We timed our visit at the end of February to coincide with the deluge of abandoned galgos at the end of the hare coursing season – a time when Protectora y Santuario Scooby has few volunteers and much work. We were not disappointed. There were easily 350 – 400 galgos in the shelter, all had been dumped and rescued as the hunting championships closed in January.
We did the usual feeding and cleaning duties to help the small Scooby team.
Our visit not only coincided with an influx of galgos but also with the arrival of about 15 Dutch vets and vet nurses, all led by Patty and Judith who provide pro bono veterinary care to the Scooby dogs for one week each year. This meant we had to keep a constant flow of dogs going into the on-site clinic so that Patty and Judith’s team could spay and castrate as many dogs as possible. On their first day of the 7 day visit, they operated on 37 dogs. At this rate, they would handle about 250 dogs, no mean feat and very welcome!
Even though every volunteer trip is rewarding, they are never without adversity or heartache and shortly after arriving we faced sadness. As we took the bus from the train station into the town centre, we spotted a loose female galgo in a field alongside the road. We took the shelter manager back to the spot as soon as we arrived at the shelter. We observed the galgo from a distance and realised she was going into and out of a ramshackle building on private land. The manager got close to the building and could peer inside. He spotted a male galgo and puppies – they were obviously a family. He could hear other dogs in the building. Yet there was nobody on-site taking care of the dogs. We were powerless on private land but called the police and they said they would check out the situation. After asking around about an hour later, we discovered we had been on the land of a big time, aggressive galguero and were told that if we wanted to live in peace, we should never darken his doorstep again. The poor galgos and other dogs on the premises had to be left in the galguero’s hands. No doubt they will end up at Scooby later, we could only hope and pray that they do not suffer too much in the meantime.
We also heard about another female galgo loose in the surrounding countryside and that a kind lady was feeding her. Still the galgo had to be caught but the Scooby humane dog trap had broken. However, all was not lost because we while were at the shelter we learned with much gratitude that Scooby’s application for new trap from SNIP International had been successful. As we write, it is being shipped to the shelter, so fingers crossed the stray galgo will soon be safe.
To top it all we discovered that the Protectora y Santuario Scooby charity shop which the Scooby team is trying to establish was broken into during the second night of our visit and some cash was stolen from the till. It never rains but it pours!
There were many highlights with so many beautiful dogs and sweet puppies in Scooby’s care. A particular high point was that our trip preceded a transport of about 25 galgos to homes in Belgium, Germany and Holland. It was very heartwarming to see them being prepared for their road trip to loving homes. They were all residing in quarantine and on our last day, the shelter managers were busy finalising the passports and transportation papers.
This year’s Greyhound Compassion 2017 newsletter published today. Please email (email@example.com) to renew your membership and get your copy of the newsletter
This year’s magazine covers all of our news about fund-raising, policy work from Westminster and beyond, our campaign updates, as well as our report of the first global greyhound conference organised by Grey2k USA Worldwide. There are articles from overseas about Argentina, Spain and Ireland. We have a round-up about the greyhounds and galgos in the shelters we support in the UK, Ireland and Spain. There is a special feature from Darren Rigg of the Greyhound Adoption Centre in California.
Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) today to renew your membership and receive your copy of the 2017 magazine.
We are very grateful to all of our supporters for their help and donations during 2016. Our Annual Report for the financial year ending 31 August 2016 is presented below.
Greyhound Compassion works in partnership with Greyhound Rescue (Registered No.: 702522; Boston, Lincolnshire) referring suitable, potential permanent home offers for rescued greyhounds to Greyhound Rescue. Greyhound Compassion funded the following costs for Greyhound Rescue: kennel repairs and a new main door for the kennel block; veterinary fees; dog food; pet crematorium; waste disposal; oil for heating; publicity; as well as petrol expenses for the delivery of donated dog food and bedding. Greyhound Compassion also sponsors “Freya”, one of the permanent residents at the Greyhound Rescue kennels.
