Greyhound Compassion is honoured and proud to be connected with the Scooby shelter. We’ve worked with Scooby for about the last 18 years. We are a small charity in the United Kingdom and we raise money for the Scooby galgos and greyhounds rescued from greyhound racing in England and Ireland. There are 25 registered racetracks in the UK. They host 70,000 races per annum. Other tracks are unregistered and known as “flapper” tracks. Bets are wagered at the races on all tracks. This raises about £70m in tax for the UK government.
Approximately 25,000 racing greyhounds are registered for racing in Ireland and the UK annually. About 23,000 of these are bred in Ireland. This means that thousands of greyhounds have to be bred each year to produce those who meet racing standards. The greyhound racing industry and independent rescues are thought to rehome about 8,000 ex-racing greyhounds per annum in the UK. This leaves many ex-racing greyhounds looking for loving homes. It is estimated that about 10, 000 greyhounds go missing each year.
Greyhound Compassion’s fund-raising is quite small in scale and we try to raise money without spending too much on expenses. It costs us 3.5 pence to raise one pound sterling. We keep our overheads to a minimum. We have a calendar of events each year. We hold “jumble sales” (these are sales of donated secondhand clothes, shoes, handbags, household items and books) in the winter. In summer we sell donated secondhand items at “car boot sales”. These are a common feature of a Sunday morning in England. People can take their cars full of goods to a designated field and sell to customers from the boot of their car. Most people sell to make money themselves but we use the “car boots” to raise money for the greyhounds and galgos. We sell the clothes in really good condition via Ebay on Greyhound Compassion’s own page.
We also have charitable street collections in town centres with our greyhounds in the spring and summer. The local council gives permission for us to hold these collections on an occasional Saturday morning and we often benefit from donations from people doing their shopping. These are the perfect opportunity to raise the profile of the greyhound and spread the word about the plight of greyhounds and galgos. In the height of the summer we have a table at the annual fete in our village and hold a teddy bear tombola for children and a tombola of gifts for adults. We are fortunate to have supporters who arrange events in aid of Greyhound Compassion and this includes lunch parties, an annual fun dog show and an annual sponsored walk. Supporters ask their friends and family to pledge money to Greyhound Compassion and pay on condition that the supporter completes the walk. All of these events happen because we have a small and committed band of helpers who donate their time and skills to help us raise funds for the rescued greyhounds and galgos.
Occasionally a few of us visit the Scooby shelter to offer practical help. We are always overwhelmed by the number of dogs in Scooby’s care. However, this stray dog problem is not exclusive to Spain. We have the same problem in England, reputedly a nation of dog lovers. It’s fair to say that we see more people supporting dog rescue centres here than in Spain but we still have an enormous problem of abandoned dogs. Our shelters are full of staffordshire bull terriers, greyhounds, lurchers, alsatians, collies and other mixed breeds. We have an enormous puppy farming problem.
Recently we were really pleased to see a well-known British TV vet, Marc Abraham, launch “PupAid” http://www.pupaid.org/ PupAid is the campaign to end the UK’s cruel puppy farming industry and it presented No. 10. Downing Street with an e- petition which collected over 110,000 signatures asking for a ban on puppies and kittens sold without their mothers present. Gaining more than 100, 000 signatures meant the issue could be debated in Parliament which happened on Sept 4th in the Main Chamber of the House of Commons. We hope this is the first step in eradicating points of sale of irresponsibly bred puppies and kittens. We also hope that the day will come when a similar initiative can be launched in Spain and other European countries. Looking back at the changes we have seen in Scooby’s lifetime, it could well happen. We remember the galgos being under threat during our first visits to the shelter in 2000, we could not not take them into the Plaza Mayor for an awareness event. In recent years, Scooby has successfully held publicity events and on one occasion we saw a young teenage girl stop to look at the pictures of the galgos on the Scooby publicity board. She exclaimed to her friends, “ah! Look it’s a galgo, how sweet!” When we started we hoped but were not confident that we would ever get a reaction like this.