,,, Mo, I think you did the right thing in sending this out. It is horrible but people ought to know.

Mo Swatek Garcia Santos <info@dogs-in-spain.orgwrote:

I'm adding this header before the message below from Mo Swatek. I've been sitting on this report for a couple of days, agonising about letting it through. I had concerns about libel issues, but this report is also backed up with
photographs :-( It has appeared on a few other greyhound sites now and, hopefully, some action is being taken against this dreadful place.

How the dogs that should be going to 'sanctuary' can end up in this living hell, is completely beyond me.

Read this with caution - it is DEEPLY disturbing - the attached photographs are VERY upsetting and are likely to haunt you for some time.



Report concerning the shelter El Galgo Senior in El Campello (Alicante)


In the year 2003 I worked as a volunteer at dog shelter El Galgo Senior, also known as Aristogalgo, for four months. The periods: the month April, from the 30th of May to the 25th of August and from the
17th of Oct. to the 24th of Nov. The centre is managed by Particia Osborne and its goal is to shelter and care for discarded and neglected sighthounds (galgos and greyhounds) and to make them ready for adoption abroad after they recuperated.

I left for El Campello, only to help these dogs as much as possible. I found this help to be a harrowing necessity, but their was no follow up on the provided labour, initiatives and realisations. A few days after my departure the situation was back to the miserable level it was before I arrived there. I will try to make it clear with the next
conclusions and remarks. What I experienced and see happen at Pat Osborne's place is verging on the improbability. That is why I want to state, the following is not from a frustrated or disturbed mind but an
objective description of reality.

Conclusions at arrival

The following goes for all three periods:
- What you notice when approaching the area is the penetrating smell of urine and excrements.
- Dogs being very nervous and "on edge". I.e. every move or event could trigger to fierce tumult (serious fights)
- The area looked very messy every time: garbage everywhere, paper, plastic,...and especially a lot of dog shit. It was so bad, when entering you could not avoid stepping in to it and you would be smeared by jumping dogs with shit on their paws.
- All dogs were running loose, no separation of males and females, or wounded and not wounded dogs.
- Several dogs showed a fear reflex: hiding in a corner or hiding under the cactuses.
- At arrival at the gate it always took Patricia a long time to show, though her office is at the entrance and the dogs started barking when I was 50 metres distant. When Pat finally showed up, dogs started to, enthusiastically, jump on her. She reacted by shaking them off, or snarl at them. If this wasn't enough she would not hesitate to
kick and hit them, after which she would greet me with an angels smile.

- When entering the office, I always was striked by the same thing, the floor covered with shit, same to the walls and hardly a chair or table to sit on. They were taken by the dogs and so, covered with urine and excrements. Not hard to understand, because there was a whole group of dogs permanently. Later it became clear to me, these were the dogs to scare to step outside: they were so traumatised, when they would dare to go out, they would be torn up by their "loving" own sort. Some of these terrified animals had very serious bite wounds and
other wounds: probably sustained at one of the daily fights, occurring when Pat is alone with the dogs. None of these wounds was taken care of. The animals would lie down with the open wounds into the excrements and risk infections and so on.

- In the periods April and July-August I noticed the dogs were eating their own excrements ( which was almost fluid).A shortage of food or needed nutrients??

