Once again we have the hunting season upon us. We live in a residential area of Lliber and accept that hunting is a tradition in most rural areas of Spain. There was a ‘Special Hunt’ for wild boar on October 9 and we were told that this hunt would go on all day and it was a legal requirement to keep all pets indoors or enclosed. It was specifically stated that this hunt would take place around residential areas and with the warning about pets, implied that the hunt was dangerous to them. In the event, the hunt was over by lunchtime, few hunters took part and I understand very few animals slaughtered.
During the hunt and for sometime afterwards there were 10 white hunting dogs running around loose behind the houses and, being the sort of dogs they are, an obvious danger to any animal including domestic pets.
However on Monday morning, the 10th we were very alarmed to be blasted by about 10 shotgun explosions, the first two within 50 metres of our urbanisation and the others only slightly further away from us but nearer to other houses. The Guardia Civil were alerted and said they would investigate. We understand that three wild boar had avoided being killed the day before and had ended up being chased into a private garden. Gunmen were either employed or instructed to shoot them, including police officers of some sort and the second fusillade of shotgun blasts was apparently to effect this. Incredibly loud, very dangerous, very nerve shattering. Why not just let the pigs go to survive another hunt another day instead of the horror in a quiet urbanisation?
The following Thursday, Saturday and Sunday continued to be hunting days with shotgun blasts starting at 07.30 on each day, lost dogs roaming everywhere accompanied by manic shouts by their owners for them to return which several of them refused to do and they continued to run around lost during the day.
Saturday, the 22nd the usual 07.30 blasts until mid morning, our free running cats hiding under cars and bushes. One cat of our five was missing and I went down the track behind our houses to look for it. I was not surprised to see a Podenco dog running around lost on the boundary of our and neighbour’s gardens. I shouted at it to go away and it ran away into the woods. The cat crawled out from under a bush, unharmed but looking terrified.
To put icing on the cake, on Sunday the 23rd a hunter obviously oblivious or ignorant of the fact that he was in the middle of an urbanisation, parked his van on an urbanisation road, right in the middle of eight houses and let two dogs out. The 07.30 blasts happened as usual and when the hunter returned at 10.00 I felt compelled to tell him that parking on an urb road with dogs loose and not on leads that were running up and down was very bad and I didn’t like it. I did not enter into an argument with him although he appeared to want to take exception to what I had said. I have the vehicle details if they should be needed but I hope my comments to him will be sufficient to make him think again about parking near us especially with loose dogs in an urb.
I am not a whinging Brit just off the ferry. I have lived in this area of Spain for over forty years and love living here, understand and accept most traditions. As mentioned, I accept that hunting happens in rural areas. My point is and although not holding my breath for answers from the hunting community or the town halls that seem to allow or even sponsor some hunting, why is it seemingly allowed unchecked to have these activities continue in areas where it is not only dangerous but very disturbing and unlawful to have ones dogs loose and under no control? We have to have our dogs on leads even on our own roads, why not the privileged few? And with the vast expanses of uninhabited mountain areas locally, why is it necessary to hunt in urban areas?
Perhaps, Mr. Editor, a quiet question to the local Guardia to answer a couple of points would be possible?
(Perhaps if you print this letter you could leave my name off to avoid the possibility of being ‘accidently’ shot one Sunday!)