Greyhound Compassion continued its financial support for the galgos (Spanish greyhounds) at Protectora de Animales y Medioambiente Scooby (Registered No.: 93458; Medina del Campo, Spain). Funding has been provided to Scooby for staff costs, dog food, veterinary and kennel maintenance expenses for the galgos rescued by the shelter. Six Greyhound Compassion volunteers worked at the Scooby shelter at their own expense during the period under review. They cared for the influx of galgos at the end of the coursing season which coincided with the visit. They cleaned the kennels and external runs; did the laundry; sorted bedding materials; and launched a charity shop in aid of Scooby in Medina del Campo.
Greyhound Compassion made financial contributions to Limerick Animal Welfare (Ireland) and Dungarvan Rescue (Ireland) to cover kennelling, dog food and veterinary expenses, as well as the cost of preparing greyhounds for transport to mainland Europe to vetted homes.
If you are stuck for a Christmas gift, you might want to sponsor Pandora and Freya (greyhounds at Greyhound Rescue in Boston) and Rocio and Laura (galgos in Protectora y Sanctuario Scooby in Spain). They have joined paws to pen a Christmas message to Greyhound Compassion’s supporters.
Thank you so much for sponsoring us for the last year. Pandora and Freya have had a good year and are looking forward to the Christmas dinner mum makes for us all in the kennels (including her famous Yorkshire Puddings)! In the interests of an exchange of information in Europe and before Brexit, we are sending the recipe to Scooby before Article 50 is triggered!
We’ve kept an eye on the work that Dawn, our “kennel maid”, has been up to. She’s always on her mobile organising and arranging. We spotted her unloading quite a lot of donated dog food during the year. This came in a van when there was a big load and in volunteers’ cars when there was less. Apparently it all came from Greyhound Compassion supporters. Thank you for that. It was truly yummy and we did share with the other residents here.
Even though we can’t be easily homed because we have special needs we have seen a few of our mates skip off with some nice people to live in their homes. The sad part of this is that their kennel space is quickly filled up. Usually the new neighbours arrive on a Sunday morning after their last race on a Saturday night. I hear Dawn, on that mobile phone again, arranging their arrival during the week and then see her getting really comfy bedding ready for them, usually the duvets donated by Greyhound Compassion, along with new soft toys and full food bowl. Nice welcome, ready and waiting for them. Then on the following Sunday morning we hear the trainer arrive with the greyhound or greyhounds their racing owners no longer want. To be honest, the new arrivals love coming here and get settled on that duvet really quickly. They don’t show it but we can see it. They soon know which side their bread is buttered. Then we hear Dawn, on that mobile, talking about them, their characters and particular needs if they have any. We think she’s trying to find them an adoption family. Great for them and it frees up space for our next lot of new neighbours. It’s a never ending stream of greyhounds here, you know.
We are all toasty in the winter though, must say that. Thanks to Greyhound Compassion’s fund-raising, we’ve had our kennels repaired, a new main door to keep the draught out and oil for the heating system, so very cosy for us. Thank you.
Rocio and Laura have really appreciated your support because although we are old bones, not in the best of health with Leishmania, we are lucky to be under the care of Fermin in his house at Protectora y Sanctuario Scooby and often (always) make sure we get the warm spot on his sofa which gives us the perfect viewpoint over the rest of the shelter.
We thought we’d let you know what we’ve observed from our vantage point over the year.
Well, 321 dogs came into the Scooby shelter in January, February and March. Nearly all of these were galgos, like us, abandoned by the galgueros at the end of the hare coursing season. They just stream in day by day in the winter. Thankfully the homers in Europe could help them out. The Scooby van left the shelter nearly every Friday night in the first few weeks of the year to take galgos to new vetted homes in Italy, France, Holland, Finland, Germany and Norway. About 300 left the Scooby shelter which is great but this is all a bit disturbing for our sleep because we hear the full van driving off on a Friday and then hear the empty van returning in the early hours of Monday morning each week. It wakes us up but at least we know that these fellow galgos have found a space on someone else’s sofa. We just hope the home offers in Europe don’t dry up because the shelter is always full and more will come in after Christmas this year.
