Exclusive by Tom Powell 

IT began as an idyllic mountain walk for one expat family, with their two daughters, 7 and 11, and their Pomeranian dog, Montgomery.

But happiness quickly turned to horror when a local man viciously attacked their dog, leaving it unconscious and unlikely to ever walk again.

The couple, Swede Isabel Saunders-Lagrilliere and Canadian husband Michael, have now denounced the 70-something Spanish pensioner, who smashed the dog’s head with a rock after it frightened his chickens.

They have called in police and a lawyer after spending a hefty €2,000 on the veterinary bill, which ‘only just’ saved his life.

However, the court case is expected to be at least a year away.

“We were all in a terrible state of shock, and it’s a miracle our dog survived at all,” Saunders-Lagrilliere told the Olive Press. “This man must learn what he did was wrong.”

The two-year-old animal had been attacked while the family were on a walk between Bubion and Pampaneira in the Alpujarras.

The couple, who run a mountain bike company, were half way along the walk when they came across some large chickens and Montgomery started barking.

“We were all amused by the charming rurality of it until suddenly, without any warning, an old man ran out from the bushes and hurled a large rock at his head from less than a metre away,” she continued.

“Monty fell to the ground unconscious, bleeding profusely from his nose.”

The farmer then picked up another large rock and took aim again, only for their 11-year-old daughter to heroically crouch over the dog to protect him.

The dog was hospitalised for six days, two of which he was in a coma after his heart stopped beating for four minutes. He may never regain full movement.

The family, who live in Marbella but own a holiday home in Bubion, denounced the attacker to police in Orgiva, and an investigation is currently underway.

The children are now frightened to return to their home, while their father is currently unable to cycle after sustaining a knee injury in the attack.


  1. don t waist your money on court……we have seen in recent years how they treat animals here…and how the court thinks about that…..I have 2 dogs….if any one would try such a thing with them…..it would not go to court…

  2. Paco Gonzalez: My dog was on a lead when the incident happened. We were walking along a Camino Real, the busiest one in the area for walkers. The chickens should NOT have been sitting in the middle of that camino!!!

  3. I spent 11 years living in Spain, and have been bitten by dogs three times out running and cycling on the coast and in the campo. Sometimes chased by several dogs, which is frightening. It amazes me when a dog owner says, oh he wont touch you, but how do I know that. I remember running on the beach at Carib Playa, and would see an older guy running with a cosh, It wasn’t long until I realised that the cosh was for fending off dogs. On that beach I lost count the amount of times a dog would run after me/jump on me. Once a young girl had a doberman and it jumped on me and scratched my leg badly that it bled.
    Why can’t dog owners keep their dogs on a lead.
    I bet this little Pomeranian was aggressive and scared the shite out of the chickens, I sympathise with the farmer, but he went over the top doing what he did.

  4. I grew up in the ” charming rurality” of the English countryside that some city folks like to fantasize about. There, it was quite common, and perfectly legal for a farmer to kill any dog found harassing his animals — including chickens! He didn’t have to prove that the dog was hurting the animals, merely “worrying” them. We kids were strictly taught to always keep our pets on a leash, or face the consequences.

    What if these people had taken their dog walking unleashed in the city and it had been hit by a truck? Would they now be suing the truck driver for cruelty on the street?

    This was a tragic event, mortifying for the children, and entirely the fault of the parents.

    I also have to comment on the progression of the dog’s condition this article from “brain dead”, to “unlikely to walk again”, to “two days in a coma”, to “his heart stopped beating for four minutes”, and finally “may never regain full movement”. As for the owner’s “knee injury”, isn’t that piling it on just little too deep?.

  5. Have you ever noticed how chickens run away from just about anything let alone a dog? In my view it’s the farmer that needs to be on a lead & a very short one at that! Furthermore if that’s his way of tending animals, then of course he should be banned from owning or looking after any animals in the future.

