International rescue: How Twitter helped save a jailed donkey

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Freedom: Vets check out the stallion after he was freed from his jail in Oaxaca.
Freedom: Vets check out the stallion after he was freed from his jail in Oaxaca. © The Donkey Sanctuary

A charity on the other side of the world has stepped in to help rescue a donkey “jailed” by authorities in Mexico – and it is all thanks to Twitter.

Tweets from followers alerting The Donkey Sanctuary’s headquarters in Sidmouth, Devon, to Mexican press stories about a “jailed” donkey kick-started a chain reaction from charity’s team. Within 24 hours, a group of vets was on the ground to recover the donkey.

The eight-year-old donkey is owned by a couple in rural Oaxaca, where he is well and truly part of their family. His owners are elderly and live several hours drive away from the city – so their donkey is integral to helping them go about their lives together, helping with essential tasks such as collecting firewood.

The donkey's jail cell in Oaxaca.
The donkey’s jail cell in Oaxaca. © The Donkey Sanctuary

His owners were enormously distressed to discover that their beloved donkey was missing. Their upset only grew when they found out he had been seized and locked behind bars without food or water.

At around the same time, news stories of the “jailed” donkey started circulating in the Mexican press. Over 5500 miles away, The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth started receiving tweets about the jailed donkey’s plight.

With a rapid, coordinated effort between its Global Programmes team and The Donkey Sanctuary Mexico, these tweets from followers soon turned into actions that would change the donkey’s fate.

After some investigation, it became apparent that the donkey had been seized by local municipality due to reports that he had damaged a neighbour’s crops.

The donkey’s elderly owners set out on the several hour-long journey to Oaxaca to contest the removal of their donkey, given the lack of evidence of his wrongdoing and the severity of the donkey’s punishment.

While the owners were on their own journey to set up a demand for their donkey, The Donkey Sanctuary Mexico’s Oaxaca-based vet, Jaime Enrique Vasquez Rios, made his way to the municipality agency with a team of vets from the Autonomous University Benito Juarez of Oaxaca. Once there, he was able to undertake a health and welfare assessment on the donkey.

Jaime was relieved to see that the donkey was no longer being held in the “jail” without food and water, and showed no wounds or signs of disease.

With the donkey appearing in good health, Jaime, the donkey’s owners and the municipal agent were able to negotiate the donkey’s safe delivery back home.

The donkey is now back home with his owners after his ordeal.
The donkey is now back home with his owners after his ordeal. © The Donkey Sanctuary

Jaime accompanied the donkey on his journey back to his owners after what must have been a stressful experience for the young stallion. Taking the donkey to his owners, who were eagerly awaiting his return outside their front door, he was relieved to watch the happy reunion between the three.

The donkey's owners invited Jaime Enrique Vasquez Rios, The Donkey Sanctuary Mexico’s Oaxaca-based vet, and colleagues from Autonomous University Benito Juarez of Oaxaca, for a celebratory dinner.
The donkey’s owners invited Jaime Enrique Vasquez Rios, The Donkey Sanctuary Mexico’s Oaxaca-based vet, and colleagues from Autonomous University Benito Juarez of Oaxaca, for a celebratory dinner. © The Donkey Sanctuary

The owners were quick to invite Jaime and the Oaxaca vets in for a celebratory meal to thank them for the safe return of their dearly loved donkey.

Alex Mayers, The Donkey Sanctuary’s Head of Programmes, said it was thanks to the charity’s supporters that “there are hundreds of thousands of extra ‘eyes and ears’ watching out for donkey welfare, and we will always do whatever we can as quickly as possible to stop suffering”.

“It is fantastic to see such a positive result when supporters, our Sidmouth headquarters, staff and partners on the ground come together so quickly to help a donkey in dire circumstances.”

One thought on “International rescue: How Twitter helped save a jailed donkey

  • October 20, 2019 at 10:04 pm
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    those authorities are so evil
    good thing donkey was saved

    Reply

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