A few of our galgo mates have gone to homes in Spain. This is a big change. We heard Fermin preparing a speech for an adoption group in Boston USA and in his rehearsal he said that the “tide is turning” in Spain and we are becoming gradually accepted as pets and the young people are realising how badly we are treated by the galgueros in the coursing season and the lead up to the annual championship. The rest of the speech was a bit boring but it was interesting to know that he believes in education (hope this means he can teach himself more about abandoned puppies and stop swearing when they chew his shoelaces!) and has hope in the youngsters for bringing about change.
Being quite nosey, We do keep an eye from the sofa on what is going on in the main shelter. We had a bit of a disaster when the main water supply to the shelter broke in the summer. This was drastic because we need really need the water when it’s scorchingly hot and dry. That was soon mended, thankfully. The biggest commotion started in September when we saw builders arriving with their diggers. Took a day or two to work out what was going on, then we heard Fermin on the phone to Greyhound Compassion confirming that the work had started to convert patios 3 and 4 (the biggest in the shelter) into segregated kennels with runs and better insulation. Apparently Greyhound Compassion and “the French” are paying for these works. That’s a huge relief because this is the oldest part of the shelter and in the biggest need of repair. We know the rescued galgos living here will really appreciate this. We’re trying to get a better view of what the decor inside looks like but without leaving any nose marks on the window, don’t want Fermin to know that we’re supervising him and spending most of our time on the sofa!
Well, thanks again for taking care of all of us. We each have our own special needs. Pandora and her kennel mate, Apollo, have been doing some training to see if they someday can be re-homed together, though it will take a special couple as they are very strong and need understanding and very good handlers. Freya is the main sponsor dog at Greyhound Rescue as she will never be re-homed. She cannot face the outside world because of the abuse she suffered in her racing days. But thanks to her sponsors, she feels so safe and well cared for that she can live a happy and healthy life with no more suffering and not a care in the world. She can just be happy and sing along to the radio all day (Magic, of course) and play out with her toys! Laura and Rocio are both elderly galgos suffering from the parasitical disease, Leishmania, which is kept under control with medication. Both commandeer the sofa in Fermin’s house at the Scooby shelter and banish the other rescues to their own beds on the floor!
We’ve just returned from a volunteer visit to Protectora y Santuario Scooby in Medina del Campo, Spain. They sure need funds to continue rescuing so many abandoned and neglected galgos, especially knowing that the annual “galgo dump” will start again in January after the national coursing championship.
We are always struck by the way Scooby punches above its weight but it hit home very hard. So many galgos in a shelter which makes every Euro stretch but there is still never enough money. It’s quite amazing how Protectora y Sanctuario Scooby responds to calls to rescue abandoned galgos from places as far flung as Murcia (4 – 6 hours away by road) and is non-selective about the waifs and strays they pick up, assessing their condition once back at Protectora y Sanctuario Scooby.
We spent a lot of time with so many needy galgos who would otherwise not have any interest in them apart from the close-knit Scooby team itself. Many nervy, injured, neglected and abused galgos were in need of lots of tender loving care. In particular, Zuki captured our hearts. She is a slight galgo who has suffered from a parasitic problem which has resulted in the loss of the toes on her back feet. Poor girl can stand on her knuckles, providing her feet are “booted”. Protectora y Sanctuario Scooby is trying everything to find a prosthetics expert who could help her mobility. She is in a kennel with a lovely male galgo who protects her like a big brother.
We met poor Bolero, now adopted by Miriam who is volunteering permanently at the shelter. Bolero, a fine and majestic galgo, had been branded on his hind quarters with battery acid. We have seen this before on other galgos picked up in the streets.
The galgueros sometimes brand their galgos as a mark of ownership and identification. Bolero’s increased confidence and affection, thanks to Miriam, are striking. Such a lucky boy now.
