Commercial greyhound racing exists in eight countries at nearly 150 tracks worldwide. First invented in the United States, commercial racing is typically characterized by a regulating authority, state-sanctioned gambling, an industrialized breeding apparatus, a greyhound tattoo identification system, organized kennel operations, and a network of racetracks.
Dog racing is currently legal in the United States, Australia, China (in the Special Administrative Region of Macau), Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.Even within these jurisdictions, commercial racing has been outlawed in many states, most recently Arizona in the USA.
Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane
Each year, the greyhound industry worldwide breeds at least 8,000 greyhound litters for the sole purpose of gambling.This amounts to a minimum of 48,000 greyhound pups per year, including the thousands who never get named and are omitted from industry record keeping.
Though not every jurisdiction functions identically, racing greyhounds are subject to practices that are cruel and inhumane: lives of confinement, serious racing injuries, and the threat of “culling” at every stage of life.
Tens of thousands of dogs are bred for this cruel industry
The majority of racing greyhounds are bred in Ireland, Australia, and the United States, respectively. Each jurisdiction breeds thousands of greyhounds per year and supplies secondary jurisdictions with thousands of dogs as well.
Ireland reported 2,736 litters in 2013. Using the conservative estimate of six pups per litter, the industry bred approximately 16,416 greyhounds that year. In 2013, 15,576 were registered to race, both for commercial racing and hare coursing.Of these, 9,373 greyhounds remained in Ireland, and 6,203 were exported to race in the United Kingdom. Additionally, older racing greyhounds have been known to be exported to Argentina, Macau, Pakistan, and Spain — all countries where dogs are routinely killed and discarded.
Australia reported 3,006 litters in 2015. Using the conservative estimate of six pups per litter, the industry bred approximately 18,036 greyhounds that year. In 2015, only 11,732 were registered to race, a discrepancy of 6,304 dogs. Australia regularly exports greyhounds to New Zealand, having exported 813 greyhounds between 2009 and 2012. In addition, it is estimated that since 2011, Australian trainers have also exported over 1,700 dogs to mainland China, Macau, and Vietnam, jurisdictions with no animal welfare laws in place.
The United States reported 1,870 litters in 2015. Again using the conservative estimate of six pups per litter, the industry bred approximately 11,220 greyhounds in that year. In 2015, 10,422 were registered to race. The US exports both young and old dogs to Mexico, where they race at the Agua Caliente race track, often every other day, an unusually high rate by industry averages.
Greyhounds endure lives of confinement
The vast majority of commercial racing greyhounds endure lives of terrible confinement. Dogs live in warehouse-style kennels, side by side, and in jurisdictions like the US, in stacked cages. They are confined for long hours each day with bedding that ranges from carpeting and shredded newspaper to burlap sacks.
Greyhounds are “turned out” two to five times per day, depending on the jurisdiction. At the Canidrome in Macau, dogs are let out twice a day to relieve themselves but stay in their cages for upwards of twenty-three hours a day. In the United States, dogs are confined for twenty hours or more with intermittent turn outs and races about once every four days.
Kennels vary widely across jurisdictions. In Macau, the greyhound kennel compounds are fifty-year-old sparse concrete structures with metal bars or fencing to contain the dogs, two-thirds of which “would fail to meet the minimum size for a racing kennel in Australia.” In the US, there are the two standard cage sizes, 49”-36”-35” and 43”-30”-32”. The latter is barely large enough for some greyhounds to stand up or turn around.
Greyhounds suffer serious injuries while racing
At dog tracks worldwide, greyhounds routinely suffer serious injuries. However, only a few jurisdictions regularly publish injury data. The racing commissions of the American states of Arkansas, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia produce injury data subject to public request, and the Australian state of New South Wales started publishing injury data in late 2015. Reported injuries include broken legs, crushed skulls, seizures, paralysis, broken backs, and death by electrocution.
In the United States, more than 14,000 injuries were reported from January 2008 to December 2016. Of these injuries, over 1,000 resulted in death. It is important to note that Florida, home to two-thirds of American tracks, does not require injury reporting.
