Finestrat hunters make violent threats

28/11/15 Tradución en Castillano del contexto para los que estan mirando el video en YouTube (mas de 1600 en los ultimos dias):

El problema era en forma de dos coches de Finestrat con perros de caza y tres cazadores con escopetas. Aparcados a 50 metros de mi casa y todos los perros sueltos. Mientras que los cazadores estaban preparando sus armas, los perros correan alrededor de las casas y vi – desde donde yo estaba parado en la huerta con mis burros – tres de ellos entrando en mi casa. Grité a los cazadores para sacar los perros de mi casa!

Inmediatamente un cazador bajó al campo de burros con un perro grande y me dijo no a tomar fotos de él. Dije yo estaba en mi propio campo, tomando fotos de mis propios burros y él no tenía derecho a decirme qué hacer. En ese momento él recogió una gran roca y estaba allí amenazantes lo sostenía y jurar y amenazándome. Dije, “Ahora si, voy tomar una foto!”

Hice tomar una foto y el rápidamente puso la roca hacia abajo, dándose cuenta de que una foto con él con la roca se le incrimina. Aquí él está en ese momento: Comencé a hablar por teléfono a la Policia Local y el cazador rápidamente hizo su retiro. El coche de policía llegó dentro de diez minutos, que era bastante una buena respuesta para un domingo. Me explicó el incidente entero y mostró al policía la foto y la roca real que había amenazado con. Se fue en busca de los cazadores, pero habían ocultados. Él consiguió el registro de ambos coches. Él dijo que sabía al hombre de la foto y hablaría con él más tarde en Finestrat. Lo que sucedió más tarde en aproximadamente 1:00 fue bastante sorprendente. Los tres cazadores, en sus dos coches llenos de perros, volvió a enfrentarme como he trabajado en el campo de burro. Por suerte, les había visto entrar en sus coches y puse mi teléfono de video para registrar el campo en caso de problemas más. Esta horrible escena se graba completamente, con comportamiento muy amenazador y otra vez alguien recogiendo una piedra como si fuera a utilizar en mi contra.

Este video está ahora en manos de la Guardia Civil.  El siguiente es una carta abierta al alcalde de Finestrat.

An Open letter to the Mayor of Finestrat, Juan-Francisco Perez Llorca

Is a quiet life in the country too much to hope for in Finestrat ?  Are we completely at the mercy of hunters making violent threats ?  As Mayor you need to take a close interest in this question, as safety of Finestrat’s citizens is your responsibility.

The usual tranquility of my donkey field was totally ruined this Sunday before the day had hardly begun, and I had to call out the Policia Local and later go to the Guardia Civil office in Finestrat to issue a “denuncia”.  All because of threatening and violent behaviour by local hunters from Finestrat.  I would be interested to know what you, the new Partido Popular Mayor of Finestrat think of the following behaviour and what the Finestrat Council is doing to protect citizens of Finestrat who live in the country area.

I took my camera down to the field at nine o’clock after feeding the donkeys, and took some photos of my donkeys Matilde and Aitana eating some olive branches I had tied to a post.  I still had my camera around my neck when the trouble arrived.

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The trouble was in the form of two cars from Finestrat with hunting dogs and three hunters.  They parked a very short distance from my house and let all the dogs loose.  While the hunters were preparing their guns, the dogs ran all around the houses and I saw – from where I was standing on the donkey field – three of them running into my house.  I shouted to the hunters to get the dogs out of my house!

Immediately a hunter came down to the donkey field with a large dog following him and told me not to take any photos of him.  I said I was on my own field, taking photos of my own donkeys and he had no right to tell me what to do.  At that point he picked up a large rock and stood there menacingly holding it up and swearing and threatening me.  I said, “Right, I will take a photo!”

I made to take a photo and he quickly put the rock down, realizing that a photo with him holding the rock would be incriminating.  Here he is at that moment:

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I began speaking on the phone to the Policia Local and the hunter quickly made his retreat.  The police car arrived within ten minutes, which was quite a good response for a Sunday.  I explained the whole incident and showed the policeman the photo and the actual rock that I had been threatened with.  He went off in search of the hunters but they had hidden themselves.  He did get the registrations of both cars.  He said he knew the man in the photo and would speak to him later in Finestrat.

What happened later at about one o’clock was quite astonishing.  All three hunters, in their two cars full of dogs, returned to confront me as I worked on the donkey field.  Luckily, I had seen them getting into their cars and I set my phone video to record the field in case of further trouble.  This ugly scene is fully recorded, with very threatening behaviour and again someone picking up a stone as if to use it against me.  This video is now in the hands of the Guardia Civil and a “denuncia” has been made to the No.3 Court in Benidorm today.  The Policia Local are trying to identify the people concerned.

Please watch this video, Mayor Juan-Francisco and see how unsafe the countryside is for us residents.  Is this kind of thing acceptable?  Please do tell me.

Below is the photograph that you can see me taking on the video, as this man shouts out, “You cannot take my photograph!”  He is one of the hunters regularly firing a gun within a short range of the house where I live, and now the Guardia Civil tell me this is an illegal distance.  This man says to me on video, “I will break your face!”  (The video will be used in court.)  The man sitting in the car is the man in the red “Benidorm” cap who threatened me with the rock earlier.

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Is this kind of bullying behaviour by the “hunters” of Finestrat acceptable, Mr Mayor? What are you going to do to protect residents from such threats of violence?  Perhaps also the hunters association in Finestrat would like to distance themselves from this kind of behaviour?  Will you be speaking to them about this, Mr Mayor?  And are these people fit to hold gun licences, behaving with threats of violence like this?

