What follows are excerpts from some of the letters we have received from refuges. For reference we include a map with the towns marked where they are situated to give you some idea of their location.
I think here we have a unique collection of letters and information from the hearts of some of the animal welfare workers from all over Spain with a conscience and an awareness of the needs of animals in their country, and who give up their time and energies for caring for and also sharing the pain and misery of the hapless animals of their land.
News from CÒRDOBA, ANDALUCÌA
It seemed a dream come true, every photo of a galgo adopted with its new family…As Anne says, the daily maintenance of a galgo per day multiplied by 300 for many days, months, totals a sum of money far above anyone’s budget, even the donations for this noble cause of finding a home for every abandoned galgo. We want to contact the Provincial, Autonomic and National Authorities to discuss with them the problem, which presents annually when the season for hunting the hare with galgos ends. Innumerable numbers of galgos are abandoned, exposed to the cold, rain and to hunger and to the most gruesome of punishments which is that of being away from its home and from the environment in which it grew. For that I ask you to send us letters from your own countries protesting about the pain and abandonment that are endured by the galgos in the hunting zones. We will prepare a Dossier and present it to the various authorities. …As President of the CNG Español we, under our banner, will bring this case to the Royal House itself. The example of the efforts and work of Anne and Pat together with all of you in Europe, America who give up so much time and money for this cause, must not be wasted so that between all of us we can make an overall effort to put our galgos in the place they deserve.
Bartolomé Ramírez Castro,
Presidente del Club Nacional del Galgo Español,
14640-Villa del Río,
Bartolomé would like you please to send a copy of your letters to him to take to the authorities and to the Royal Palace.
From LA ASOCIACIÓN PROTECTORA DE ANIMALES Y PLANTAS (PROA)
This is a desperate call for those marvellous creatures with the long backs and the sad eyes – the galgos… We are very close to Toledo and know well the miserable lives and deaths that are endured by those noble dogs in that region. Toledo has the highest concentration of galgueros (hunters) in Spain and most atrocities and scenes of cruelty come from that place. The end of January sees the end of the hunting season when those Dantesque scenes appear again………..The typical man of these lands bases all his bravery in his capacity to torture indefensible animals. There is no authority, no law, to make this a criminal offence…..Greyhounds in Need are a team throughout Europe opening doors for the galgos everywhere. Patricia in Alicante guarantees their well-being until they travel to their eventual home in the company of those marvellous English drivers who sweep them up in a few hours. This is a critical moment because we must not allow this to stop due to lack of funds. Anne has re-mortgaged her house twice and she cannot do this anymore. PROA has sent more than a 100 dogs through Anne Finch to Austria, Belgium, England, Germany etc. Let us not let them down.
Cristina García Moreno, Presidente de PROA,
Spokesperson for the Federación de las Protectoras de Madrid
From LA ASOCIACIÓN DE ANIMALES ABANDONADOS DE TORREVIEJA, ALICANTE
We are an Association attempting to promote animal welfare on the Costa Blanca……There are several ‘collections centres’ of dogs in our region, which people refer to as refuges, but they can only be described as squalid warehouses for dozens, even hundreds, of dogs. Greyhounds are used, abused and then discarded – shot, hung, burnt, poisoned, drowned or just abandoned in the countryside. Animal protection laws exist but they are not enforced. Anne and Pat and Greyhounds in Need are a light in the long, dark tunnel of animal cruelty here in Spain…We have confidence in their standards of care and rehoming. We’ve been to the refuge and were greeted by eighty smiling greyhound faces. We can all donate our time and energy, but money is essential to provide food, shelter and to pay the bills. Greyhounds in Need is life-saving work and we’re grateful for all their efforts to help ease the suffering of these wonderful dogs.
From LA ASOCIACIÓN PARA LA LIBERACIÓN Y EL BIENESTAR ANIMAL.(ALBA) MADRID
All of us are volunteers joined by the common objective to achieve respect for the rights of animals and to avoid suffering, abandonment and torture to which they are subjected in the face of our passive society…We need to find time in our working days to attend our refuge and do administrative work. Sometimes it is not easy but the sight of our animals compensates for our small sacrifices. Our main problems are lack of funds, the difficulty of finding adoptive families, the non-action of the authorities and the non-enforcement of the few existing laws to protect animals. Our ‘collection’ centre is 30 km out of Madrid and given that the plight of domestic animals is not good generally in Spain, the contrast between the capital/ tourist areas and the internal country can only be measured in light years. This zone is a galguero’s paradise with a long tradition of hunting and all the baggage that lamentably goes with it. We pick up many of those poor and magnificent animals in appalling conditions, hurt, mutilated, scared to death, hungry, cold and sometimes dead, after a horrible agony. Without Anne these animals would have no chance except to grow old in a refuge without the love and warmth of a real home. Our gratitude is difficult to express in words…..
