Brit expat finds rescue dogs shot dead and horse injured in overnight attack

Published:  24 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, Emigration
The British expat owner of a Spanish farm woke to find her five rescue dogs shot dead and her horse with its eye gouged out in an horrific attack.

Illona Mitchell bought her Spanish estate in 2004 after emigrating to the country with her young daughter, and was using part of the land as an animal rescue centre. The 173 acre farm in the Sierra de Baza mountains soon became a refuge for horses, abandoned dogs and local wildlife.

For some years Mitchell allowed locals to roam across the estate in order to shoot pheasants and rabbits, accepting that hunting was an ancient part of Spanish culture. However, as the centre had become more successful, she decided last May to withdraw her permission, banning hunting on her land and threatening heavy fines to those who ignored the ban.

Local hunters were furious at her decision, attempting to intimidate Mitchell, her daughter and her farmer partner Isi Doro both in the nearby village and late at night on the estate. The horrific attack happened after a nearby village had hosted a parade celebrating Catholic Spain’s Three Kings Day, and seems to have been planned to coincide with an event which kept local police occupied elsewhere.

Friend and co-worker Mandy Lewis and her husband found five of Mitchell’s favourite dogs either dead or fatally injured and one of her horses with its eye gouged out when they arrived the following morning. All the dogs had been shot. Mitchell, her partner, Lewis and her husband are traumatised and sickened at the wanton cruelty of the massacre, and are convinced the hunters are responsible.

Local police and detectives told Olive Press the attack was the worst they’d seen and are providing regular nighttime patrols to keep an eye on the farm. Vets are struggling to treat the still-terrified horse in the hopes its eye can be saved. Other local rescue centres and animal charities are offering help, police investigations are continuing and rewards are being offered for information on the assailants.
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