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Spain's Hanging Horror

A new investigation by WSPA has exposed the way in which thousands of Spanish greyhounds (known as galgos), are hanged following the end of the hare coursing season at the start of each year.

Remains of a hanging victim

The remains of a dog, still with the
noose around its neck

The results of the investigation, carried out in the Castilla y Leon and Castilla la Mancha regions of Spain in March this year with the assistance of the Spanish organisation Scooby (Sociedad Protectora de Animales Scooby), revealed widespread evidence that the age-old tradition of hanging dogs in Spain continues to this day. WSPA estimates that tens of thousands of galgos are being bred and killed annually in rural areas.

WSPA discovered dead dogs with nooses around their necks dumped in shallow graves or lying under trees where they had been hung and, on a rubbish tip outside the village of Rueda near Tordesillas, investigators witnessed the gruesome sight of a dead galgo hanging from a willow tree. The skeletal remains of galgos were commonplace as well as evidence of hung dogs being set on fire, with melted nooses hanging above fresh bones and ash on the ground below.

The lucky few

The lucky few are brought to the shelter

WSPA also learnt how dogs that have raced poorly are typically hung low in a slow death known as 'the piano player' due to the frantic scrabbling of their legs in a vain attempt to touch the ground. Those who have raced well are hung high, resulting in a quicker death. Unwanted galgos may also be stoned, tied up and left to starve, staked in a pond and left to drown or thrown into wells and set on fire.

Alistair Findlay, a WSPA investigator, said, " It is scandalous that Spain, a country currently holding presidency of the European Union, is allowing man's best friend to be so cruelly and callously abused in this manner. This is a graphic example of why a national animal welfare law is so desperately needed in Spain."

At present, it is not illegal to kill a dog by hanging in Andalucia and Extremadura, where there are no animal protection laws. In Castilla y Leon, a law threatening a fine of 15,000 Euros (£39,540, $21,000USD) to anyone hanging a dog has yet to be enforced.

A new life at Scooby

The dogs are checked over and
housed in kennels

But there is hope. A few dogs do get spared of this cruel death and are taken to Scooby's shelter, set up in 2000. Fermin Perez is in charge and he and his team endeavour to nurse the dogs back to health, neuter them and put the dogs into a re-homing scheme; "We need more support and awareness that this is still going on and we need to stop this now." said Fermin Perez.

WSPA has written to the Spanish authorities, calling on this EU member state to finally adopt a national animal welfare law that would outlaw such cruelty.

WSPA is encouraging letters of protest to the President of Spain.

Fermin & WSPA

Sr. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
President of Spain:
Presidente del Gobierno
Palacio de la Moncloa
28071 Madrid

Fax: 0034 913 900 217

Formulario escribir al Presidente

Minister of Agriculture:
Ministra de Agricultura
Excma Sa. Elena Espinosa Mangana
Paseo Infanta Isabel, 1
28014 Madrid

Fax: 91.4675854

Available Dogs Scooby Farm