In Australia, only one state racing body, New South Wales, publishes injury records. These cite a total of 2,287 documented injuries from January to December 2016, 202 of which resulted in death.
Aggregate injury reporting does appear in official inquiries from time to time. The Australian state of Tasmania commissioned a report from the industry entitled “Review of Arrangements for Animal Welfare in the Tasmanian Greyhound Racing Industry.” In it, the authors state that “[Tasmanian] stewards notified 274 injuries, 14 euthanised” from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.
Ireland, Macau, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, seven of eight states and territories in Australia, and the US states of Alabama and Florida do not publish injury data. In the UK, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain once pledged to release public greyhound injury statistics in 2017, but this was later postponed to 2018.
Death is a common fate for greyhounds
Death is an all-too-common fate for racing greyhounds. Dogs that aren’t fast enough or have sustained a severe injury are removed from the racing pool. At best, this situation can result in physical rehabilitation and adoption, but far too often owners and trainers turn to euthanasia and even unsanctioned killings as a cheap alternative.
In Australia, an internal industry memo from Greyhounds Australasia CEO Scott Parker stated that as many as 17,000 healthy greyhounds are killed each year.
In New South Wales, Australia, a 2016 Parliamentary investigation into the greyhound industry revealed evidence that suggests as many as 68,448 greyhounds had been killed over a twelve-year period because “they were considered too slow to pay their way or were unsuitable for racing.” A few days after this analysis was released, a greyhound mass grave was discovered at the Keinbah Trial Track near Cessnock. Almost 100 greyhounds had been killed there “with a blow to the head, from either a gunshot or a blunt instrument.”
In Victoria, Australia, the racing body released its Annual Report for 2015-2016 which revealed that 3,012 greyhounds had been euthanized during the year. Greyhound Racing Victoria also indicated that an even higher number had been euthanized in years prior.
In Queensland, Australia, a mass grave was discovered by the Greyhound Racing Industry Task Force in Bundaberg. Investigators discovered fifty-five greyhound skeletons of dogs which “may have been beaten to death.” Two months later, a Queensland government inquiry into greyhound racing found that the “wastage rate” within the greyhound industry was unacceptably high. The inquiry demonstrated that between 2003 and 2013 the greyhound industry produced a surplus of “7,263 (average of 660 per year) or 30 per cent of [all] greyhounds whelped.” The report described these extra greyhounds as “unaccounted for.”
In Tasmania, Australia, an industry report entitled “Review of Arrangements for Animal Welfare in the Tasmanian Greyhound Racing Industry” found that during the 2013/14 racing season and the 2014/15 racing season, 753 greyhounds were killed by both the industry and by the industry rehoming program itself.
In South Australia, Australia, Greyhound Racing SA released a media statement under pressure from the public in September 2016. In it, the CEO admitted that in the last fiscal year 2015-2016, 535 greyhounds were euthanized or died.
In New Zealand, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee assesses that as many as 300 greyhounds are euthanized each year.
In Ireland, the Greyhound Rescue Association Ireland believes an average of thirty-eight greyhounds is destroyed each month as a result of industry overbreeding. GRAI estimates the total reaches over 450 deaths per year.
In the United Kingdom, building merchant David Smith was discovered in 2006 to have killed an estimated 10,000 greyhounds in his backyard with a bolt gun. He was paid £10 per dog and buried them in a pit on his property.
In Macau, the Canidrome racetrack kills nearly 100% of its greyhounds. While management purports to have a re-homing program, the track has only released a single dog to date.
The full extent of greyhound deaths may never be known, but the current figures confirm a grim reality: thousands upon thousands of greyhounds are euthanized or destroyed each year because it is expedient for industry participants to do so.
Hundreds of cases of cruelty and neglect have been documented around the world
The worldwide commercial racing industry has a well-documented history of animal welfare issues and abuse. These include starvation, drugging, mutilation, and abandonment.
