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!
The highly anticipated Commons Select Committee report on Greyhound Welfare has been published following a five-month inquiry.
The report, produced by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committe (EFRA), says bookmakers must contribute more and should not “prioritise profit over high welfare standards”.
Neil Parish MP, committee chair, said: “All racing greyhounds should enjoy high welfare standards both during their racing career and retirement. Bookmakers who profit from greyhound racing should contribute to welfare standards regardless of whether the profits are from high-street stores, online or overseas betting.
“The welfare of racing greyhounds shouldn’t be at the whim of bookmakers who can simply choose to contribute or not. The Government should consider introducing a statutory levy or an alternative betting rights model to protect animal welfare.”
EFRA also recommended changes to the 2010 Regulations so that welfare data related to injury, euthanasia and rehoming numbers is recorded and published.
The report finds that the lack of publicly available data on injuries sustained by racing dogs makes it difficult to judge the current level of welfare provision. Legislation introduced in 2010 requires the industry to keep data relating to injury but it is not required to publish it.
So far all records have been closely guarded in spite of clear demand among charities, trainers and veterinarians for greater transparency within the industry. MPs highlight that the lack of transparency sustains the suspicions of critics.
Simon Hart MP said: “Defra should amend the 2010 regulations to make the publication of welfare data mandatory in order to help the industry challenge external criticism, and show that all efforts are being made to avoid preventable deaths.”
One major concern is the number of healthy dogs potentially being destroyed due to oversupply. This was brought into sharp focus in 2006 when The Sunday Times revealed that healthy greyhounds were being systematically killed and dumped in “canine killing fields”.
During this latest inquiry, MPs found that there is still a significant lack of information concerning the fate of greyhounds surplus to racing requirements. The committee calls for greater transparency about the destiny of racing dogs and that rehoming data is made available.
“We simply do not know what is happening to all greyhounds after they finish racing,” stated Jim Fitzpatrick MP. “If the destruction of healthy dogs is happening on a large scale it is clear that the industry should bear a greater financial responsibility for funding rehomed greyhounds.
“We want to see that all efforts are being made to rehome these animals at the end of their racing lives.”
The committee says that the 2010 Regulations should extend beyond the race track to include trainers’ kennels, which could be independently scrutinised by a suitably authorised body.
The regulations introduced in 2010 have brought the same minimum standards to all racing tracks, but 95% of a dog’s racing life will be spent in private kennels. At the time, it was clear to animal welfare organisations, including Greyhound Compassion, that the Regulations would be ineffectual.
As part of the government’s five-year review, Greyhound Compassion believes EFRA’s report is a significant milestone on the road to improving greyhound welfare in the UK.
The report states that within the five years since the introduction of the 2010 Regulations, there is little evidence of the industry going further than necessary to drive up welfare standards.
Greyhound Compassion welcomes the commitee’s proposals which push for the need for greater transparency, improved welfare and an extension of responsibility to trainers’ kennels. It acknowledges the problem of over-supply of greyhounds. The surplus of greyhounds is not confined to after racing, we know that something also has to be done to protect the “saplings” which don’t make the racing grade.
The report also rightly raises concerns about the financing of higher welfare standards and makes clear the responsibilities of the bookmaking industry, whether they operate on the high street or online.
It remains to be seen whether or not the industry as a whole will implement the committee’s proposals during the recommended two-year probationary period of self-regulation. If self-regulation is to work, all sections of the industry, including bookmakers, must now take responsibility for, and play a shared role in, driving up the welfare of all greyhounds.
We look forward to the next steps.
We are making progress even though it’s uphill at times.
You may have seen the pictures on Facebook last weekend of the Spanish people out on the streets with galgos in several cities marching in protest and campaigning for end to hunting with galgos and other breeds. This is a sea change. In addition, Scooby rescued 87 dogs last Tuesday and 60 were galgos. It is so much better that the dogs can come into Scooby rather than meet a cruel end in the hands of the hunters.
The racing industry here continues its demise, although not yet dead. Coventry flapping track has closed. Ladbroke and Coral are merging and monopoly rules mean they will have to sell at least one track. Unlikely that this will remain a going concern as a racetrack. Hall Green track is also being sold and will go to building. PLUS! The trainers are complaining about the Greyhound Board of Great Britain and are calling for a forensic accountant to go over their books. They were demonstrating the week before last outside the GBGB HQ in London calling for improved greyhound welfare, better procurement practices and an investigation of their accounting. Here is the video of the demo. It does contain some strong, inappropriate language (from one of the GBGB Directors and the Chairman of the Racecourse Promoters). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wH-6LVzpGA&feature=youtu.be&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D1wH-6LVzpGA%26feature%3Dyoutu.be&has_verified=1
We await the outcome of the EFRA Select Committee into the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations. This should be in April/May.
In Ireland, the Irish Greyhound Board seems to be carrying out more thorough doping tests. This week a champion greyhound trainer’s greyhound has tested positive and we wait to see the outcome of that investigation.
So it’s not over until the fat lady sings but she’s tuning up! Thanks to all of our supporters for your help. The financial donations we have been able to make to our shelters have given them more of a voice as well as rehoming their rescued dogs.
Today marked an amazing turning point in animal welfare in Spain. Thousands of people marched in cities throughout Spain to call for a ban on hunting with galgos and other breeds of dog.
The power of public opinion about hunting with galgos was very visible in many cities in Spain today. Thousands of people took to the streets in cities across the country. They marched with their galgos and other dogs through Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and Malaga to name but a few, calling for a ban on hunting with galgos and other breeds.
