In the first four months of 2017 we have rescued 636 dogs, not all of them came here to the shelter in Medina del Campo, but many of them did. Here in Spain stray dogs are taken from the streets in different ways. It can be done by municipal pounds, mainly in big cities like Madrid, but normally this job is done by private organisations. They could be animal welfare organisations like us or any other kind of organisation. Normally the “other kind” are private companies, looking only for money, not caring about animal welfare and trying to do the job in the cheapest possible way to maximise profit. It means a lack of food, no care, no vet care, 21 days and then euthanasia. We, the Scooby people, from the beginning decided that wherever there could be a chance to take those contracts we would, always trying not to go to too many places so that the situation remains manageable. This does mean quite a lot of work, lots of paperwork (and the bureaucracy is always increasing) frequent driving to pick up stray dogs who are not always easily approached. The revenue from the contract does of course contribute but it is still less than one third of our annual income.
Why am I explaining this? Simply so that you can have an idea about what is going on here and what we confront at the coalface day in and day out: Four – five new dogs per day and this is every single day of the year. Among these dogs we receive all kinds of dogs. We cannot refuse anyone and we don’t selectively rescue, i.e. we do not take only the prettiest or the cutest - easy to home. We take every dog in need, including newborns abandoned in the streets and countryside. Here we have dogs that have killed humans the hands of irresponsible and dysfunctional domestic owners, fighting dogs, pregnant bitches and, of course, most of them are adorable dogs looking for a second chance in life. Our main goal has been always the benefit of them. Also something we are very clear about is that a cage or confined kennel is not life for anyone, humans or animals. It can be a golden prison but prison it is. So we are absolutely clear that a life in those conditions is not a life and then it is better to be dead, at peace.
And this is the crunch, often a contentious point, this is our euthanasia policy. We believe that euthanasia has a place in animal welfare. We euthanise dogs that are aggressive to humans and dogs that are aggressive to other dogs. If a pregnant bitch comes into Scooby, we spay her and we abort the puppies. All of this is not pleasant but we must be realistic, we cannot accommodate another 6 - 8 dogs and we cannot home them as well as the shelter dogs who are already here. Not being able to home them and leaving them in a cage or a confined kennel is not a life. We have seen so many dogs going crazy in confinement in a kennel that we just don´t want to see it with our dogs.
We realise this is contentious and not everyone will agree. We are of the opinion that this is the kindest approach and it is part of welfare. Every member of staff and volunteer is made aware of our policy before they come to Scooby. We recognise that we may lose supporters who do not agree with our policy. While we are sorry to lose potential help, donations and people who could contribute to changing life in Spain for animals, then so be it because we have to think of the dogs and the bigger picture. For those supporters who respect our euthanasia policy and continue to be advocates for the shelter, sending us equipment and items for the dogs, we are extremely grateful.