About Project Galgo
A UK Spanish Greyhound, Podenco and other Sighthound Rescue
About Project Galgo
“To promote humane behaviour towards animals by providing appropriate care, protection, treatment and security for animals, in particular but not limited to Galgos, Podencos and other Sighthounds, which are in need of care and attention by reason of sickness, maltreatment, poor circumstances or ill usage and to educate the public in matters pertaining to animal welfare in general and the prevention of cruelty and suffering among animals.”
We are a small, UK based, volunteer led, not-for-profit animal welfare rescue organisation dedicated to relieving and preventing the suffering predominantly, though not exclusively, of Galgos and Podencos (Spanish sighthounds) and Salukis who are in need of care and protection, in particular by rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing.
Project Galgo was founded by Helena Jackson in 2020. In 2022 Project Galgo became a registered charity and consists of:
Helena Jackson, Founder and Director
Pennie Clayton, Patron and Behaviourist
Camilla Beardsmore, Trustee
Grace Filmer, Trustee
Samantha Walker-Arends, Trustee and Behaviourist
Paul Jackson, Treasurer
Most of our dogs are placed in foster homes, where they are given time to decompress after their journey over, support to adjust and adapt to home life, and assessed in a range of situations/environments. Some are adopted straight from the shelter.
We offer a very conscientious adoption process and endeavor to ensure that our dogs find the best homes for them, where they are valued, respected and loved beyond measure for the rest of their days
It has been said that the dog is man’s best friend. If this is true, then the Galgos and Podencos of Spain have been viciously betrayed. There is a very cruel custom amongst some Spanish hunters, or “Galgueros,” that destroys more than 50,000 Galgos and Podencos every year.
We encourage our supporters to watch these two very powerful documentaries, ‘Yo Galgo’ at https://www.moonleaks.org/yo-galgo/ and ‘February, the Fear of the Spanish Greyhound’ at https://vimeo.com/60542003
The Galgos are Spanish Greyhounds and Podencos another type of Spanish Sighthound, used for hunting or competing, but most are used for only one season and then discarded. Some may not even make the selection for the season. If they hunt poorly, they are tortured as retribution for the shame they reflected upon their owners.
The reasoning of the Galgueros is that by torturing and killing the dogs they wash away the dishonour the dogs displayed that brought shame to their masters. In reality, the practice is an exercise in sadism that can involve burning the dogs with acid, dragging them behind cars, tying to train tracks, sacrificing them to fighting dogs, skinning or burying them alive (sometimes under rocks).
Galgos have been found with their eyes torn out or bottled to death; many down 60 foot wells, having been thrown down there.
There are also those who are tied up with chains, or have their limbs intentionally broken, so they cannot return ‘home.’ One Galgo had been found bludgeoned with a pin hammer on the back of his head. Another group had been waterboarded with petrol, one of whom tragically lost the fight. Her name was Bruma and the image of her eyes and gums yellow from poisoning is one which will haunt many of us forever.
One of the methods is called the “piano dance;” typically hanging the dog by the neck with the feet just touching the ground as they struggle to breathe and are slowly strangled to death by their movements, scrabbling in vain to touch the ground, a death that can last several days.
Their living quarters or ‘zulos’ are dirty, tight, unregulated ‘kennels.’ Concrete bunkers, devoid of daylight, medical treatment and clean water. Often fed mainly with only stale bread, they sometimes eat each other when one falls from exhaustion. Before they are used for hunting, they are starved for days and embittered to make them ‘better’ at hunting. Sometimes their mouths are clamped open with wood.
If a Galga (female Galgo) is perceived as good, with the ‘raza’, she will be bred from as many times as possible and they will administer medication to enable more litters can be produced. It is common they be chained up in very cramped and filthy spaces.
Many have died by the age of three, and it is very rare for a Galguero to keep a Galgo past the age of 9 months. They will sell them on or dispose of.
When the dogs reach two or three years of age and are weakened by malnutrition and lack of care, it is cheaper for the Galgueros to kill the dog to avoid feeding the dog until the next season, when they simply pick up a new dog for ten euros from one of many breeding facilities that supply the hunters. This is much less than the cost of food to maintain an adult dog between hunting seasons.
The bizarre thing is Galgueros often have family pets that live in the family home. Galgos and Podencos are not pets. They are tools and money making machines, ego boosters.
Because these dogs are regarded under Spanish law as working dogs, they are excluded from the laws relating to pets and can be disposed of or used in whatever manner their owner decides. This year, a law was passed whereby as long as no lesions are caused, sexual abuse of them is not an offence.
‘Good dogs,’ the ones who have not shamed their owner by being poor hunting dogs, are sometimes rewarded by being sent to perreras. These are very unpleasant municipal facilities where the dogs can be euthanized.
Thanks to some amazing Spanish Galgo rescues, there is light at the end of the tunnel – sanctuary, reprieve and hope.
Project Galgo, from first inception has now brought nearly 200 Galgos, Podencos and Salukis over to the UK to find their forever homes. We feel passionate in our mission to bring more to us, where their journeys to health, happiness, safety and love can continue, where they can heal from their past traumas. We work holistically with the dogs in our care. For a dog to build trust, they must at first be able to feel safe.
We can liberate them from fear; we can show them a life beyond brutality and terror.
We cannot save every one of them. If only we could. Until there is a significant change in Spanish law, hundreds of thousands of Galgos and Podencos will continue to suffer mercilessly.
And so Project Galgo was born….
This special project is dedicated to all those Galgos and Podencos who have not only lost their lives to such senseless suffering, but those who have survived and will go on to survive and find the futures they have always deserved.
We currently collaborate as the only UK partners, with Galgos en Familia in Malaga, Fundacion Benjamin Mehnert in Seville and Galgos Del Sur in Cordoba, Galgo’s Rescue Almeria who work tirelessly to free the Galgos and Podencos. We consider this such an honour.