• On December 9, 2015, ABC’s 7.30 program aired an investigation into greyhound exports from Australia to China and Vietnam in which reporters uncovered a 100% death rate for these greyhounds. Since 2001, at least 3,500 greyhounds have been exported to Macau from the Australian state of Victoria alone.
• On February 16, 2015, ABC’s Four Corners program released “Making a Killing,” a damning exposé into the widespread practice of live-baiting in Australia. Small animals like piglets, opossums and rabbits were routinely used as lures to ‘blood’ the greyhounds by some of the country’s most prominent industry participants.
• On November 3, 2014, BBC Panorama released an undercover report of race fixing in the greyhound racing industry in Great Britain. Trainer Chris Mosdall openly admitted to doping dogs to fix races, slowing them down with drugs for several races until the betting odds became highly profitable at which point he would enter them without.
• On October 27, 2014, French port authorities discovered the bodies of eleven Irish greyhounds who had suffocated in the cargo hold of the ferry Oscar Wilde. They were being exported from Ireland to Spain by way of France.
• On March 6, 2013, 3 News of New Zealand released its program “Let Me Entertain You” during which several industry participants admitted to the killing of hundreds of healthy greyhounds. The reporter also called into question the use of the word “retired” as a euphemism for “euthanized.”
• On April 10, 2012 in County Limerick, Ireland, six greyhounds were found dead, after having been shot in the head and dumped in a quarry. The dogs were traced back to their owner John Corkerey, who admitted he had arranged to destroy the dogs after a poor performance at their racing trials.
• On October 29, 2010, Florida’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering investigators reported the discovery of thirty-two grossly emaciated dead dogs and five barely alive at the Ebro dog track. Kennel operator Ronald John Williams was charged with thirty-seven counts of felony animal cruelty. The bodies of eight more dead dogs were found at Williams’s home, bringing the total up to forty.
Greyhounds test positive for serious drugs
Greyhounds routinely test positive for serious, prohibited drugs. Doping agents like cocaine, EPO, morphine, and amphetamines are found in greyhounds with alarming regularity. Though the industry often chalks up these occurrences to tainted food or the actions of a few bad apples, the doping problem runs deep in the racing culture. The Association of Racing Commissioners International, an industry group that works to promote integrity in the horse and greyhound racing business, includes nearly 900 prohibited drugs on its official control list.
Five racing countries have regulatory frameworks in place to handle drug screening — the US, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK. These industry organizations are responsible for finding and handling drug violations. According to Racing Analytical Services Limited, Macau’s Canidrome also performs drug testing, though the process, findings, and rulings, if any, are not public.
Since 2008, GREY2K USA Worldwide has obtained 419 drug-related rulings from American racetracks. Racing greyhounds have tested positive for a variety of serious drugs including cocaine and oxycodone. Additionally, greyhound trainers have themselves tested positive for cocaine and marijuana, and drug paraphernalia for both dogs and humans has been confiscated in greyhound kennels.
In the UK, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain has published hundreds of greyhound positives since 2009, forty-five alone in 2016. These include stanozolol, barbiturates, and morphine. Stanozolol is a synthetic anabolic steroid and has been banned for its performance-enhancing influence. Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants and are serious performance-affecting drugs. Morphine has been used as a masking agent in greyhounds to make dogs less aware of any injuries they may have.
In Scotland, a December 2016 newspaper investigation found that race fixing with drugs occurred with regularity at the non-registered “flapping” tracks. A trainer admitted to giving his dog valoids to slow him down, waiting a few races until the betting odds became favorable, then taking him off the drugs to result in a faster race pace.
In Ireland, the Irish Greyhound Board has posted 122 greyhound drug positives since 2013 in the form of Control Committee Reports and Adverse Analytical Findings. These include cocaine, amphetamine, and pentobarbital positives. While cocaine and amphetamine are known as dangerous performance-enhancing drugs, pentobarbital is a performance-reducing drug. In large doses, it has been used for both animal and human euthanasia and appears in nearly 25% of all IGB drug positives.