- In The kennels, the corridors and the patio's the shit had gathered, so much it was impossible to see the floor. The tiles and concrete were almost invisible.
- Most gutters were clogged up, so urine and excrements where piled up in it. Dogs would regularly lick it up and soon be vomiting.
- For the whole area there was just one automatic watering place working. The other water places were broken or not working good and full of dead flies, alges and other mess. They were obvious never flushed or cleaned.
- The whole area was littered with all kinds of rubbish: chewed up plastic, bags, cans, pieces of fabric, pieces of iron, rubber hosepipes, needles... Everything soaked with urine, so bad in the soil under it maggots were thriving.
- The storage room for the food was every time almost empty. The left food was gnawed at by mice and rats and  never enough to feed all dogs one more day. Quality of the dry food was also questionable, it was moulded.
- In the kennels were the dogs were squeezed together there were sometimes blankets or other cloths, but they all were soaked by the urine and excrements. It seems to me that most people would find the smell unbearable.
- In spite of the fact there are plenty of kennels, the animals were locked up with as much as possible into one kennel. Pat admitted it to reduce cleaning, to her alone it was to much work...
- The sewage disposal from the washing machine was open to the air. Dogs would drink this especially in the summer period.
- There were males threatening and overawing each other constantly and around the females in season.
- All the materials ( work and cleaning gear) was piled up and covered with a layer dust and sand.
- Cleaning gear was unfindable at first. Wheelbarrows, needed to collect shit and garbage all had a flat tire and were useless.

Conclusions during work.

- Also for the three periods. Pat did not help one day She was  nowhere to be found. Or she was gone, or in her office behind the computer e-mailing or playing cards, or she had strategically withdrawn and sleeping some where. If she showed up it was for business concerning herself, like putting clothes in the washer, go through her
things or checking if she thought things went to her desire...
- Animals she brought back from the vet and needed further care, she never cared for herself. Often I cared ( nursing wounds and  covering  them,...) for the animals on my own initiative.
- Though she claimed all animals were treated against ticks, I spent long hours removing these parasites. Wherever I was, there were always dogs filled with them. It was a case of removing them one by one and
give the dog 'Kiltix' afterwards. I had it always with me. I had to steal it from her "infirmerie" at moments she was  gone, because after I had asked her for it she would remark: not needed, all dogs are treated.
- Her management regarding the food and water supply left a lot to be desired. With good management you will make sure there is enough food and water for several days. You never know if there is going to happen something not foreseen and you could be forced to get back to your  reserves. I had to remind Pat every time to the limited food and water and still she would wait until the last bag of dogfood and the last bucket of water to order new. Result was: Several times the dogs went practically a whole day without food or water. Which lead to other problems. The routine I was working on, to feed the animals on regular hours was interrupted, so I would again need a few days to get the animals back to a steady pattern. And dogs are just like people, no food, big displeasure and protest. the dogs became nervous again and every minor irregularity could lead to skirmishes. On  those days I had my hands full, keeping the group under control and avoiding them to eat ( literally) each other. twice I paid for the water myself, because she had urgent business at the moment of delivery....
- The quality of the dry dog food was questionable, especially the first two periods. Every bag of dry dogwood, delivered by her (umpteenths) steady supplier, was moulded. Not once she gave a comment on that to the supplier. The consequence was the shit was as good as liquid and the dogs were not satisfied. It went in on top and came out right away on the back.... To the flies a perfect surrounding to lay their eggs. to me more of a curse, this kind of substances are hard  to  clean, certainly on bad maintained and broken floorings of  concrete with cracks and dents.

- The better quality dog food, donated by several People and organisations, is not used for the dogs who need it the most.This means: Often Pat was tired of so many dogs in her office. You know what she did? She would get a bag of the more expensive dogwoods (Hills, Waldham, Frolic, Eukanuba,...) from the storage room, went back to the office, opened the door and called, while she was tearing
the bag open and scattered the food : "come outside sweeties,  goodies for you, njam, njam." The result being that not just the dogs from the inside, but also a big part of the dogs outside raced for the food. So there would be a huge uproar, with bites and growls as a result. Not uncommonly I had to jump in to avoid worse. Not seldom I wondered why people had made the effort to bring her expensive, quality food.
- Pat isn't able to be careful with money. This is what I men: regularly I found pieces of chewed on money and picked it from the ground. Not seldom it were 50 Euro notes. Most frequent finding
places were her office and her "sleeping place" ( Pat slept in one of the cages) between the shit and pee. Money was careless pulled out of  her pocket and thrown onto the table or closet. No problem for the dogs to fetch it and have fun with it.