We tried to make our visit as productive as possible for the galgos. Protectora y Santuario Scooby is starting some renovations in a couple of the galgo paddocks. We prepared the area for the work to start. We also did the usual and important cleaning of galgo kennels, the recovery room and the Oldies’ Garden. Some of the newly rescued puppies had to be moved to different pens (what little lumps, they were!). We cleaned the ambulance out. A bitter sweet job but thankfully it’s working well out on the road. We washed out a number of extra plastic beds ready for use in the winter with extra duvets.
Our other jobs included chores the core team, because they are so few, doesn’t usually have time to do: routine tidying of the bedding store and a litter pick-up on the approach to Protectora y Sanctuario Scooby.
We spring cleaned the volunteers’ dormitory and sorted the bedding offered to the volunteers. It goes without saying that the bedding no longer useful in the dorm was quickly donated to the galgos. We found a couple of surplus sofas and transferred those to the oldies’ little house so that they could replace their worn furniture with new luxurious settees for their geriatric bones. We also gave the dorm a lick of paint and a freshen up on the external walls.
A crucial step in Protectora y Sanctuario Scooby’s long-term fund-raising plan, albeit just the beginning, is the shelter’s charity shop in Medina del Campo. We displayed the autumn collection of bargain, nearly new clothes for ladies, gents and children as best we could in the hope this idea catches on in Medina. The conditions are right: the legacy of a financial crisis and many local shops closing. But we have to keep our fingers crossed and hope the concept of a charity shop takes hold in the way they are so popular at home.
On 15 May 2016 Greyhound Compassion and 24 fellow galgo advocate organisations wrote to His Majesty the King Felipe VI imploring him to withdraw his support for El Campeonato de Espana de Galgos en Campo Copa Su Majestad El Rey (the King’s Cup for the annual galgo coursing championship in Spain).
We did not receive a reply to our letter (text below). Please therefore sign our petition to urge the King to withdraw his royal association with El Campeonato de Espana de Galgos en Campo Copa Su Majestad El Rey.
His Majesty the King Felipe VI
c/o The Head of the Household
Mr. Jaime Alfonsín Alfonso
Palacio de La Zarzuela
Carretera del Pardo s/n
28071 Madrid, Spain
Your Majesty the King Felipe VI,
We write to you not only as the King of the Kingdom of Spain but also in your capacity as UN Eminent Person to draw to your attention to the good works of an animal shelter we work with in Medina del Campo, Protectora de Animales y Medioambiente, Scooby (Scooby). Scooby, the largest animal shelter in Spain, houses many abandoned animals but in particular, hundreds of Spanish galgos. Greyhound Compassion raises funds in the UK for the galgos in Scooby’s care. We are also part of an international network of volunteers supporting Scooby spanning: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, UK, USA. Together we raise funds for the shelter and volunteer on site to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome the galgos taken in by the Scooby shelter. Together we have been doing this volunteer work for the last 25 years.
As you are probably aware, thousands of galgos are bred annually to try to produce the champion for El Campeonato de Espana de Galgos en Campo Copa Su Majestad El Rey. Hare coursing is not a sport, rather it is a cruel practice for the galgos and the hares. Thousands of galgos are either abandoned, taken to shelters or perreras, or worse, killed inhumanely when the coursing season is over and the dogs are no longer useful for the galgueros. You may have read prior press coverage about galgo hangings in the pine groves or their abandonment in dry wells in the Spanish countryside. One discarded galgo Scooby rescued from one of these wells was saved because her fall was so well cushioned by the corpses at the foot of the well. The Scooby shelter in Medina del Campo will certainly not put its head above the parapet to raise this issue because they cannot jeopardise their relationship with the galgueros from whom they rescue the galgos, hence our letter to you.
We are struck that as the King of the Kingdom of Spain your regal office is linked inextricably to the annual championship through the Copa Su Majestad El Rey, an annual championship which conceals widespread unscrupulous breeding, exploitation, neglect, injury and death. In addition, we appeal to you as the UN Eminent Person, who makes contributions internationally towards enhancing the importance of voluntary work, to consider the fact that the small shelter in Medina del Campo is supported by an international network of volunteers who are dedicating their free time to clean up a Spanish problem occurring under your reign. The international spotlight is very much on this issue as the diversity of volunteers supporting Scooby is constantly growing throughout our home countries. The galgos rehomed abroad are visible at fund-raising events in these countries and word of mouth spreads literally and via social media.
