Joanna Lumley and Scottish couple lead fight against hunting dog cruelty in Spain


BRITISH citizens have long been at the forefront of Spain’s nascent animal rights movement, protesting against what they see as the barbarity of local bullfighting traditions and spearheading localised protests against the treatment of donkeys.

Now the plight of often mistreated hunting dogs has entered the public eye and a group of animal lovers from the UK has created the Podenco Alliance to raise awareness of the situation in Spain.

The alliance has now received the endorsement of British comedy legend Joanna Lumley who has a strong history of supporting various little known causes.

The Absolutely Fabulous star and OBE released a public statement, which read:

“The appalling treatment of Spanish hunting dogs strikes a chill to the heart.”

“It is impossible to believe that a country as sophisticated and fine as Spain could tolerate such unforgivable cruelty to living creatures.”

“I add my name to the many who are calling for this inhumanity to be stopped once and for all.”

The alliance is named after a particular breed of hunting dog known as podencos, and claims that they are frequently killed or simply abandoned when deemed too old or slow to be of any use.

Joining forces with other groups dedicated to highlighting their treatment the Podenco Alliance has staged protests outside the Spanish Embassy in London and also demonstrated in Glasgow and Manchester.

Two stories doing the rounds online suggest that a dog named Toby was shot in the eye and left for dead by his owner, while many are hung from trees after serving their purpose.

Hunting dogs are perceived as difficult to rehome and are also rarely considered as pets, being used specifically for their hunting skills, and therefore denied the compassion afforded other domesticated creatures.

While Ms Lumley lends her celebrity gravitas to the cause, a retired Scottish couple are on the ground doing their but to help abandoned and maltreated podencos.

Irene and Steve Allan have rescued and helped rehabilitate around 60 hunting dogs at their dedicated sanctuary in Orihuela.

Named Hope for Podencos their refuge has performed an invaluable service in finding mistreated podencos homes all across the world in the two years since they moved from the UK.


  1. It’s a known fact that when Podencos have served their purpose they are hung from the branch of a tree. If they did well while hunting, they hung by a piece of wire. If they weren’t so good they are also hung from a tree by a piece of wire, but their feet are allowed to touch the ground, so they die a slow and painful death.

  2. Terrible we have a “neighbor” here in Benissa, Alicante with 6 hunting dogs chained-up and incarcerated in a small 2 x 2m tin roofed hole… the temperatures in the summer go more than 50 degrees, the dogs suffer terribly, cry and bark day and night and live in the sheer hell of their own “shit”…. My wife and Mother-in-law are traumatized by this cruelty, complained to the Town Hall and after 8 months they replied that what did we expect living in the Countryside… Have taken photos of these dogs and their suffering but not sure what to do with them as nobody here seems to want to know?

  3. We live in central Andalusia in a small, typically Spanish village, where hunting is the winter ‘sport’. We have three Spanish rescue dogs one is an Orito Podenco Español who was roaming the village two years ago with a length of rope tied tightly around his neck. Our vet said that she thought that he had been hung and we believe that as he was a young dog (6 months no more) that he got the rope between his sharp juvenile teeth and severed it and escaped. He now lives a contented life as a member of our ‘family’. Some Spanish believe that a quick death by the gun is a waste of a bullet.


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