The Setters, Brittanys and Pointers we help are bred and kept for hunting by Spanish Hunters often on compounds away from the family home. In almost all cases, the dogs live their entire lives in cages or small kennels and only go out to hunt, or maybe sometimes when their cages are cleaned, if they are lucky enough to have it cleaned. They usually arrive at the shelters with marks on their elbows from sleeping all their lives on concrete or cold floors. Sometimes we have seen how the food is thrown on the floor of the cage, where they step on it and mix with all the dirt and their own waste on the floor.
The only reason a hunter has a dog is to hunt, not for company. If the dog does not hunt as he wishes, or if he has too many dogs, the hunter will try to get rid of the excess, because he does not want the cost of feeding the extra dogs and he also needs that free space to get another dog that does hunt as he wishes.
When a hunter does not want a dog he usually tries to give it to other hunters, with the problem that if he does not hunt well for that new hunter, then he will try to get rid of the dog again and we have had some dogs that have gone through multiple hunters’ hands and come to us scared and shut down. The hunters also tend to abandon the dogs at the dog pound, at shelters, some even leave them on the street, shoot them, or when they meet us they ask us to take them away.
There are hunters who treat them better of course, and sadly also others who treat them worse than described above and even beat them. What is certain is that their life is very hard due to the conditions in which they live. Their rescue gives them the opportunity of a new life, to be happy and not end up in the wrong hands with a tragic ending. The dogs have never felt the warmth and affection of a family before, nor do they know what it is to sleep in a soft bed. For them being adopted is the greatest happiness of their lives, to be born again.