  6. My dog was attacked on a ‘Camino Real’ and official trail (part of the European route called the GR-7), designated to walkers, cyclists and horse riders. We were at no point on ‘farming land’ where there is live stock, anyone who has been to Bubion or Pampaneira would know that it’s harsh mountain land, not a farming area. Nobody knows why this local farmer/shepherd lets his hens out on the walking trail but we were told that various tourist guides had encountered them there before and that they were being perceived as a nuisance. I would also like to repeat that my dog was on a lead during the incident.

  7. Or to put it bluntly to all of you who are defending the ‘farmer’ as to have been in his right when he attacked my dog and children: you take your farm animals, let it be chickens, goats, cows or whatever and let them loose on a motorway, then when the first car hits them you jump out and shoot the driver in the head with your shotgun! Chickens would not be let out on a busy walkway by anyone concerned with their safety!

  8. Good luck getting justice, you’ll be in for a long wait Isabel.

    “I bet this little Pomeranian was aggressive and scared the shite out of the chickens”

    OP – candidate for dumbest comment of the year (decade?) award, please.

  9. Thanks Jane :) It has been, and still is, a nightmare. The person who attacked us was not a ‘normal’ farmer but rather a drunk, raging madman who went at my dog, children and myself with an aggression and intent to kill that leaves me shivering. He is known by the local police and currently on trial for burning another local family’s land and farm down. He has an ongoing record of aggressive assaults and that is my motivation for taking the case as far as I have, I simply believe that this is a very dangerous person and that he shouldn’t be free to harass people as it pleases him. I shudder to think of how much worse this could have ended when my girl tried to protect her little dog…

  10. Yes, my dog was on a lead. As I said, it’s a very busy trail and it was a bank holiday (Todos Los Santos), there were people on bikes, horses and other tourists with dogs. My dog is a 3.5 kilo Pomeranian, I always have him on a lead to protect him from others, not to protect others from him!

  11. So he is not just a farmer but a drunk raging madman who attacked with an intent to kill not just the dog, but the children and woman too. Has he been arrested for any of these allegations. Has the Olive Press made any attempt to get further information about this very serious allegation. The ‘always used’ dog lead is not visible in the above photograph so not the best one to use for this version of events.

  12. refill: I have lived in Spain for 20 years and spent time in the Alpujarras over the last 35 years. I know the area well and there is no way I would waste my time with the rural Guardia Civil and my money on an expensive court case had this not been a VERY serious attack! Further details can obviously not be revealed till after the hearing.

  13. Isabel, good luck with your case. Your daughter was very brave.

    Purely for defensive purposes, I would evaluate carrying walking stick or telescopic steel baton on all trail or bike rides. Saved my bacon twice in a couple remote areas near Ronda.

  14. The law clearly is put a lead on the dog. The man protected his chickens so it comes down to that the law breakers are the people who broke the law namely the dog owners. The question is if he maybe used more force than neccessary.
    Personly I think the English dog lovers should go home again
    if they can’t respect that moust people do not like to meet dogs without a leach.

  15. It’s interesting how many people obsess on the matter of the lead, just like how many people obsess on how a woman is dressed when she gets assaulted…
    As I have mentioned before, my 3.5 kilo dog was on a lead at the time of the incident and he was way more afraid of those 4kg country hens invading the public road then they were of him!

  16. Robert McCuloch : do you realize what you have posted ? i guess not…..There is no reason what so ever, to react so violent and destructive to this dog in this situacion….
    that farmer is a frustrated, old grump`y man…hoping that ,in hurting other people, his own misery will go away..

  17. Isabel, we only have your version of events. You said at one point that further details cannot be revealed until after the court case. If the court believes you and not the farmer, we will all believe you. Unfortunately, some dog owners are not as responsible as you claim to be, but none of them ever admit it.

  18. Kb: That was precisely the scary thing about the attack; that there was no previous warning, no shouting, no time for me to react and protect my dog.. Within less than a second the man dashed out onto the trail and smashed my dogs head in. And again, I repeat; this was not on a farm, it was on a busy public walking/cycling/riding trail (GR-7). What makes you think this man was concerned with the safety of his chickens if that’s where he takes them to feed? Also, maybe you should look into Spanish laws for letting farm animals lose on public trails and roads before criticising dog owners so vehemently?