We appeal to you to withdraw your association with El Campeonato de Espana de Galgos en Campo as a result of the Copa Su Majestad El Rey. This would certainly be more befitting of your reign over a modern society in the twenty first century.
Galgos del Fenix (Finland)
L’Appel de Levriers (France)
Dierenopvang Koningen (The Netherlands)
Greyhound Friends (The Netherlands)
SOS Levriers (France)
Greyhounds In Nood Nederland
Liaison Levriers (France)
Scooby North America & Canada
Hrtjisvet Slovenije (Slovenia)
Une Histoire de Galgos (France)
Galgos Greyhounds and More (Switzerland)
Makrina Diakaki (Scooby Australia)
One hundred and twenty races later, aged 5, Magic takes up his position as “fund-raiser” extraordinaire for the greyhounds and galgos in rescue.
Having escaped his racing commitments in March of this year, Magic commenced his career on the sofa, interspersed with the odd fund-raising and awareness engagement, in April. At his first few outings to flag days, he was more reticent and leant firmly into his owner, so firmly that he buckled our legs into right angles! Eventually he gained confidence with children, then Vicki came along and he kissed her.
Then taking up his Sphinx pose, his public came to him and he became so receptive and loving towards them. Now he’s gradually becoming the PR agent for the less fortunate greyhounds and galgos in rescue. We are hoping to boost our funds for Limerick and Dungarvan for the poor greyhounds picked up from the pounds or the streets having been cast out by their racing owners.
We are channelling as much support as we can afford to Greyhound Rescue in Lincolnshire, the welfare team which saved Magic, so that they can keep up their ongoing care and attention for their greyhounds, the pensioners as well as those waiting for loving homes.
As usual Scooby is overflowing with galgos. A call came in on Thursday asking the shelter to rescue 16 galgos and 5 three month old galgo puppies, so 21 galgos alone in one week. This is just the tip of the galgo iceberg and Scooby is trying to conquer the welfare and rehabilitation demands with next to no funds. Oh, and the water pump in the shelter broke yesterday, that’s another repair bill in the €4k ballpark.
So Magnetic Magic, you’d better exert your powers of attraction and boost the fund-raising so that we can meet all of these live rescue needs, while you put your feet up.
Last Saturday St. Paul’s Walden Parish Council kindly hosted Greyhound Compassion’s fun dog show. We were lucky to have Joanne Young, MD of Quadrant Pet Supplies as our judge doing the toughest job of the day!
Joanne did a fantastic job giving profile to the all of the dogs in the “Best Rescue” class. There were some heart rending-stories. At the same time, the Greyhound Compassion volunteers manning the tomobola and sales tables were working hard to boost the charity’s fundraising efforts and raise awareness about the plight of the greyhound.
Meanwhile, John Sweeney (@johnsweeneyroar) was in the ring with his whippet poodle cross, Bertie, and posts his observations below:
One million years ago when our caveman ancestor came across an orphaned wolf-cub, he thought the little ball of fur might, when he grew up to be all fangs and steely muscles, help him hunt and protect the family. But then – and I wasn’t there, this is a guess – the cavewoman suggested that the little dog might make every one laugh too. The amazing ability of dogs to make people do silly things came to the fore the other day when Greyhound Compassion staged a dog show at Whitwell village fete. After too much grim news around the world, it proved quite impossible to keep a straight face as silly owners and daft dogs brought out their best in each other.
Best in show without a doubt was the winners of the ‘Dog Most Like Owner’ category. The winner was a chap with a startled air about him and crazy grey eyebrows who owned a Schnauzer, who had a startled air about him and crazy grey eyebrows. You looked from dog to man and man to dog and they were identical twins.
Other categories that generated fun were the dog with the waggiest tail – won by a gorgeous mutt whose tail gave a very good impression of a demented windscreen wiper in a rainstorm. ‘Best Six Legs’ was won by a splendid husky and boy owner.
