SOS Galgos: Hope for Spanish Greyhounds

By SPCA International Staff

SOS Galgos, a Spanish organization committed to improving the treatment of Spanish Greyhounds, is celebrating 20 years in operation. Their efforts are carefully balanced between rescue and education. In addition to rescuing and rehoming 3,000 Spanish Greyhounds, they have educated thousands of people about humane treatment of all animals, with an emphasis on the notoriously abused Spanish Greyhound.

In Spain, these greyhounds (or galgos) are bred to hunt, and they experience brutal conditioning such as being tied to a car to make them sprint for prolonged periods of time at extreme speeds. It is estimated that about 1 million Spanish Greyhounds are kept by hunters in Spain who house them in cramped conditions with only enough food and water to keep them alive – the hunters believe this keeps the dogs hungry for the hunt.

After two or three seasons, these loyal dogs are no longer seen as useful, so hunters heartlessly abandon or kill them. Worst of all is a belief that the more suffering the “old” dogs experience, the better luck the hunter will have in the coming year. This antiquated belief means that Spanish Greyhounds deemed past their prime are routinely tortured to death – buried alive in trash bags, hung by the neck with feet barely scratching the ground, and murdered through other horrendous practices which are used to prolong the suffering of these beautiful animals. 

Our friends at SOS Galgos tell us the tides are changing. More and more, adopted Spanish Greyhounds are the pet of choice in metropolitan areas, and hunters are abandoning rather than torturing their old hunting dogs. 

While these are steps in the right direction, there’s still much work to be done. SPCA International is committed to supporting SOS Galgos’ operations and advocacy. Together we have collected an estimated 500,000 signatures in support of a ban on hunting with Spanish Greyhounds. Nearly every other country in the European Union has already enacted similar laws, and we are hopeful Spain will soon follow suit.