By Lori Kalef and Meredith Ayan, SPCA International Staff
When Simba was found by SOS Galgos volunteers in Toledo, Spain, earlier this month she was hiding between trees and had an olive branch embedded in her mouth, keeping her jaw from closing properly. This cruel trick is an all too common punishment used by hunters for Greyhounds that are not performing properly. Hunters that were near, denied any association to Simba thus avoiding any possible altercation. A “useless” Greyhound was not worth the fight, and the volunteers managed to quietly walk away with her and bring her to safety.
Simba is about 8 years old and rescuers tell us she is a dream to walk on leash. Even though she led a long life of abuse, her endlessly loving nature exemplifies the tender character of the Greyhound.
Simba was fortunate to be found when she was, but unfortunately, her story is not an uncommon one. In the south of Spain alone, upwards of 60,000 Greyhounds are tortured and killed each year.
SOS Galgos is a non-profit organization in Spain that we have been working with over the last year. They are fighting to defend the rights of Greyhounds like Simba, who are used by hunters to course hare simply for sport. Each year during the month of February, which marks the end of hunting season, the dogs are found abandoned, hanged, beheaded, beaten and left for dead. These acts of cruelty stem from age-old traditions thought to bring more prosperity for the next hunting season.