- Medical supplies are kept in Pats "infirmary". Not in closed  closets, but on open shelves on the ground. A hit every day: dogs  pulled out all kind of things and "played" with it. From injection needles and syringes to anti-biotics and other drugs, disinfectants, bandages, scalpels, scissors, ... Unbelievable, the medical materials  I found back in shit, urine and dirt, irreparable damaged...If the volunteers who made the effort to collect this, would see
it...What  fortune was eaten here, literally and figuratively spoken!...
- Pat didn't want people stay over at night on her domain. She loved her privacy. So every night I left the area to spend the night somewhere else. Consequence was I had no control on things I realised during the day. A few  examples.... As I noticed at my arrival, there  hardly was any water for the dogs. Seen the heat during summer,
water was a necessity. So I placed big barrels and buckets everywhere  there were dogs ( the kennels, the patio's, and on the domain) and filled them on a regular base. This went well until the evenings, but when I returned in the morning, Pat had removed the barrels and buckets. I never commented on that but replaced them every morning. Every day  again. I was aware that a remark from me would go the wrong way with Pat. Another example: to avoid fights between male for a female in season, or preventing a cover would be done I placed the females in one of the patio's. regularly I could go and get them back from the area, because Pat had let them go at night. The days this happened I would  hear this from a far. the dogs would be noisier than usual while I was approaching the area. Ant not seldom there would be several new injuries on the dogs...

- Also the dogs who needed recovery for one or another reason and were separated by me, like sterilised females, I found back the next day between the other dogs.
- As I said before: any remark or suggestion from my side would add up to the tension between me and Pat. Every time she would react infuriated and impulsive, she was always right and I was always wrong,
I misunderstood, or there was a misapprehension. So I kept silent and did what I thought was right to the animals.
- Prove Pat never separates females in season is given by the fact  there are always heavily pregnant females around. Pat solves this problem" very simple" she just let the females to fend for themselves. Nature will take care of it, she used to say. Which meant: when the moment of birth was there, the female tries to find a shelter, for example under a bush and gives birth. This is impossible on a mountain  where are hundreds of dogs around. Totally desperate and aggressive they try to keep other dogs at a distance. Those will wait until the new-born will make its first noises and will dart on to it. With some luck, the pup will not know to much from it, because several
dogs pulling on the little body will immediately tear it into pieces. Sometimes the pup is not so lucky: when a dog  will succeed to keep it to itself. That the pup will be eaten with taste, because the dogs are hungry: first the behind part and the head is kept until the last. In this case the pup will live his short live in a gruesome way. Sadly, I had to see this "live" on a few occasions, because I didn't succeed  in separating the females in time. Sometimes their bellies didn't show. 
- Because I worked from the early morning to the late evening I was, luckily, able to collect most heavily pregnant females. I would shelter them in one of the kennels and gave them some clean blankets to lay on, so they could give birth in peace. At least, as long Pat was not repeating her daily game: letting the females out again. A few times I was able to separate females in the morning while they were giving birth and put them into a kennel. How many pups were eaten in the meanwhile I didn't know. The image of the terrified, totally desperate and helpless females is engraved into my mind.
- With great devotion and love I would take care of the mother and the new-borns. I gave them high protein and extra food and would check up on them regularly. The gratitude I could see in the eyes of the female, would make up for a lot. However...the next thing would happen again and again. The evening before leaving I would check their water and food for the night. When I went looking the next morning, the pups were gone. Only the mother would be in the kennel, looking at me with a question in her eyes. What should she do without her pups? Nature would provide her with enough milk, but what should she do with it? And because of her motherly instincts she was searching the kennel
for her pups. Pups " euthanised" by Pat, because she could not take care of all the small fry. A few times I found a plastic bag, filled with dead pups...

- Twice I forced, with much difficulty, Pat to visit the vet. Both times it was about a female that was bleeding to death. One of them in front of Pats eyes, the other I found, luckily, just in time, in the morning. With the female, that Pat let dead calm, lie in her office, it was a phantom pregnancy, whereby a tumour developed which burst open. With the other female it was a complication during giving birth.  Later we found she had three decomposed pups in her womb. .

