Two abandoned donkeys with long, twisted and overgrown hooves have been rescued from near a main road in Moy, in Northern Ireland.
The pair, now named Rafferty and Carrick, were found along a riverside path and taken into care by The Donkey Sanctuary.
The two stallions, estimated to be about five years old, are reported to have been abandoned as long ago as March, and have since been fending for themselves in the open with just hedges and trees for shelter.
Whilst they appear largely healthy in terms of body condition, their hooves were so overgrown that they resemble Turkish slippers – a classic sign of neglect.
Staff at the sanctuary were alerted to their plight last week and immediately set about making arrangements to rescue them.
Welfare officer Marie McCormack collected the pair and took them to a nearby holding base on Wednesday last week.
“Given the amount of time these donkeys were neglected, we made it our priority to give them shelter from the elements and arrange for them to be checked over by a vet and a farrier as soon as possible,” McCormack said.
“We suspect that they were abandoned for even longer than seven months, as their hooves are showing a good year’s growth and are so twisted that it must be very painful for them to walk around.
“It will take a prolonged programme of farriery to return their neglected hooves to normal.”
They have both now received initial attention from a farrier.
“Thankfully, the donkeys are both in reasonable body condition and we understand that the owner of the land on which they were abandoned kindly made sure that they did not go hungry.
“However, their long period of neglect has left them very nervous and wary of people and we will be gently working with them to steadily increase their confidence and trust in humans over time.
“Both donkeys are now guaranteed warmth, shelter and a secure future with the charity, and we will do all we can to give them the best chance possible of returning to full health.”