A beloved donkey who was put in a Mexican “jail” with no food and water when he was suspected of damaging crops has been saved by a welfare charity.
Eight-year-old Cenizo was seized from his owners for around 72 hours in August in Oaxaca, Mexico, by local authorities, owing to reports he had damaged a neighbour’s crops.
Following news stories circulating in Mexican press, the Donkey Sanctuary’s headquarters in Sidmouth became aware of Cenizo after it saw tweets from concerned followers.
A spokesman for the Donkey Sanctuary said following a “rapid” coordinated effort between its global programmes team and the Donkey Sanctuary Mexico the tweets turned into action that would change Cenizo’s fate and within 24 hours a group of vets helped in his recovery.
“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 like collecting firewood,” said the spokesman.
“The couple 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.”
The spokesman said the owners set out on a journey of several hours to contest the removal of Cenizo given the “lack of evidence of his wrongdoing” and severity of his punishment. The spokesman added that 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 and assessed Cenizo.
“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,” said the spokesman.
“With the donkey appearing in good health, Jaime, the owners and the municipal agent were able to negotiate his safe delivery back home.”
Cenizo was released and Jaime accompanied the donkey on the journey back to his owners on 19 August following the “stressful experience”.
“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,” said the spokesman.
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The Donkey Sanctuary has sent £5,000 to a not-for-profit organisation to fund shelter, food, water and veterinary care for donkeys
‘The donkeys are continually assessed and if they show any signs of stress they are taken off the programme’
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“The owners were quick to invite Jaime and the 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 progammes, said it was fantastic to see such a positive result when supporters, the headquarters, staff and partners on the ground come together to help a donkey in “dire circumstances”.
“In cases like this our amazing supporters mean there are hundreds of thousands of extra eyes and ears watching out for donkey welfare. We will always do whatever we can as quickly as possible to stop suffering,” she said.
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