FIVE dogs were shot and killed and a horse nearly blinded in a ‘barbaric’ attack which is being blamed on hunters in a national park near Granada.
The plight of Illona Mitchell’s animals has led rescue centres and animal charities from around the world to offer their help.
Enough money has now been raised after pictures of the attacked animals were shared on the internet, to raise money for a reward to find the attackers.
Ms Mitchell, who moved to Caniles from Chester in 2004, owns more than 170 hectares of land in the Sierra de Baza national park.
After she removed her land from the hunting zone in the park, she says she was subjected to verbal abuse in the street, threats and intimidation from hunters angered by her decision.
After reporting these offences Ms Mitchell says Guardia Civil officers mounted patrols on her land, at one stage even scouting round her land at night.
But the attackers then struck on the night of the Three Kings celebrations knowing that officers would be busy and that the following day would be a fiesta.
When Ms Mitchell drove up to her land on January 7 she found dead and dying animals in their kennels and her rescue horse, Rocco, so badly beaten it may lose an eye.
Three of the dogs lay dead, two died later at a vet’s and the horse has been left so traumatised the vet is struggling to get close enough to administer its medication.
Ms Mitchell believes at least two people took part in the attack, one holding the animal while the other fired the shots at almost point blank range.
One dog was shot between the eyes, another was shot through the side of the face and one through the roof of the mouth.
In an attempt to raise the alarm she was forced to bang on the door at the home of a police officer who then alerted members of Seprona to the crime.
“When they arrived they couldn’t believe what they were looking at. It was a vile and barbaric attack,” she says.
Ms Mitchell´s friends have rallied, putting her plight on the internet and even starting a Crowdfunding page to help raise funds for her vet’s bills and put up a reward to find those behind the attacks.
You can find that page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Illona-Mitchell