23 Jan, 2017 @ 09:46
2 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: Spanish hunters suspected of animal slaughter on British expat’s farm

Attack   e
SLAIN: Domingo

Additional reporter: Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead 

A BRITISH expat has called in police after finding five of her dogs executed in a late-night massacre.

SLAIN: Domingo
SLAIN: Domingo

First reported by the Olive Press last week, the Guardia Civil are now investigating the horrific attack that also left one of Illona Mitchell’s horses with its eye gouged out.
The detectives from the environment section Seprona told Mitchell, 48, that it was one of the worst attacks they had seen and were visibly shocked by it.
They have put on extra patrols to keep an eye on the estate at weekends and at night.


“I am sickened as to why someone would carry out such a cruel and barbaric attack on innocent, defenceless animals,” she told the Olive Press last week.



SICKENING: Rocco's eye after attack
SICKENING: Rocco’s eye after attack

The mother-of-one, who bought her estate in mountains near Granada in 2004, found the five rescue dogs shot in their pens on January 6, the night of the Reyes (Three Kings).
Her beloved seven-year-old Dizzy, ‘one of the friendliest dogs you will ever meet’ and a puppy called Maisie were shot dead at the gates of their pens.
Meanwhile Coco and Domingo, were shot in their beds, with Mitchell believing they had cowered in their kennels before being killed in cold blood.
Coco, two, had been shot at point-blank range between the eyes, while three-year-old Domingo was shot through the side of his face.
attack-1-1They later found Jack, a six-year-old German Shepherd, having convulsions under a nearby tree, but despite being rushed to the vets he died 30 minutes later.
An X-ray showed he also had a bullet shot through the roof of his mouth.

Meanwhile, one of Mitchell’s 12 horses was also attacked, so savagely that its eye may have to be removed.
Vets have been struggling to treat the four-year-old, named Rocco, because he has become too nervous and skittish.
Deeply traumatised by the attack – that thankfully was not seen by her daughter Ella, 11 – Mitchell continued: “I am so angry that someone would do something as disgusting as this to innocent animals.”


Illona Mitchell
Illona Mitchell

Mitchell, from Chester, believes the attack is linked to her recent decision to ban hunters from her huge 173-hectare estate that sits in stunning scenery in the Sierra de Baza.
“The only motive I can think of is hunters getting revenge,” she said. “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.”


Ella with mum Illona and their rescues ©theolivepress
Ella with mum Illona and their rescues ©theolivepress

She hired a solicitor after reporting a number of these incidents to the local police and town hall of Caniles in the previous months.
She believes the attack was planned on a night when the police would be extremely busy with it being Three Kings Day and a national holiday the next day.


Zimba (left) and Cilla survived the attack but are severely traumatised ©theolivepress
Zimba (left) and Cilla survived the attack but are severely traumatised ©theolivepress

Only three dogs survived the attack while one remains unaccounted for.

Ella has been extremely upset by the incident.

“I’ve had trouble sleeping since,” she told the Olive Press, “I get such feelings of anger, how could you look an innocent dog in the eye and shoot it? I just don’t get it.”
A series of reward posters to try and catch the assailants are going up around the area.
Animal charities and rescue centres have been offering help, as have the general public via a crowdfunding page, to help pay for the vets’ bill.

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

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  1. Sadly, cruelty, retribution and revenge of this kind from disturbed people still persists. The behavior is common enough that it is considered ‘normal’ by many people. Or at least they fear getting involved with guardia civil and the perpetrators.
    I posted my 10 hectare semi-wooded, mountain side finca with No Hunting No Trespass signs. The signs precipitated trouble from hunters. First, the signs were largely ignored till I made it clear that I would call SEPRONA if trespassers with guns persisted.
    Some weeks later, as I was cutting weeds a few meters from a Prohibido Entrada I had posted, I heard a shot ring out, immediately a ‘cracking’ noise, and turned to see a bullet hole in the posted sign a few meters from me. I could see several hunters across the narrow valley on the pena side.
    Some months later the kind woman who runs Donkey Paradise – a nearby sanctuary for abused and abandoned burros – was threatened by a local hunter who told her while waving his gun, “You foreigners come here and buy the best fincas, then won’t let us have our right to hunt. Instead you run these worthless enterprises. Saving old sick donkeys! Who the f&&@k are you to tell me I can’t do what I have done all my life”.
    Hunters here are almost all livestock herders. Their hangout is an old Franco era eatery and bar whose walls are covered with Francoist memorabilia and mounted heads of dead animals. Guardia Civil is indifferent to bad behavior of hunters and ganaderos, but the nearby SEPRONA office does investigate.
    So ingrained are these old culture habits that it will take a couple more generations to change. A very senior politician with whom I spoke warned that pushing for compliance too hard and too fast will likely cause a violent backlash from that social stratum. A professor himself, he also reminded me how difficult ‘adult education is. Change of habits stress adult brains. That’s how it is. Only time, education and the will of the population will sort it out.
    While we, as progressive outsiders, should and must resist this kind of ghastly anti-social behavior, those pathological individuals who do these things may prove to be more stubborn than liberal foreigners. After all, Francoist attitudes robustly continue on.

    • Sorry Chas, but fail to see why the use of Franco´s adjectivation to all you see wrong. And I understand as liberal if you allow these people trepass as they have been doing for generations with due respecto to the property and propietor. How do you know the eatery was started at Francos´period and what´s the memorabilia? since hunting trophies are common even in the Isles pubs.

  2. What a horrific and brutal attack, my heart goes out to this family. Anyone who is capable of this is barely human and should not be free to roam the streets. I hope they catch them soon and before they strike again.

  3. Spain has a horrific record for animal neglect and abuse.until penalties and better tracking of animals are introduced it will.continue.
    I have personally witnessed dog s abandoned in Spain If you would not harm a child why would you harm an animal.This makes animal abusers dangerous people a risk to society.what torturing the
    Bast Ards see how they like it.

  4. I sorry, It is an execrable crime commited for bad persons .

    But to acuse to the hunters without proofs is absolutelly mistaken.

    Yor claim that to mistreat to animals is franquist , is so absurd as to claim that is budist, or chinese, or nazi. This crime is an evil thing by himself andu not have any relation with any idelogy.

  5. hope they do the same to these so called humans!

    BTW: MOST SPANISH PEOPLE IN SPAIN OPPOSE ANIMAL CRUELTY! Spanish people are the best race in the world!!!!

    don’t get fooled by any moaning BRITS on this website! not Euro expats, I mean actual BRITS! moaning cockneys mainly (you know.. the loud piercing cutting voice whenever out! ..saying really rude thick dumb things!!)

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