Juan, the vet, tells us a story:

Juan, the vet, tells us a story:
(San Anton in spain)

Quelle: spaansehonden.com /San Anton – Villamartin

As we live in a region which is known for its hunting we work under very special conditions. This applies to the hare hunt with the and the rabbit hunt with the .

These two breeds are considered work tools. Owners of these dogs love hunting but they don’t necessarily love the dogs (although there are exceptions of course).

The work life of a is longer if he is a good hunting dog. Then he’s got the opportunity to stay with his owner for another season. Unfortunately this does not apply to the . He only serves as a hunting dog for two seasons. When he has learnt that he can catch the hare by using a short cut, his work life and therefore his physical existence end. Until recently these dog owners killed their dogs in a very brutal way as we all know.

In our region, the Sierra de Cádiz, the situation has improved thanks to the Law for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 11/2003 dated 24th November. This law, among other things, controls the identification and registration of pets. The dog receives a microchip which states the ownership and the dog owner is therefore responsible for the well-being of his/her dog.

It is publicly known, at least in our region that this law applies for the identification. We receive more and more chipped dogs in our rescue centre. However, this law doesn’t regulate the uncontrolled breeding of the dogs. A single owner can have various bitches and can have them covered every year in order to get 20 puppies of which maybe two are suitable for
hunting (Galgos).

What happens to the other 18 galgos? You can easily guess.

Our rescue centre Acogida San Antonio was established in 2001, thanks to an agreement between two provinces, the Diputación Provincial de Cádiz and the Mancomunidad de Municipios de la Sierra de Cádiz (before coming into effect of the above-mentioned law), in order to solve the existing problems with the abandoned dogs in our region (a lot of car accidents with fatal consequences for the drivers are caused by these dogs).

In the beginning we had a maximum of 100 dogs. After two months, however, we experienced a nasty surprise. The number of dogs had trebled. Now my colleagues and I had to find a solution to increase the amount of kennels which meant we had to kill the surplus dogs, even the healthy ones.

The prospects were devastating. This situation was common in all cities that operated these kinds of centres. Thousands of dogs are killed each year.

To my regret I had to kill animals instead of treating them. Until the day when a colleague named Juan Jesús came to our rescue centre. The dogs loved him very much and he knew a lot about IT and the possibilities the Internet offers. So we started looking for families all over Europe who would adopt the majority of the dogs.

Our efforts were supported by the authorities who operated the rescue centre. Thanks to their support we could keep more animals per kennel. Additional costs for food and vaccinations for those dogs which were to be exported to other European countries occurred. We also had to put up with extra costs for special food (diet food) and the transport of the adopted dogs to other provinces. We were given a service car.

All this would not be possible if the operator of this centre were a private company (as it is common practice in other cities). The only thing that counts for them is the profits at the end of the year, i.e. fewer expenses, more profit (fewer dogs housed, fewer costs).

We could also rely on two staff members, Pedro Antonio and Manolo, who supported us wherever they could although it meant additional work for them.

So it was possible to find adoption families for 475 of our 1400 dogs last year alone.
In 2004 it were approx. 500 adopted dogs.

Thanks to the fantastic help of European animal protectionists such as Pro-Animale Germany (chairwoman Joanna) and Kimba (an animal protectionist in Cádiz, who is chair woman for Nieves Orellana and Vientos de Levante and Rita Terdana from Tarifa de Chiclana de la Frontera (Cádiz) we never had to kill any Galgos (only very sick animals or animals who had serious difficulties to adjust. Fortunately we found a lot of adoption families due to the increasing/growing sensitisation in many European countries.

As we are a public institution, our problem ist hat we cannot say „no“. We must take on all the animals which come to us for help. It is aggravating that a lot of the animals are sick or our place is the final place they come to, without us being able to offer them an effective quarantine. It must be pointed out that we are not a traditional animal shelter, as we do not receive any external financial help and we don’t have a fixed number of dogs over the year. This is the naked truth without palliation. Everybody can come round to assure oneself of it, our doors are always open! Perhaps there are people who do not understand why dogs are abandoned but it is bitter reality.

Thanks to an agreement between “Amigo” and the carrier M.R.W. we can transport dogs to all other Spanish provinces and must only pay the rent fort he kennels (EUR 18.00). As mentioned above, thanks to the authorities who operate and support the rescue centre, we are in a position to give the animals a decent shelter until they can finally be placed with an adoption family.: accommodation, food, basic medical care and capture of stray dogs in the whole region – this is our main task. We are only asking for financial support for those dogs who will receive an adoption place outside Spain.

In order for the dogs to be able to travel to other European countries the following must be adhered to:
• The dogs must have a European Union pet passport and must be vaccinated against rabies at least one month before travelling.
• The dogs must be free from the two most common illnesses/diseases in dogs in Southern Spain: Filaria and Leishmaniosis. Therefore blood must be taken, which has to be analysed in an authorized laboratory.
• The dogs must be dewormed and free from flees.
• The dogs must be vaccinated against virus infections (sometimes 2 vaccinations within a fortnight).
• The dogs must receive a microchip.

It is understandable that we cannot demand from the authorities to cover all these costs.
It is very expensive to prepare the dogs for their journey to the relevant adoption family. Another problem is that we catch dogs from the whole region and some of them are in a very bad way/state. Therefore, we have high costs for pharmaceuticals, as sometimes we treat 15-20 dogs at the same time.
Therefore we are trying to obtain antibiotics, painkillers and vaccinations via donations.

I would like to close my report and thank you for your visit and your interest in our work. I wish that you would help us find new homes for our dogs and please always remember the ones that didn’t make it to their new homes and families.

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