Sunday, January 29, 2017

Spain: British expat’s dogs shot dead and her horse’s eyes gouged by vengeful gang of Spanish hunters after she refused to let them shoot on her land

SPAIN -- A British expat’s dogs were shot dead by rampaging gunmen in a sickening revenge attack in Spain.

The hunters massacred the dogs and gouged the eye of a horse out after creeping on to the property in the dead of night.

Locals believe the slayings were a part of a revenge attack because landowner Illona Mitchell refused to let them hunt on her land.

The 48-year-old left Britain in 2004 to live in Sierra de Baza in southern Spain after purchasing 173 hectares of land for £100,000.

She had initially allowed hunters to shoot pheasants, deer, wild board and rabbits because it is part of the country’s culture.

But as her rescue centre grew, the animal lover decided to seek a ban on hunting, which was granted in May last year.

Since then, she has been the victim of late-night visits to the home she shares with Spanish partner Isi Doro, 39, and 11-year-old daughter Ella.

The former restaurant manager, from Chester, told the Daily Mail, said: “I am sickened as to why someone would carry out such a cruel and barbaric attack on innocent, defenceless animals.

“As rescue dogs, they have already suffered mistreatment or at the very best have been ignored. And just when they reach a place of supposed sanctuary, they are made to suffer even more.”

She continued: “The only motive I can think of is hunters getting revenge. I recently stopped hunting on my land, and made this clear to all local hunting groups.

“It has led to me receiving harassment from local hunters calling at my house. They have also stopped me in the street, hurling insults and intimidating me. This happens several times a week.

“They even forged my signature on an official document, suggesting I was happy for them to hunt on my land.

“Others said they would carry on hunting regardless. But this is not going to drive me away. I appreciate I have a problem to deal with, but it’s not going to stop me caring for abandoned animals.”

The twisted hunters are believed to have shot the dogs with pistols hours after locals attended a parade to mark Three Kings Day, or the Epiphany.

Illona believes the horror attack had been planned for a night when the police would be busy elsewhere.

Pal Mandy Lewis and her husband found the slain bodies of the dogs when they arrived at the kennels the next morning.

Three crossbreeds – Dizzy, seven, Coco, two, and two-month-old Maisie – were dead after being shot in the head, but two others were still alive.

German shepherd Jack, five, had been blasted through the roof of the mouth. He died within half an hour of being taken to a vet.

Crossbreed Domingo, three, was shot in the side of the face and died the next morning. A sixth dog is missing.

Mandy, 44, said: “All of a sudden I heard my husband screaming, ‘They’re dead, they’re dead. The dogs are dead’.

“I quickly ran up to where he was. It’s the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Our life here now feels a bit tainted. Some part of what we were all trying to achieve here has been lost.”

Police have now beefed up security in the area after telling Illona it was one of the worst attacks on animals they had seen.

Officers have questioned some hunters, but no arrests have been made.

(The Sun UK - Jan 23, 2017)