Jutta, José, S. Valde. C. Sánchez
From RECAL. EL REFUGIO CANINO DE ALMENDRALEJO. BADAJOZ
In our town there is the municipal dog pound… To that place are taken the abandoned dogs of the city brought by their owners who don’t want them any more. Our Association has 6 volunteers who go there weekly to look after the dogs. We take them into a paddock, play with them and take those who need it to the vet. We have to buy their food, food bowls, medicines, insecticides, collars leads, etc. We advertise the dogs available for adoption to avoid having them put to sleep…. We also campaign against animal abandonment, and teach good hygiene for dog owners. This month we produced a document on responsible pet ownership and handed this to the Town Hall. The greyhounds whom we sent to [boarding kennel owner] were going to be put to sleep because here as in the rest of Spain, they are not regarded as companion animals……
Rosa María Zamora
From LA ASOCIACIÓN PARA LA DEFENSA DE LOS ANIMALES, SEGOVIA, CASTILLA Y LEÓN.
We now have 225 dogs and 25 cats. The subsidies from the council and the numbers of volunteers is not enough to carry out the daily work of cleaning, feeding and watering the dogs and many need veterinary attention. The centre is overcrowded, the conditions lamentable and the cold and humidity cause the volunteers to despair. The saddest are the hunting dogs, among them the galgos. They can fall into the hands of the untrustworthy and can be used in ‘dog fighting’. There is no awareness that they are sweet animals and perfect companions. Their black future is only surpassed by the ‘perrigalgos’(lurchers) who will die in the refuge. We had the happiness recently to have the help of Greyhounds in Need and the company and care of [boarding kennel owner] for our galgos. We see pictures of the galgos there wearing beautiful coats. This gives us peace of mind to know that in the future they are there to help and our galgos are no longer alone…
In our region in Castilla y Leon there are still fiestas in which the centre of enjoyment is the mistreatment of an animal. The politicians are afraid to apply the laws which they previously approved. We will continue fighting until we get a change.
From LA SOCIEDAD DE PROTECTORA DE ANIMALES Y PLANTES, GRANADA.
Voluntary work is hard to find and ineffective. We have 250 dogs and 40 cats. Sadly in the last year we have had to euthanase many animals because adoption has gone down 40%. This is due to anti-dog campaigns due to the reporting of recent accidents and deaths by aggressive dogs who due to ignorance and a backward culture have been fashionable and now in turn cause widespread abandonment of many other breeds who are not dangerous.
In two years we will lose this site due to future building works and we do not have an alternative site nor money to build adequate installations. We may be given some unfenced land but no kennels. Any suggestions or help would be welcomed…We receive 20-30 galgos per year. We euthanase the sick ones and send the rest to Pat… Our work with GIN is good and valuable and we like to continue it in the future.
From LA ASOCIACIÓN CACEREÑA PARA LA DEFENSA DE LOS ANIMALES, CÁCERES
This is a cold place. The rain recently left the installations and kennels in a terrible state, full of wet, and some dogs became ill… If your situation doesn’t allow, we will try to keep the galgos here. We will try to keep them, but keep going because your association is fresh air and happiness to us. The fact that all those galgos may have a second opportunity is something marvellous and unthinkable until now…
We want to sterilise all our bitches and this we will do slowly. The vet helps us by doing this at cost… The problem with the galgos is the lack of breeding control. There are no adequate laws and sanctions. When the dog doesn’t run or is ill or old it is shot or hung. We prefer that they bring the dogs to us before the barbarism is done, so with love and care we can put them to rest with an injection…
From LA ASOCIACIÓN PARA EL RESPETO Y CUIDADO DE LOS ANIMALES (ARCA) , SEVILLA
Our Association was founded in 1999 when a group of young people joined together to try to solve the problems of the abandonment of animals in our city… The refuge has 150 dogs and 80 cats and is maintained only by its membership fees and some donations. The land belongs to the Association and the food can be provided but payment for a worker to feed the dogs, clean and do maintenance has to be found. Our most urgent need is to find 500,000ptas (£2000), which the Town Hall obliges us to pay in order to build a sewage drain…
Greyhounds in our country are not valued as in the rest of Europe. They are only used for sport. Many hunters exploit them while they are useful and then abandon them and kill them cruelly. We have been in contact with Greyhounds in Need for adopting our greyhounds. We are very happy about that… And hope to continue our cooperation for a long time.
FROM LA SOCIEDAD PROTECTORA DE ALCALÁ DE HENARES, MADRID
Ours is a private charitable institution which has been declared as a public service and for educational benefit. It is financed by donations from members and supporters. It has a refuge with 150 dogs and this collection centre is managed by volunteers who began it 6 years ago. For us it is fundamental to have clear concepts about our work and not to fall into the badly understood concept of the ‘love of animals’. We must provide a dignified place for the animals who come into our refuge, and be able to offer those who may never be adopted, a deserved dignified life and a hygienic place where those who enter with physical or psychic problems can recover…
After rigorous veterinary controls, they are sterilized. This is essential to avoid the thousands of unwanted litters and subsequent putting to sleep of innumerable unwanted dogs in dog pounds arising from puppies given as presents who are passed on from one hand to another. We encourage adoption, interviewing of prospective adopters, and teaching responsible dog ownership. We encourage youngsters, even young children accompanied by parents to come to our refuge to learn how to care for and handle our dogs. We have instituted a sponsorship scheme to help maintain monthly the dogs in our care.