Being a greyhound in Spain
On the 19th of November, 20 female greyhounds bought in the County of Thurles, in Ireland, will leave for Spain, where they will be used for breeding. This is serious, because the situation of greyhounds in Spain is appalling and the fate of these dogs will be full of suffering. In the following account, Susanna Peralta, ex greyhound trainer for the Barcellona track which closed in 2006, and now animal and greyhound activist, explains what the realty was like for greyhounds in her country.
This is the story of Xicota, the greyhound I met after I’d been living in Extremadura for a year. Xicota came from Ireland to the Barcelona dog-racing track, she was a very good racer and she lived at the track for 1 year; then, in 2006, the dog-racing track was closed, and Xicota was sold for sprint racing.
One day, when I was already living in Extremadura, I was attending a sprint race as a viewer (not as a trainer) in a small village. When I saw Xicota I was very happy, she looked good and healthy to me. So I was very surprised when after just 50 metres, during the race, she collapsed. I ran to her, to see what had happened, I asked Xicota’s owner what was going on and they answered that maybe they had give her too much caffeine. Xicota was purple, and the only thing her owners were able to do was cut a piece of her ear: this is an old practice that today is not used very often, but was still used at the time by trainers, they think that this way, by cutting the ear, the dog can be saved from heatstroke. I was petrified, I wasn’t able to believe what my eyes was seeing, and I was even more suprised when one of the two owners said that the solution was to throw Xicota in a river. This “man” said that the dog was unrecoverable and, because of this, useless. It was very difficult to me to stay calm and polite, but holding myself back, I asked to take the dog to a clinic and to take her to my place as a pet. Those “men” were debating for a while, thinking that if the dog recovered maybe I would race her again without paying them anything. Xicota was dying, and their only thought was about the money. Finally they gave me the dog, I put her in my car as fast as possible and drove to the clinic. Unfortunately, shortly after we arrived at the veterinary surgery, Xicota died.
I was a trainer and I loved greyhound racing, but I will never be a part of this problem again: I want to be a part of the solution now. Today I rescue greyhounds, and I try to get them the life they deserve.