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On March 12, in the Congress of Deputies, a session dedicated to presenting the latest statistics about the current state of greyhounds in Spain entitled “Greyhounds, Spain before the world” will be held. During the session the documentary film entitled “February, the greyhound´s fear” will be shown, among other presentations.

The precarious situation of greyhounds both during and after the hunting season is most visible in February, when the hunting season is closed and the more than 50,000 licensed hunters consider whether or not the greyhound that has accompanied them throughout the season is good enough for the next season. If the greyhound is “too dirty for the hunt”, that is to say that the dog no longer “serves” to chase the hare, they get rid of the dog with cruel methods such as hanging, abandonment, death in a well…, actions which are not reported most times, and which rarely receive the punishment that they deserve save few exceptions, such as the case of the greyhounds hanged in Fuensalida (Iniesta and Bola). The perpetrator received the first criminal sentence in October 2013 in Toledo, as we published in December 2013 on this website[1].

The practice of these executions is so extensive in many towns that the acts are not reported and the locals of the towns where the deaths occur do not give them the importance they deserve. Simply put, they are used to it happening and probably look the other way. But now is the time for them (and for us) to look where the Law indicates, which is the Criminal Code. It´s the same Criminal Code that they look to if someone robs them, attacks them or commits an infraction of the laws that protect them. Because, the life of an animal, of a greyhound, regardless of whether or not it serves to hunt[2], is a legally protected object and, as such, must be respected[3].

Many atavisms still reign in certain behaviors –such is the case regarding animals credited with the condition of proprietary “things” as is attributed by our prevailing legislation[4]. However, even ignoring the law, which covers animal welfare and treats animals as “sentient beings”, this treatment is an obligation – as important as respecting traffic signals-. It is an obligation must be followed and cannot be ignored, as was affirmed a few months ago by the European Commissioner for Health and Animal Welfare, Tonio Borg[5]. Animal welfare and the policy strategies of each Member State of the EU for their effective implementation are a priority part of European policies. As such, these protection policies, which must also be prevention policies, for animal welfare include greyhounds.

In July 2013, a written petition[6] was presented to the European Parliament specifically about the protection for greyhounds in Spain. It did not have the warm welcome as was hoped for, but it is still a good initiative that can open paths in the new Parliament that will come about from the new European elections.

Many private associations work for greyhounds and manage to rescue them from abandonment, abuse, aggression, and cruelty. There are thousands of anonymous people who offer their time, their energy and their money for these precious dogs, as a gesture of kindness. Among these associations, I want to mention Galgos 112[7], which since February 1, 2014, has rescued 91 dogs (41 males and 50 females) from certain death, without anything more than the courage and enthusiasm of its volunteers and the tireless work of Nuria Murlà, who, when I asked for recent data about the greyhounds rescued from the association sent me a long list of names[8], not of numbers. Here I transcribe her own words:

“I have put the dogs´ names because normally they talk about numbers, but behind those numbers they are there, as individuals. For us, it is very important to give a name to the dogs as soon as they arrive, even when we know that they are going to die or we find them already deceased, since as soon as they have a name they become someone.”

I cannot find better words to end my editorial this month than this declaration of sensitivity, respect and love for greyhounds.

Teresa Giménez-Candela
Full Professor of Roman Law
Animal Law Profesor
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/editora.da

[1] I recommend rereading the Sentence Commentary made at the moment by GARCIA-VALLE, S., Caso de los galgos ahorcados en Fuensalida, de nombre Iniesta y Bola, de 5 y 22 meses. Sentencia 289/2013, de 15/10/2013, Juzgado de lo Penal nº1 de Toledo.
[2] Vid. The extensive commentary by CAUDEVILLA, O., Diez horas de caza, about the novel of the same name VERNE, J., Dix heures en chasse. Simple boutade (Paris 1881).
[3] Vid. chapter I: El delito de maltrato a los animales domésticos of the text by C. REQUEJO CONDE, La protección penal de la fauna. Especial consideración del delito de maltrato a los animales (Sevilla 2010).
[4] Vid. GIMÉNEZ-CANDELA, T., In search of a legal system for animals.
[5] Vid.BORG, T., Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of animals, European Parliament (18.9.2013).
[6] PR-DCL (2013)0006.
[7] Galgos 112, radicada en S. Feliu de Guixols.
[8] Males: Damon, Ferrari, Flock, Jazz, Copérnico, Edgar, Günther, Gustavo, Heiko, Saki, Newton, Pepillo, Xue, Lyon, Kiko, Orfeo, Monje (ha necesitado cirugía, le dispararon y lo dejaron tirado en la calle), Bruno, Cherokee, Albert, Chico, Rey, Huesito, Faber, Olfo, Lloni, Oliver, Marcel (ha muerto), Paul, Oscar, Duque, Rabbit, Walker, Orión (ingresado en estado crítico), Polvorín, Polvorón, Aslan, Pepee, Rodi.
Females: Telma, Alice (ha muerto), Celia, Daniela (necesita cirugía de traumatologia), Helga, Kawa, Mafalda, Marcela, Morgana, Aline, Nicole (ha necesitado cirugía para reconstruirle el tórax que tenia aplastado), Sandal, Loeb, Jeanine, Kinoa, Bimba, Sofía, Cora, Ánima, Odil, Marla, Rosita, Mia, Uca, Zoe, Nora, Puka, Amparín, Tundra, Sunny, Cori, Tiza, Nube, Trompa, Bona, Usa, Romina, Consuelo, Dubai, Shirley, Thais, Ara, Katia, Diana, Linda.

keys Animal Law, Animal Welfare , Greyhounds , Animal Abuse

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