Donkeys removed from wasteland revel in care, love and attention

Splash, left, and Marina are enjoying the good life at The Donkey Sanctuary. Photo: The Donkey Sanctuary

A group of starving donkeys rescued from a storm-ravaged and dangerous area of wasteland in England are now thriving in the care of international animal welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary.

The donkeys, including a three-month-old foal, were all in poor health when found in a waterlogged field strewn with barbed wire and broken glass

They had little food and their hooves were overgrown.

Following a joint rescue from the site, near Stourport-on-Severn in Worcestershire, involving The Donkey Sanctuary, World Horse Welfare and the RSPCA the donkeys are now safe and have a home for life.

The foal, named Splash, along with Marina, Storm and Dennis, had endured Storm Dennis, one of 2019’s most violent winter weather events, with nothing to protect them from the torrential rain and gales.

Much of the area had flooded, and they were confined to a strip of boggy land in the field, surrounded by industrial metal fencing.

The foal’s mother, Marina, was in particularly poor condition and very underweight. Her overgrown hooves were causing pain, even when standing still. She was also suffering from a skin condition that caused sores to her face and legs.

Life was very different for the donkeys when found on an unsuitable area of wasteland being lashed by a storm. Photo: The Donkey Sanctuary

The lack of food meant she was having difficulty producing the milk needed to feed her foal.

Arriving at the scene, donkey welfare adviser Adele Crompton, who is with the sanctuary, was shocked to discover the donkeys living in such bad conditions.

“The land was completely strewn with rubbish – the donkeys were living among strips of barbed wire, broken windows and shards of glass, and building debris which posed a risk of serious injury.”

Working in collaboration with the other agencies, The Donkey Sanctuary was able to take the animals into their care, after they were initially taken into the possession of the police. They were transported to a nearby holding base where they received urgent veterinary and farrier care.

“The lack of basic care meant that the welfare needs of the donkeys were not met and they were at risk of further suffering,” Crompton said.

“They were forced to live among filth and rubbish, and their field was completely waterlogged and so dangerous. There was barbed wire all over the floor, which they could have easily cut themselves on and got tangled up in.

“The pain Marina would have been in had she not had her feet treated does not bear thinking about. If it had not been for our intervention, they would not have been able to survive, Splash especially.”

Now, seven months on, the outlook is far better for the group, as Splash and Marina, along with Dennis, aged 2, and yearling colt Storm are thriving in the charity’s care.

After spending time being handled by expert farriers and grooms, the donkeys are beginning to grow in confidence and their personalities are starting to shine through.

The four donkeys will now be given a safe and loving home for life, either at the sanctuary or in one of its Guardian Homes through the charity’s rehoming scheme.

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