A dispute has broken out over the condition of beach donkeys in Mablethorpe, Lincs.

A petition with more than 600 signatures has been submitted to East Lindsey District Council, requesting an investigation.

A spokesman for the council confirmed that a complaint had been received but nothing would be done — according to the council, and a vet, the animals are fit to work.

“It is our job to license the donkey owners and so we inspected the donkeys,” said a spokesman. “The vet told us the donkeys were in a good enough condition to work and there’s nothing more we will do.”

He admitted that complaints about the beach donkeys had been “rumbling for years”.

Vet Derek Grantham, of Rase Veterinary Centre in Market Rasen, told H&H the animals were healthy.

“Those that are fit to continue will do so, one was retired as it is very old. I visited them about five times last year.”

The issue has become quite a talking point on the H&H online forum, with dozens of posts.

“I was horrified to see the state of the donkeys on the beach — the tack is ill-fitting and worn. The donkeys look very poor with hair rubbed off. Something should be done to help them,” wrote Jasmine1986.

The RSPCA said it had received three complaints about the donkeys.

And a spokesman for the Donkey Sanctuary said it was working with the owner to improve the donkeys’ wellbeing.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (4 August, 2011)