In New Zealand, the Racing Integrity Unit found twenty-three greyhound drug positives from 2014 to 2016. According to New Zealand’s Judicial Control Authority, some of these positives were morphine. Additionally, two greyhound trainers tested positive for cannabis.
In Australia, each state and territory has a regulatory agency. These agencies have reported hundreds of greyhound drug positives since 2008. In Queensland, greyhounds have tested positive for amphetamine, morphine, and pentobarbitone, a fast-acting barbiturate. In New South Wales, greyhounds have tested positive for EPO, amphetamine, and codeine. In Victoria, eight greyhounds tested positive for codeine and morphine in 2016. In Tasmania, greyhounds have tested positive for caffeine and cobalt. In South Australia, greyhounds have tested positive for amphetamine and cobalt. In the Australian Capital Territory, a greyhound tested positive for cocaine in 2010.
Additionally, greyhounds in Australia test positive for unusual drugs. In Queensland, a greyhound tested positive for Desvenlafaxine, a drug normally used to treat depression and which isn’t used at all in veterinary medicine. In Western Australia, a greyhound tested positive for Fertagyl, a drug normally used in cows to control oestrus cycles.
Gambling on greyhounds is declining
Greyhound wagering is on the decline in Ireland, Macau, and the US. Total wagering, also known as the handle or turnover, is an industry metric that gauges public interest in a particular gambling sector. In the last ten years, wagering on greyhound racing in these three countries has diminished by hundreds of millions of dollars.
In Ireland, the Irish Greyhound Board reported €23,446,799 in total racing turnover in 2015, a decline of 63.05% since 2006.
In Macau, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reported MOP 335,000,000 ($41,888,000) in total wagering in 2016, a decrease of 79.81% since 2010.
In the United States, the Association of Racing Commissioners International reported $586,608,932 in total handle in 2014, a reduction of 83.24% since its peak in 1991.
Greyhound racing is a dying industry
The greyhound racing industry is dying. Around the world, dozens of tracks have closed and continue to close. Fewer than 150 commercial tracks currently exist, and more are slated to close in the near future. This decline is the result of increased public awareness that dog racing is cruel and inhumane coupled with competition from other, faster forms of gambling associated with the rise of internet and phone gambling.
Since GREY2K USA Worldwide began its US campaign in 2001, thirty American dog tracks have closed or ceased live racing. Most recently, Arizona became the fortieth state to outlaw dog racing outright.
Once numbering over 100, Australia’s tracks have continued to close. Today, the country has sixty-five greyhound tracks, the most recent one closing in December 2016.
New Zealand once operated thirteen tracks and now maintains only seven.
The UK once had at least seventy-seven licensed tracks. Now only thirty-four operate there, with two tracks set to close in 2018. In London itself, once the home of over thirty greyhound stadiums, the last track at Plough Lane held its final race in March 2017. Wimbledon will now be used as a soccer stadium.
In China, the Canidrome has been ordered to move or close by the Macau government. This is the only legal dog track in the entire country.
Greyhound racing and its attendant cruelties violate the values of our world community and should be prohibited.
Last updated May 24, 2017. This article is updated from time to time and the updates can be found here. Please refer to this link for the bibliography and original pictures.
About GREY2K USA Worldwide
Formed in 2001 by attorney Christine Dorchak, lobbyist Carey Theil and veterinarian Dr. Jill Hopfenbeck, GREY2K USA Worldwide works to pass stronger greyhound protections laws and to end the cruelty of dog racing on both national and international levels. The non-profit organization also promotes the rescue and adoption of greyhounds acrsso the globe. For more information, contact President Christine Dorchak at email@example.com or visit us at www.GREY2KUSA.org or on facebook at www.facebook.com/GREY2KUSA.
We have sent a donation to help Mary at Dungarvan Rescue in Ireland as she confronts the testing task or rehabilitating 10 rescued greyhounds. A few weeks ago she was contacted by another rescue asking if she could help with some greyhounds. It transpired there were 150 of them living in dreadful conditions, although it must be said they were being fairly well fed but we don’t know what. Mary agreed to help with 10, other groups have taken many of the rest.
