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UPDATE: Missing Spanish hunting hound's owners renew appeal for help
BY HANNAH UPTON
THE owners of a beloved rescue dog from Spain, still missing after he ran off on the sands of Morecambe Bay, have said they will not stop looking for him.
Seven-year-old Encasa went missing 19 days ago (May 18) as he chased a seagull across the sands from Bardsea. Owners Roy and Emma Dulieu said they have had reports of sightings but that by the time they arrive, it is either a different dog or has disappeared.
In their quest to bring Encasa home, the Greenodd couple have even offered a £1,000 cash reward and luxury holiday to anyone who can provide information leading to him being found.
Encasa is a Podenco-cross, a breed of hunting dog that is often neglected or abandoned and which animal charities are desperate to help and rehome.
After spending nearly five years at the Ibizan Hound Rescue Centre, he was transported to England and taken in by the couple who live in Greenodd.
He has since garnered an internet following after Emma set up a blog to chart his progress from a 'desperately nervous wild animal' to an affectionate family pet, which is followed by people as far away as the USA.
But since Encasa went missing there has still been no firm information about his whereabouts.
Emma said: “He ran off right across the bay to Cartmel Sands, chasing a seagull. The tide came in and I am assuming he was stuck on the far side.
“He would never approach people as he is so fearful of everyone apart from us. Someone might have noticed a dog running around but not thought anything of it. He is more likely to hide from people than go up to them.
"We would like to thank everyone who is still searching for him. It is lovely that so many people have been looking for him. We are still hopeful"
Emma said she does not know how Encasa had been treated before he was taken in by the rescue centre, but that he was terrified of people, especially men, and may have suffered extreme abuse.
She said: “Nobody could get near him at all. When he came to us he was almost like a wild animal. After so many years waiting in the shelter in Spain, it is heartbreaking that this should happen now.”
When she uploaded a video to the internet showing how far he had come in a year, Emma said she was inundated with messages from all over the world.
Since he disappeared, Emma has been searching for Encasa in 18-hour stretches. She said she hopes he will get his bearings and come back up the bay but that he could have ended up in the Barrow or Morecambe areas.
“Even if the worst has happened, we need to know,” she said. “At the moment it is just torture not knowing what has happened to him.”
More than 500 people have joined a Facebook group to help find Encasa, with many putting posters up around the Morecambe Bay area and getting in touch with kennels, vets and businesses.
Sue Allen, who owns East Ruston Holiday Cottages in Norfolk, has offered use of one of her luxury properties for a week as a reward.
She said: “Encasa is a beautiful dog with a really gentle nature. He is known and loved by so many people.
"I know how heart broken Emma and Roy are at his disappearance and want to help them find him. That's why I'm offering one week's holiday to anyone who can provide information that helps to bring Encasa home.”
Any sightings of Encasa can be reported by calling Emma on 07969 560688.