Remember they have guns in their cars as they are screaming their incomprehensible threats of violence at me.  I am in my own field: they are trespassing on it.  My donkeys, distressed at the noise are cowering in a corner of the stable.

This kind of irresponsible behaviour by violent men with dogs also makes me wonder, is it time to look at a reduction in the number of hunting dogs being let loose in the country around Finestrat, much of the time completely out of the control of the men in charge of them?

If you would like to respond by commenting directly here on my blog, Mayor Juan-Francisco, do feel welcome.  You also have my phone number.  The residents here still do not have the promised Neighbourhood Watch scheme (Vecinos Cooperando).  What is happening about that?

Update 22.30
The stats have been going quite wild on this story. As well as the usual following for this blog in the UK, USA and Canada among donkey enthusiasts, there is an extra boost in views from Spain, which for the first time ever outnumber the rest of the world.  The Spain Report has retweeted my link, and many people in Finestrat have been sharing news of this incident.  So far, this story has attracted more hits than any other since the blog began.  Thanks for your support.  The Partido Popular and the Finestrat Town Hall have already replied, saying they will investigate the issues around the responsibilities of hunters I have raised here.

Update Wednesday 25/11/15

As a result of all this I will now give my full support to PACMA, the Spanish Animal Rights Party, in their campaign to end hunting with dogs.

Update Saturday 28/11/15

Extraordinary amount of support in Finestrat!  I have been to the village this evening and everyone is coming up to me and congratulating me on taking on the bullies!  I had not realised until now how many people have seen the video: they have not been visiting this blog but passing on the YouTube video, and that has been seen by more than 1600 people!  The local policemen are telling me it is about time someone spoke up about the appalling behaviour of the hunters!  

 

10 thoughts on “Finestrat hunters make violent threats

    1. Thanks Mary. Staying safe out here in the country is not so easy. In August 2014 we asked for a Neighbourhood Watch scheme (Vecinos Cooperando) to be put in place here in our small isolated area of Benienso, so we could have more formalized liaison with the police when there were incidents of crime here. The mayor at that time and the local police chief agreed, and a meeting was supposed to take place in the town hall a year ago, but it never happened. I asked the new mayor about this six months ago and he said he was “looking at it”. Maybe when someone gets killed by a hunter behaving irresponsibly here, then Finestrat Town Hall might do something? Meanwhile, staying safe here is quite a problem. There have also been burglaries here in this area in the past few years. Policing is concentrated in urban areas and we do not count for anything here in the country, despite continual promises of action.

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  1. These pig-ignorant oiks make my blood boil. They should not be allowed to keep dogs, let alone a gun licence. The poor donks….and worrying for you too. Really hope the authorities respond and DO something proactive to control this type of behaviour. Bravo for standing up to these loud-mouthed bullies and I hope you get the right results for you and all your neighbours.

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  2. Many thanks for your support. I have every assurance the police authorities will make this “denuncia” stick. What worries me is that the Ayuntamiento de Finestrat is rather vague about its responsibilities for those of us who live in the country, and I want to see some action rather than comforting words. I will obviously keep people posted here. Thanks again: your support is greatly valued.

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  3. Dear Gareth:

    After reading your letter and watching the video I’m sorry that this has happened.

    However, after this concret altercation I believe that Finestrat still is a quiet and safe village. You say in your letter that the police arrived in less than 10 minutes. And we’re working for this, for the police to be efficient 365 days a year.

    After this incident it isn’t fair to generalize and extend it to an entire group. The hunting society from Finestrat has 50 years of history. And always it has been characterized by knowing how to live with all the citizens of this municipy. Therefore, this is not a problem of all the hunters.

    Respect the hunting dogs, as an animal lover I consider myself, I do not see correct your comment on how many dogs they should have. It’s more appropiate that each owner has the correct training to be responsible for their pets.

    I still think that Finestrat is a quiet town, safe and a fabulous place to live and a wonderful place for holidays where we have always lived in harmony and have shared our hobbies.

    With these words I hope I have answered your questions.

    However, as you know, next tuesday we will speak about it personally.

    Kind Regards

    Juanfran Pérez Llorca
    Finestrat’s Mayor

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    1. Thank you for your response, Juanfran.

      It is good of you to take the time to answer the points. As you can see, I was in fact impressed by the police response time. The Guardia Civil were also very helpful in processing my case against the threats of violence. The need for a Neighbourhood Watch scheme (Vecinos Cooperando) has still not been met: various residents in Benienso wished this to be implemented fifteen months ago, and we were promised such a scheme by the last mayor and the chief of police.

      I am not the only one concerned about the numbers of hunting dogs and the use of firearms near houses, and as you have kindly offered a meeting to discuss these matters next week, I will make you aware of the concerns expressed by some residents who are afraid to walk their own dogs or fearful for attacks on their cats, etc. It would be good to know that the hunting community is at least aware of Benienso residents’ concerns but I have yet to see any evidence of that. One lady who lives nearby is afraid to go out of her house at the weekends with her two small dogs. That is unacceptable.

      We will of course discuss this next week, and again thanks for your kind response.

      Gareth

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  4. Gareth,

    My best wishes and keep safe.

    Everywhere has its share of head bangers and it looks as if the Finestrat police have this situation in good hands.

    I note that the Mayor replied to you in perfect English. How is your Spanish? If it is fluent, how did you learn? Any tips for learning languages would be greatly appreciated – I’m currently struggling with Polish (and not making a very good job of it).

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    1. Thanks, Steve. Going to court is the only way to ensure some safety. If the judge asks me what I hope the outcome will be, I don’t care if these guys are given a fine: I simply want them ordered not to threaten me or my animals in future. We need to challenge evil in this world and stand up to it.

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