The poor greyhounds had come from a situation simply gone bad, although it seems the Irish Greyhound Board knew about the problem for around 2 years. Mary couldn’t give us too many more details because prosecutions are pending. She will update us when she can.
The greyhounds are currently in boarding kennels, where they have so far been treated for fleas and other parasites and are doing quite well. Unfortunately several of these greyhounds are unused to being handled and will need quite a bit of work.
A few weeks ago Dungarvan took two greyhounds who were about to be shot and one of the them, Paddy, had a lump on one of his front legs. It was a tumour. Having had all his long bones and legs x-rayed, Mary had to make the decision to have is leg amputated. It was removed totally from his shoulder, which was a huge op but has healed really well and he is doing great on his 3 legs. He is only seven and just sooooo sweet, he was a real trooper during recovery and is back playing around outside with the girl he came with. Luckily the cancer had not spread to any other bones so hopefully he will now get to enjoy a real life.
If you can also help Mary towards the costs because the rehabilitation of these greyhounds will take a huge chunk out of Dungarvan’s costs but the greyhounds needed help – they were at the very real risk of being killed. Dungarvan’s PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Last week when the Irish Parliamentary Agriculture Committee conducted the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Greyhound Industry Bill 2017, the Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland (GRAI) said 2,896 greyhounds were submitted to Irish pounds from 2010 – 2015, of which 2,497 ended up being euthanised. GRAI commented, “We’ve had trainers say to us: ‘If you can’t take this dog this week, he gets the needle.” Mary at Dungarvan is facing this emotional blackmail now. Who could say no?
The new Bill brought forward by Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed,includes increased provisions around the welfare of greyhounds. More details are covered in this article in the Irish Times.
All of this comes at the time when Harold’s Cross greyhound track in Dublin has been closed by the Irish Greyhound Board and is up for sale, likely educational use, to contribute to its own debt relief. Stakeholders are now picketing and withdrawing greyhounds from racing at Shelbourne track, also in Dublin. While this action takes place, Shelbourne track is closed and losing money, adding to the Irish Greyhound Board’s debt. The Irish Greyhound Board is asking the pickets to reconsider their action because it is costing the industry €30,000 per week. In view of the stalemate, the press in Ireland is asking if the racing industry can be viable. If not, sudden death like this could mean a mammoth rescue challenge for thousands of greyhounds.
We like other rescued greyhound advocates are watching closely. We can only pray for a staggered demise.
Freya, our sponsor greyhound at the Lincolnshire greyhound shelter, writes a thought provoking piece. Although very literate, you can see that Freya has had some help from one of the shelter’s long-standing supporters and greyhound adopters.
It was some many years ago, so we were told when a young woman of 21 and her friend, Phil, couldn’t stand to see what was happening to our breed anymore…. So they decided to do something about it and take on the racing industry….Now this was not initially to end greyhound racing back then…that was more of a pipe dream. It was to have some kind of welfare for the dogs and something for them after they had finished racing.
Also it was, and still isn’t, about the running in greyhound racing – it’s always been about the ‘bends’ on the track that have caused injuries to these dogs that have resulted in many being put to sleep before their time for things that could have been sorted, had owners wanted to spend money and time. But unlike whippet racing, which is more of a fun day with no bends and not a gambling night, these dogs were being put at serious risk. This young lady and her partner Phil had to do something. They could not stand back and watch this happening.
And so it began. A life of total devastation, heartbreak, reward, fights, her life being threatened, starving herself to feed her beloved greyhounds. But did any of this put her off? NO! She was our mum – our saving grace – and although a very talented lady in many other ways, who could have made her fortune in so many other walks of life had only one focus! A vocation. GREYHOUND RESCUE. She was known as the ‘original Greyhound Lady’ or ‘Mrs Greyhound’ as the years went on.
