The plight of the Podencos
The image ”Ibizan Hound - female at long coat” by Tux-Man is licensed under CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
The Podenco is, together with greyhounds and galgos, one of the most abused dog breeds in the world. The podenco is, like the galgo, used for hunting rabbits, and it is kept on the Spanish mainland, on the Canary Islands, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The Podencos come in a great variety of size, color and coat that over the years have been defined by region, such as Podenco Canario, Podenco Ibicenco and Podenco Andaluz.
The Podencos often spend their lives on a short chain without any shelter from extreme weather conditions, or in dark sheds - sometimes so tightly packed together that they cannot move. They are often forced to lie in their urine and feces, which makes them sick. Medical care is totally excluded. Spanish hunters believe that dogs hunt better when they are hungry, so the dogs are often kept without food and water. The dogs don’t get any human affection, because it is believed to harm their hunting abilities.
After the end of the hunting season the hunters want to get rid of most of the dogs because it is cheaper to buy new dogs than to feed the old ones. The dogs are either abandoned - sometimes after being beaten or with their legs broken - or killed in a variety of torturous ways, like poisoning or drowning. Several tens of thousands of Podencos are abandoned or killed each year in Spain, and together with the galgos the number is estimated to be 150,000.
The Podencos are sometimes called ”The Great Forgotten”, because they very seldom get any publicity. They are also known as ”The Invisibles”, because they are often overlooked in the perreras when rescue associations arrive to save dogs, and they are generally the first dogs to be euthanised. The number of abandoned Podencos is so huge, and there are more Podencos than any other type of dog seeking homes in the perreras. The Spanish, in general, don’t hold Podencos or other hunting dogs in high regard, and seldom want them as pets. This is very sad because the Podencos make such wonderful pets – apart from their lovely appearance they are very smart, affectionate, gentle, loyal, keen to learn and very good with children.