In Spain and in Ireland, galgos, greyhounds and lurchers are forced to live lives marred by ill-treatment and cruelty, and tens of thousands of them are massacred each year. In these countries, these dogs are not generally considered pets, but on a par with cattle or agricultural goods.
In Great Britain, despite having in theory the same rights as other breeds of dogs, racing greyhounds are considered by the racing industry as commercial goods to be exploited for maximum profit, with little consideration for their wellbeing or safety. They are often put at great risk, treated cruelly and forced to live in unacceptable conditions. Lurchers, traditionally used by travellers and gypsies in Great Britain for hunting rabbits, are often abandoned or ill treated.
However, there are also many people and organisations in these countries who speak up for these dogs and give a voice to their suffering, who fight against racing and hunting, and who campaign for them to be recognised as pets.
We believe that the first duty of a European association wishing to help these dogs must be to report and oppose those who exploit and kill them, that is the greyhound racing industry and the galgueros, and we believe that this means helping and supporting organisations who oppose, coherently and by independent means, those who exploit them in Ireland, Spain and Great Britain. Without forgetting that sighthounds are also ill-treated in many other countries.
We also think that it should not be taken for granted that public opinion in our country (Italy) is necessarily aware of the true situation of sighthounds, and therefore we believe that it is our job to inform, and share information about what happens to them.
We also believe that these dogs make wonderful pets and that this should be emphasized. They are not just ‘sofa dogs’, but also life companions on every level. For us, this means supporting their wellbeing even when they are in their new homes, organising activities aimed at improving the relationship between the sighthounds and their families, and helping them integrate fully into family life and into the new world they are coming to live in.
We believe it is necessary to study and understand sighthounds from within an evolved and up to date vision of the relationship between man and dog, overcoming clichés and misconceptions. To appreciate sighthounds as pets also means to share, promote, and value all therapeutic experiences that demonstrate how these dogs are able to help in excellent ways people in difficult situations. Rescued sighthounds are excellent “therapists” when involved in pet therapy. There is also evidence of wonderful experiences with autistic and dislexic children that prove unequivocally how different these animals can be from the image of them put forth by those who exploit them.
Finally, Pet Levrieri aims to be an open, transparent and democratic organisation, which finances itself in a clear manner without bending its principles for the sake of business interests.