Hampstead charity that saves greyhounds abandoned to die wins Wetnose Animal Rescue Award
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
While most pedigree pooches are counted as prized possessions, Martin Humphery is fighting to find homes for thousands of thoroughbred greyhounds who are abandoned to die.
Every year a host of the traditional racing dogs are dumped, or worse brutally killed, by their impoverished owners in the wildlands of central Spain.
The greyhounds, used to hunt rabbits and hares, are expensive to feed and during winter their owners often turf out their faithful pets to save money.
Over the last 10 years Mr Humphery, chairman of Greyhounds In Need, has been working tirelessly to save more than 6,000 of the abandoned pets – adopting two himself.
On Monday, March 11 the charity won the best welfare success award at the Burgess Wetnose Animal Rescue Awards in Knightsbridge – the ‘Oscars’ for animal charities.
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Mr Humphery’s current companion Percy was found ensnared in a fox trap when he was scavenging for food, but was saved by a rescue centre supported by the charity, of which Hampstead actor Peter Egan is a patron.
It has taken months for the eight-year-old dog to get used to Mr Humphery and be comfortable enough to walk on Hampstead Heath.
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Mr Humphery, from Willoughby Road, in Hampstead, said: “All these horrible things happen to them, their owners hang them, throw them down wells and if they survive they often have very bad injuries.
“Percy was absolutely terrified of everyone and it took me about eight months to get him round.”
Percy is one of 30 greyhounds which are brought over to the UK every year with the help of Greyhounds Matter.
In total the charity helps to house up to 600 dogs a year across Europe, but the problem isn’t about to disappear.
“It’s certainly not getting any better, with Spain being in financial trouble too,” said Mr Humphery, who used to work in the motor trade.
“All those struggling rescue centres which are run on a shoestring have relied on money from local authorities which has just dried up. We’re helping where we can.
“Greyhounds are excellent pets, they don’t need a lot of exercise because they do that themselves with one big run and then they just sleep.
“They’re couch potatoes really and very good with cats.”
To find out more about the charity visit www.greyhoundsinneed.co.uk