- In the beginning of every period, daily fights on live and death occurred. I was so fortunate to prevent, several times, that an animal was eaten. Except for the one time I arrived in the morning and I found a number of dogs to dispose of the remains of a just tore up dog. After a few days ( at the most a week) I had everything under control and there were no more fights. Until I was at home a few days and Pat would tell me in an e-mail there was another "red nose day". Red nose is Pats name for the fact the dogs  who helped eating their congener have their noses covered in red blood.
- At the beginning of my stay, Pat was always swarmed round by dozens of dogs, who would follow her as a shadow. After time passing the number of dogs following her would lessen and they would stay near me. Especially around 11Am this was remarkable. This was a conditioned reflex: if Pat is alone, they will follow her, hoping to get some  food. It is impossible for Pat to fill all troughs in the dining area every day, so she will throw an open bag of food on the ground once in a while. So it is grab whatever you can...Being so much dogs around
me at 11 AM , was just because they knew I was going to fill the troughs in the dining room.
- After spending hours on clearing all the mess (plastic, bags,wood, fabric,...) the area would be cluttered with all kinds of stuff the next day. This wasn't so hard , I noticed Pat doing it: leaving stuff behind and letting bin-bags behind on the area. For the dogs a fine opportunity to search for a new "toy".
- Dogs that arrived new from Albacete, Almendralejo, or the Barcelona track, were released into the pack almost immediately. Real spooked dogs she would sometimes keep a few days into her office, but soon she would be fed up with them and they would meet the same fate. So  there was no Quarantaine period, no control on diseases, injuries or parasites...
- It happened a few times that Pat would go to pick up a dog from  a patio, to get there she would have to pass the supply room were all the food is stored. Almost every time she succeeded to let a dog  go in there. Consequences: half of the bags and /or cans was destroyed by a enthusiastic dog that was having a party for himself. This would  also go for the expensive food.
- It was not uncommonly for dogs to escape the territory, when food or water was delivered. Not strange, the gates had to be open wide to enter with the truck. Sometimes the animals returned by themselves, sometimes we never heard anything again. Except for the few occasions we heard from the police, that these animals drowned in a pool  or water reservoir...
- To Pat these dogs were a group of defenceless individuals, she could vent her frustrations and moods on. It wasn't always "hello sweethearts, hello lovelies." but also often "fucking dogs, you bastards,."accompanied or not by hitting or kicking. Of course this would not happen when there were visitors... 

Personal conclusions

As a 43 year old man I already had my hands filled with keeping the  shelter under control and had to little time to give the animals the attention they really needed. Pat, being a 61 year old woman is physically totally unfit to run a   animal shelter all by herself.
- Her knowledge of giving first aid is inadequate. This showed a few times when it was necessary to give first aid  to animals. 
- Luckily I always succeeded to stop fights by throwing myself, literally, between the fighting animals. the only thing pat  seemed capable off, was yelling "no, no", and hoping it would stop...
- Hygiene on the property is appalling. it may be called a miracle there are no more diseases and infections...
- There is no order in the centre for the animals. They are living in a constant stress situation. Never knowing when there is food or water available. And on occasions there is something, the law of the strongest will apply.
- On the area is nothing like a living space for humans. Every thing will happen between the dogs, sleep, wash, eat, go to the bathroom,...
- It is my opinion that Pat has not a grain of love for animals and for the dogs that are put into her care no sense of
responsibility. Except for some favourite dogs, the others are left to fend for themselves. Just think of the males and females living together, males not being castrated to prevent aggression and pregnancies, the place is filling with dogs who have mange, are covered with flees and ticks, with wounds that aren't cared for,...
- On a human level there is also something wrong I think. An  open conversation with Pat is absolute impossible. She is always right  and never open to other ideas. The work of the may volunteers is barely appreciated. The only thing she actually does is make demands. One  should think she would be thankful for any help.


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