El Chopo British family mourn ‘poisoned’ pet

FROM LEFT: El Chopo dog walkers, Julie Elton, Anne Campbell and Elsa Rowntree, with Max (middle and inset).

A BRITISH family and their neighbours are devastated by the death of their puppy by a “malicious act of poisoning,” just a day before his first birthday.

Anne Campbell of El Chopo, Arboleas said that their American cocker spaniel, Max, a neighbour’s dog and more than three cats, were intentionally killed person who put poison in the cats’ food.

The vet told Campbell that Max had eaten a phosphate-based poison.

On the afternoon of Monday May 7, Max ran up the hill to play near a cortijo close to his home.

Campbell, a retired nurse from St. Helens, said Max used to go up often and was welcome by the Spanish people there. She later put Max to bed, and went shopping for about an hour with her partner Tony.

On their return Max was very ill and yelping in pain, so they took him to the vet in Albox.

He died the next day. “He was in agony and shaking, it was awful. Such a painful death,” said Campbell.

She said they haven’t filed a police report because they have no concrete evidence.

However, they and their neighbours think they know who laid the poison, and they suspect it is a fellow Briton.

Paca, the Spanish owner of the cortijo was out of town but had left food outside for her five cats. Campbell is sure that Max ate from their bowls.

Three of Paca’s cats have since been found dead, two others remain missing, and some other stray cats that an El Chopo resident had paid to have spayed have also died.

Another dog, “Lucki,” belonging to Paca’s sister Maria was also taken ill but has since recovered.

Campbell said that by a process of elimination they are almost sure who put the poison in the food, but that perhaps it was meant for the cats.

She and her neighbours suspect that the culprit killed the cats because they didn’t want them roaming through their property.

On the evening of May 7 Campbell threw the food in the dustbin to prevent other animals being poisoned.

The following morning she went back to get the food as evidence, and for possible analysis but the bin-men had already been.

Campbell, who has lived in Spain for 18 months, said that this wasn’t the first malicious act carried out in the El Chopo neighbourhood.

A neighbour’s tree was recently chopped down by another resident while they were away.

Campbell said that she and Tony love being in Spain, but that should their suspicions ever be confirmed it would be horrible living amongst fellow Brits capable of such cruelty.

She is now hand-rearing one of the dead cat’s kittens and trying to ensure her own cat, “Lucky,” doesn’t roam far from home.

Max lies buried under an olive tree in the couple’s garden.

By Susan Leach

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