Six donkeys with overgrown hooves, and most of them underweight, are being rehabilitated in England after passing into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary.
The animals will either be rehomed once fully recovered or will live out their lives on one of the properties run by the organisation.
The international animal welfare charity sent staff to check the donkeys in Worcestershire after it received a call from a member of the public.
Donkey welfare adviser Georgia McCormick examined the donkeys in a field near Malvern.
She found that the five mares and one stallion all had overgrown feet and most were underweight.
Inside their field shelter, their bedding was covered in mud and faeces and their hay was long past its best.
It was also clear to Georgia that some of the donkeys were not used to human contact, so it required patience and compassionate handling for them to be fitted with head collars so the vet could examine the donkeys and determine if they were fit to travel.
“On arrival, I could see the group were in very poor body condition and some of their basic needs weren’t being met,” Georgia recalls.
“They clearly needed urgent farrier attention to trim their feet and alleviate any suffering their overgrown hooves were causing them.”
As a result of working with other agencies and the owner of the donkeys, it was decided it would be in the best interest of the animals if they were placed into the permanent care of The Donkey Sanctuary.
To help plan for their future care, blood and dung samples were collected from each animal and, within hours, the donkeys were removed from the site and transported to a local holding base, as the vet deemed they were unfit to travel to The Donkey Sanctuary’s international headquarters in Sidmouth, Devon.
At the holding base, the group received further veterinary care, and were put on an appropriate diet as most were underweight.
The state of their feet was also a major concern, and using x-rays as a guide, the farrier was able to provide remedial care and begin the task of trimming their hooves.
All of the rescued donkeys will now be given a safe and loving home for life, either in one of the charity’s sanctuaries or in one of its Guardian Homes through The Donkey Sanctuary’s Rehoming scheme.
The charity is still responding to urgent welfare concerns during the coronavirus lockdown.