  19. Isabel: Try to ignore the trolls. Some people take pleasure in making people feel worse than they already do.
    The person you took the trouble to answer for instance, doesn’t read other comments (if he can) he simply practises his English writing, but not with comprehension. Others fancy themselves as beer house barristers. Ignore ’em and get that nutter nailed!

  20. @kb, Isabel has already told you that the dog was on a leash (leach?). It is not at all easy to pull a dog in on a leash when the person attacks you by surprise and throws a rock. Can you pull a dog in faster than a moving rock? Carry on posting if you want to be a bigger laughing stock than you already are, kb.

  21. Don’t worry Isabel, your dramatic story has the man tried and convicted by the impartial commenters on this page. Seems almost a shame that it will have to go to court and hear what the man has to say for himself.

  22. Derek, ‘If that happened round our way he’d be truly sorted out. Legally or otherwise.’ It was only the other day that you were stating not to use violence to get a ‘squatter’ / tenant out of a property.

    I know the people within inland Spain have no regard for animals, different to this story I know but they shoot stray dogs as they look upon them as a nuisance, they have a completely different attitude to animals than the UK population, they think of them as vermin. Others have dogs that can only be described as bark machines as they leave them chained up all day and night to keep thieves away, and I do not see what good they are as they just bark all night, so how do you know if you have a burglar when they don’t stop barking the entire night, and are the owners deaf as well as I can hear them 400 mtrs away when I am trying to sleep. See, you think you will buy a countryside property for some peace and quiet only to realise it is noisier than where I am living in the UK with a houses either side just a few mtrs away.

    At one of my friends places the local idiots even go out with their shots guns and shoot small finches and the lead pellets manage to carry on some distance and hit his windows, so he goes out there.. What is the point of shooting finches, mindless shooting, not even for food. It is a different culture over there and from my travels, they are not he only Country like it. I don’t think you will make them have a British mentality, ever and I am not referring to the story here, but if you cannot stand their ways then maybe people should not move there as you could cause yourself a lot of aggravation. Anyway, that is me for a while, work to do.

  23. If this goes to court, the old guy will only have to produce a copy of the above photo. It certainly disproves any claim about the dog normally being on a lead. If the man is as dangerous as claimed here, he deserves punishment, but this photo will not help a case against him.

  24. Tim a person like you doesn’t belong here in Spain go back to Uk.
    Paco Gonzales you are right but Fred automatically think the dog owner is in the right because it was a Spanish farmer who throw the stone.

    Come out from your cave Fred so you mean if I defend a Spanish person I is laughing stock. Stefanjo and Fred under what stone did you find that tim. Lol

  25. I doubt if it will get to court, although it should. You don’t read about this stuff in driving over lemons do you.

    The campo can be hell on earth when you see the suffering of some of these dogs daily and none of the Spanish give a damn.

  26. Kb, most people do not think you are a laughing stock for trying to defend a spanish person. Your English is good so ignore the people who criticise it. It would be interesting to see how good they are at Spanish. Some people who comment on a regular basis are obviously unhappy here in Spain or have had a bad experience. Their bitterness shows. Many of us don’t feel that way. I personally love the country, it’s culture and people. Please keep commenting.

  27. Thank you refill yes i am not English just doing my best to communicate in it in this chat. I think I can get a long in a feew languages without being native. Now a few words to the dog owner claiming she was Swedish.

    To Swede Isabel
    Om du nu är Svensk så tycker jag synd att din hund vart stenad men allt pekar ju på att den inte var kopplad. Bilder osv.
    Generellt här i Spanien är det ett stort problem med skällande hundar men ochså en fara för andra djur t:ex kycklingar därför förstår jag den Spanske bondens desperata vrede.
    To Fred Stefanjo and little tim you can find via google that this a friendly and not offensive text.

  28. Bryan, calm down, the subject is an unpleasant incident involving a dog owned by an expat and a local spanish man. People should be able to express different opinions without being insulted. Isabel is making extremely serious allegations here about a local man, but it is not us she has to convince. I hope she gets her day in court.

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