The thing is, as years have gone by, that is what happened…. A face without a name. Don’t get me wrong, Mrs Greyhound is very respected in the rescue world but it suddenly became apparent to us, she has no name anymore…. Even the Argos delivery guys call her Mrs Greyhound!
Of course, she and Phil struggled to fundraise but knew they had to do what it took to help this, at that time especially, most abused breed along with the beagle. Well, they did what they had to do, taking dogs in the most horrendous state you have ever seen…They did race nights at the track back then as that is what they had to do in those days. They also believed and she still does that to save us, it is better to have the trainers and owners on side than against. BUT that comes with the years of experience of knowing them.
For those who do not think things have moved forward in the fight against the racing industry, they have…. It’s still not enough? Agreed… We still need to stop the abuse, drugging, overbreeding and all the other terrible things this wonderful breed suffers…. But one thing has been noted over the years… For every battle won…another begins… So are we winning the End of Racing? Maybe we are? Yes? And is that a good thing? We would like to say Yes…That is why we started this fight, right?
But then the next battle begins… Exporting to Spain, Pakistan & China. You see the breeders still want their money… As do the owners…. Do not blame the trainers only… It is no longer black & white. Spain is a very cruel country for abuse! Pakistan too! China… They boil them alive and use them for meat, and also use their skins!
So… Are we winning? These are questions she constantly asks herself. Are we just fearing greyhound racing going underground now as we once were when they bring an end to racing? OR, is there now an even bigger problem?
Yes the majority of people want greyhound racing to end but what happens next? We all know it needs to be done in a way that means we are not placing them in further danger. We don’t want an influx of hundreds of thousands of dogs having to be destroyed either because it ended suddenly. Or are we not as bad? Innocents being destroyed, dumped, exported? All these things that need saying and thinking about…
We are on the same side but I have loved my breed and to watch what could happen to my friends is devastating to my and all of us who are so lucky to have come into rescue or to have found a forever home. It frightens me that until we get a stop on export, we still have an enormous worry on our hands.
Karen and Phil set out on this journey to save these dogs from a devastating fate at the time. Unfortunately, Phil left this world far too soon, he passed away young leaving Karen faced with continuing the journey alone without her pal. She has done this with a quiet respect throughout the rescue world.
Phil and Karen stared this rescue all those years ago. Sadly Phil is not here to see what Karen has achieved but we all know that he is watching over her and the dogs as it was a vocation to him as much as Karen. Phil was a big part of Karen’s life and a big part of the beginning of this story. Though Karen thinks of him often and quietly, he will always remain a big part of Greyhound Rescue, Lincolnshire.
Karen would never let these dogs down. It is a vocation to her. Karen would let NO animal down and take no glory in any of it. She is a very kind person with the biggest heart you would ever know. She has gone without food herself over the years to feed her rescue dogs. Everything this lady has and everything she has been for them. Nobody has looked into our eyes and seen our souls more than her.
She’s a thinker… She has fought trainers, owners & racing industry in her time and anyone that has every hurt an animal to be fair! She has done many TV documentaries, with people like Donal MacIntyre etc. but nothing frightens her more than what could happen next, with live export, because until this is totally banned and stopped full stop, and there is a controlled plan to end greyhound racing totally, then think about this. Please plan our future before you are part of our deaths.
She will always put her neck on the line for us. Because she is ‘Mrs Greyhound’. We could not have survived without the love she has shown us. We do not want to go for meat and be boiled alive, or exported to a worse life, nor do we want to be dumped or sent underground. She did not give up her entire life to let us go to a worse place. If this were the case…..It will be the end for Karen Schultz, our mum, but to the world….known just as ‘Mrs Greyhound’ – she has no identity anymore.
We thank our mum,
We need her.
Thank you from all of us for all your support over the years.
We at Greyhound Rescue would like to thank Greyhound Compassion for the continued support of donation food and financial support again over the last year. We always appreciate your help and look forward to your visits.
Karen Schultz – Chairperson
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.