Every year in Spain between 50.000 and 100.000 galgos are abandoned, killed or run over once the annual hunting season ends. They are no longer considered the fastest and, therefore, they are no longer the most profitable. Their owners, known as galgueros (galgo handlers), breed massively and carelessly tens of thousands of galgos year after year for the sole purpose of hare hunting, always with the hope of producing a champion that might turn into a lucrative business. In February, when the hunting season has already finished, many galgueros bring their unwanted galgos to rescue centres and get rid of them without remorse. Up to 700 galgos can live together within these dedicated centres that try to find them a forever home.
Apart from Spain, adoptions also take place in countries like Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France or the United States. Unfortunately, others are not so lucky. They are often beaten, thrown alive into wells, shot and dumped into garbage bags, burned to death, cast into rivers to drown, abandoned with their legs intentionally broken so they can’t find their way home, or even hung from trees. Far from being a symbol of elegance and aristocracy as it used to be, now the galgo is just a tool ready to be discarded when useless.