions tells a different story.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I always have difficulty reading posts like this, but awareness needs to be promoted. Use, abuse, cruelty, and neglect… all too very real. One would like to think we could progress beyond such things, but sadly that seems so far away.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Europe, but at least a long time ago, they didn’t believe in spaying and neutering. As a result, there were strays everywhere. I was mostly in Italy, and you couldn’t escape seeing cats in any location. Dogs weren’t seen as often, because they didn’t come around humans as much. I know it’s this way in South America. Very sad. It breaks my heart to hear about these things.

    Liked by 1 person

      • True. But, I’ve also heard there is a different mindset in other countries. They feel it’s wrong and/or bad karma to spay and neuter animals. I’m sure the money aspect comes into it as well.


        • Interesting. I guess the question is why do we spay/neuter animals? Or people come to that. My partner has had a vasectomy. Neutered basically. But if our dogs aren’t going to have sex, should we put them through an unnecessary operation?
          Spay and neuter is about bolting the stable door. People adopting homeless dogs aren’t going to breed them. Are they?
          A little more attention at breeders who don’t spay and neuter and earn money might not go amiss.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Education is critical, to help people understand that just because a living creature isn’t human it still deserves to be treated with dignity. But punishment is crucial, as well. All too often, those who begin by hurting animals move on to hurting people. And, I would imagine, those who are hurting animals at a young age are being hurt themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    • But why do people ignore that fact? That hurting and killing animals – and glorifying it – leads onto abusing and killing people? What part of sentient is not understood? It’s complex in some cases but in others it’s not. Let’s not pretend all animal abusers are victims of child abuse. They aren’t. They just choose to use and abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I suppose it’s the same logic that keeps folks from devoting more time and resources to rooting out true child abusers. Such a significant proportion of abused go on to abuse others that if one wants to really do something about this awful reality, society needs to stop going through the motions and get serial abusers off the streets. Serial animal abusers are no different. Find them and stop them before they harm more animals/move on to harming people.


  14. Makes you weep. And cuddle dog just a. Little bit more. I wish I knew the answer. It’s rarely going to be violence to stop violence but somewhere there needs to be a reaction. But we are an ambivalent society that permits halal killing because of the religious component. So should be be surprised if that remains legal. At every level our relationship with our planet needs to be more caring and considered when it comes to our relationship with sentient creatures.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. People are all going paranoid about racist remarks. However, the type of Englishman that hunts is part of an inferior race.. So are the Spanish who support hunting and bullfighting. They are seriously in need of being yanked out of primitive ages, preferable using ropes attached to delicate parts of their anatomies.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. What’s left to say? Horrendous. Going into a rescue like that? Spain seems to have a harsh outlook about animals, but it’s not just Spain. Molly managed to free herself from an owner that looks pretty much like a fighting dog breeder – there are strict laws now against fighting dogs/attending dog/cock fights and taking children along.(the rescue groups watch the area closely and scoop up anything loose) Molly was probably going to be a bait dog as while she can be fierce and fast, against a big square jawed pit she might not have much chance.
    There’s also a problem with some males that feel male dogs should not be neutered – a macho thing. Will we never grow up?
    You have to wonder about the dark side of mankind that batters and abuses animals. Lots of research showing that animal abuse is the first step to injuring/murdering humans.
    Snowy is doing his part! (Gorgeous picture at the top. Wish all the dogs could be caught safe)

    Liked by 1 person

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