There was a time about 20 years ago when we wanted to do a Meet & Greet with the Scooby galgos in the main square in Medina del Campo but such was the opposition and the threat to their safety that we could not attempt it. The dogs were considered vermin by the locals and often chased away because they were considered the lowest of the low. Imagine our pleasure today to see hundreds of these noble galgos out on the streets leading the demand for a ban to hunting with dogs.
Fermin of Scooby organised the demonstration in Salamanca and took 6 hunting dogs rescued by the Scooby shelter with him. He was accompanied by Rocio, a galgo (one of our galgos available for sponsorship) a podenco, a pointer and a bracco.
This strength of feeling must have made an impression with the Spanish authorities. This has to be the beginning of the end.
Two critical initiatives are live right now and Greyhound Compassion supporters have a role to play in one of them before the end of the year…..
DEFRA is conducting a five year review of the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations (introduced in 2010). We are encouraging our supporters to respond to its public consultation before the deadline of 31 December 2015. The League Against Cruel Sports has published an excellent factsheet which will help you complete the consultation questions.
Whilst we believe that greyhound racing has no place in a modern society, the Government has stated clearly that it does not consider greyhound racing to be cruel and it will not countenance a ban. We must therefore lobby for significant welfare improvements to safeguard the greyhounds. Please do participate in the Government’s consultation before the end of the year.
In parallel the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee has established a sub-committee to conduct a short inquiry into the welfare of racing greyhounds. This is a Commons Select Committee. The first hearing with animal welfare charities will take place this coming Tuesday in Westminster.
The sub-committee called for written evidence in the autumn. We were asked to focus on the following in our submissions:
You can view all of the submissions to the inquiry, including Greyhound Compassion’s here.
The sub-committee’s findings will be reported to the EFRA Committee and will contribute to the DEFRA consultation.
We were so disappointed when the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations were introduced in 2010. It was evident then that they would be ineffectual. We’ve waited for this second chance to see some change for the racing greyhounds. Please do complete the consultation. This is a unique opportunity.
We have decided to launch a Sponsor A Hound Scheme to raise some funds for a five of greyhounds and galgos because they cannot be re-homed and will need special care or on-going medical treatment.
Laura and Rocio are Spanish galgos living at Scooby, Medina. Freya, Pandora and Apollo are greyhounds in the shelter in Lincolnshire.
If you are stuck for what to buy for your friends and family for Christmas, why not sponsor Rocio, Apollo, Freya, Laura or Pandora for them? They are all loving and deserving dogs. Rocio and Laura sadly suffer from the parasitical disease Leishmaniasis, Freya is too frightened to settle in a home and is dearly loved by her carers in the rescue, Pandora and Apollo are the best of mates, both big and strong and don’t want to be separated.
Rocio shares the sofa with Laura in the conservatory cum sun lounge of the Scooby manager’s bungalow at the shelter. Rocio was very frightened and fragile when rescued. She is quite slight and was very skinny when she first came to Scooby. Like Laura, Rocio has Leishmaniasis but her blood tests are good. Both Laura and Rocio have become the manager’s shadow.
Laura is an elderly lady who was rescued from a galgo collector in 2007. She lives in comfort at the Scooby shelter in the manager’s bungalow. She sadly suffers from Leishmaniasis nowadays and has lost the sight in one eye. But this does not stop her competing for the sofa with Rocio!
Freya was rescued from greyhound racing in the UK. She suffered a terrible trauma which means she cannot be rehomed from the Lincolnshire shelter. She now lives a life of luxury and has come to trust her carers at the shelter. She plays happily with them but cannot face the rest of the world.
Pandora is a lovely girl who has been in rescue for a few years. She is extremely strong. Pandora is
a pretty girl who enjoys her food but likes a kiss on the head before eating! If you forget to kiss her, then you will find she forgets to eat! She needs someone very experienced to take on such a strong girl. She feels safe in the kennels and needs to be rehomed with her kennel mate, Apollo, who is even bigger. It is taking some finding but it would be too much for both of them to split them up.
Apollo is a blue and white brindle. He came into rescue with Pandora and he is very sweet and loving, though very strong to walk. Again, he also loves his food but Apollo being a boy is swayed by treats. Even though he is such a big lad he relies on Pandora. They have their own beds but often share one! He loves a cuddle!
You can sponsor one of them for just £2 per month or an annual payment of £24. You or the recipient of your gift adoption will receive a certificate an annual update on their progress, plus a couple of little surprises during the year.
We often mention the work of Scooby’s vets and the associated costs which are necessary for the care of all of the animals in the shelter. But now, we’re appealing to you in case you can help with the food costs for the galgos.
Scooby is sometimes lucky enough to benefit from generous donations of dried or tinned food but unfortunately this is not enough to meet all of the shelter’s needs. This is why they regularly have to order vans full (tonnes!) of food – usually dried food.
Even considering that a very small part of the order is not always invoiced either because the sack is damaged or the ‘use by’ date is approaching, the due date for the rest of the invoice always arrives…too quickly!
And Scooby’s cashflow means that they cannot always pay the food bills as punctually as they would like. This has been the case recently and explains why the shelter’s debt to the food supplier has been increasing and now stands at more than €11,000. This amount is for all of the dogs and cats in the shelter, not just the galgos and it is for the first 6 months of the year. Dog food costs for the galgos amounts to about €6,600 for Jan – June 2015.
Greyhound Compassion’s was lucky enough to receive a donation of £1,000 earlier this month from a UK shelter which is closing down. Plus our October jumble sale as well as our table at the Vintage & Retro Table Top Sale raised £520. We will pass this combined donation on to Scooby to go towards the food bill. Obviously Scooby would like to pay this debt as quickly as possible, so if you can donate even a small amount towards the bill, we’d be very grateful.
Thank you in advance for your help.