Shelter in Spain Seeks Homes Abroad for Mistreated and Abandoned Greyhounds

Hundreds of greyhounds are waiting in a dog shelter in southern Spain. Staff at the facility hope to find homes abroad for the mistreated animals, as greyhounds are not commonly seen as pets in Spain but rather as working dogs for hunting.

“Ninety percent of our adoptions are abroad. There is no culture of having greyhounds as pets in our country so far,” noted Rocio Arrabal, the head of the Benjamin Mehnert Shelter and Rescue Foundation in the Andalusian town of Utrera.

Photo: Pixabay/Brummeier

Galgo Dogs

The ‘galgo’ or Spanish greyhound is an ancient breed that is a member of the sighthound family. They are commonly used for tracking or catching various game animals, like deer, wild boar, and rabbits. Once their usefulness is over, they are usually discarded — particularly if they are injured or sick.

According to Galgos del Sol, despite being called a “greyhound,” the Spanish Galgo is not closely related to the English/Irish Greyhound, the lineage of the two breeds being different. In ancient times, the galgo was considered a prized possession, but they have since become disposable “hunting tools” instead. Galgos del Sol believes that galgos are an integral part of the Spanish legacy and deserve to be returned to a place of respect.

Spanish greyhound
Photo: Pixabay/popovicmjeljica

Game Sports

The subject of hunting dogs has become a hot-button topic in Spain, where the blood-sport industry is worth an estimated 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) a year and is backed by a powerful lobby.

The country’s parliament recently approved a bill aimed at bolstering animal rights, which includes banning the sale of pets in shops, converting zoos into wildlife recovery centers, and imposing prison sentences for abusers. But hunting dogs had been excluded from the bill, causing mass demonstrations in Madrid.

Spanish greyhound
Photo: Pixabay/Compi-Service

Animal Welfare

The Benjamin Mehnert Shelter houses roughly 600 dogs, most of which are galgos. They primarily find homes in other European countries, but some of the canines travel as far away as the United States and Canada, Arrabal said.

Tragically, approximately 167,000 dogs were abandoned in Spain in 2021, many of them on the heels of the end of the hunting season, according to Barcelona-based Affinity Foundation. The video from Galgos del Sol posted below explains a lot, but we caution you that some of the images and information might be upsetting to some.

If you think you can help or you’re interested in adopting one of these dogs, click on the link for the Mehnert Shelter above.

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