Judge Joanne Young had a very tough time of it but she did show wonderful discernment, extraordinary insight and compelling intellect when she chose Prince Bertie to be the winner of the Fancy Dress category.
(Biased me? How dare you.) The Black Prince saw off strong competition from King Louis led by Ruth Grylls – or was it the other way round? There was also a French bulldog dressed up as an English football hooligan: so many category mistakes in that entry but it made people smile.
The dogs had fun and, obediently, their owners wagged their tails and all of it helped neglected greyhounds get a bit of love”.
Ireland has exported 9 greyhounds to China to race at Macau greyhound racetrack in the last couple of months. Please sign Grey2KUSA Worldwide’s petition to stop the exports. The petition needs about 2,000 signatures to take it to 150,000.
We were really disheartened to receive an appeal about the same issue from ARAN last week. ARAN has called for all greyhound advocates to press the Irish Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, to act swiftly to ensure legislation is brought in that makes it actually illegal to transport any more greyhounds to China.
Three greyhounds registered with the Irish Greyhound Board were exported to Hong Kong for onward transportation to the greyhound racetrack in Macau in March. Then, this month a further 6 Irish greyhounds were exported to China for the Macau track. Here is a video of the poor hounds in transit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psePPAqtgF0&feature=youtu.be
This fills the vacuum left by the Australian exports when Qantas and Cathay Pacific refused to carry Australian greyhounds destined to race in Macau and resurrects the attempt from Ireland to export greyhounds to China in 2011/12. At that time the Irish Department of Agriculture prevented racing dog exports to Asian countries because the plan offered by the Irish Greyhound Board did not provide sufficient assurance that adequate provision would be made to safeguard the health and welfare of greyhounds in China at the end of their racing life. Grey2KUSAWorldwide’s research shows that no greyhound leaves the Macau track alive and there is no adoption programme.
Please take action:
Stop the Irish greyhounds being sent to China !!! #racedtodeath @DanMulhall @IrelandEmbGB
Last week a group of Greyhound Compassion volunteers spent a few days at the Scooby shelter to help the Scooby team.
The intake of galgos peaks in the first three months of the year as the galgueros discard their galgos at the end of the annual coursing season. The shelter was full to the brim because an average of 40 galgos a week had been rescued in the first two months of this year.
We set to work on cleaning up in the paddocks and kennels, not to mention the odd cuddle for a rescued puppy along the way and sensitive touch for the nervous galgos pressing themselves into the kennel wall because they couldn’t yet face human interaction.
There were the usual piles of laundry of bedding and towels which the Pam and Ruth gradually worked through. The bedding, coat and towel store had become a jumbled mountain in recent weeks making it impossible for the Scooby workers to find towels and blankets quickly. We established a human chain gang sorting the mound into accessible piles on the available shelving.
Naturally we fell in love with many of the residents whose appealing eyes became completely
irresistible. To name just a couple of the many, Amelio was so sweet and endearing and Austin gently welcomed us into his pen each day. Numerous galgos were seen to be embracing Olivia, one of the volunteers, as she cuddled them in between cleaning. They were simply hanging from her shoulders and gently nuzzling her ear.
We had a charity first for Medina del Campo where Scooby is located. Scooby has been given the use of an empty shop for a small rent and one of our volunteers, Ellie, converted it into the town’s first every charity shop. She spent the first few days sorting the existing stock and making space for donated goods sent for sale. By the end of our stay, the Scooby sign was over the door and the shop had a doggie corner, bric a brac shelves, baskets of goodies for children and a space cleared for donated fashion items.
This is a ground-breaking initiative for Medina and we hope it will be a success but we’ll have to wait and see. If it works, this could be a good source of income for the rescued animals at Scooby. The first few steps bode well. Before Ellie left on the last morning, she had a few customers who had come in with their dogs adopted from Scooby, a galgo among them, to do some shopping and promising to spread the word amongst their friends. Let’s hope they’ll be keen to bag a bargain for a good cause!