‘Seeking help would have prevented this’: message to struggling owners after suffering donkeys rescued

  • Three donkeys found with “overgrown, twisted and deformed” hooves have highlighted the importance of seeking help to prevent unnecessary suffering.

    The trio are on their way to recovery, having been taken in by the Donkey Sanctuary, which is urging anyone struggling to seek advice sooner rather than later.

    The charity has a team of welfare advisors nationwide, who are on hand to provide free guidance to donkey owners and to support donkeys in critical need of help.

    Donkey welfare adviser Adele Crompton attended an address near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire in March 2021, following a call from a concerned member of the public.

    She found three donkeys, Puzzle, Quiz and Wizzard, who were suffering with overgrown hooves and living in a muddy paddock, surrounded by broken fencing and barbed wire. They were cold and wet, with a lack of adequate shelter, and in need of veterinary and farriery care.

    “The first thing I noticed was the state of Puzzle’s feet. I could not believe how he was moving around with such overgrown and twisted hooves,” said Ms Crompton.

    “They had grown so long, especially his hind feet. I noticed when he was moving, he was walking on the backs of his heels.

    “Quiz and Wizard’s hooves were also in poor condition. Wizard had a big chunk of her hoof missing and the hoof looked deformed.

    “Quiz’s front feet were starting to twist inwards, and he appeared to be in discomfort when standing.

    “I knew we needed to intervene quickly to get the donkeys the pain relief and treatment they so desperately needed.”

    She enlisted the help of the RSPCA to make contact with the owner and discovered the Covid-19 pandemic had affected their circumstances, and other priorities meant they had only been able to provide the animals with food and water. It was agreed that it was in the best interest of the animals to relinquish them into the care of the Donkey Sanctuary.

    “This case underlines the importance of seeking help as early as possible. This would have prevented the donkeys’ suffering and helped us be there to provide advice, promote the importance of good welfare and look into potential solutions,” said Ms Crompton.

    A spokesman for the charity’s holding base, where the donkeys were taken, said the trio are “doing very well”.

    “[They] have become interested in their surroundings and are keen to interact with people,” he said.

    “Since their feet have undergone farriery treatment, their characters are really shining through. Quiz has a heart of gold and is very gentle and patient with the grooms.

    “All three donkeys certainly seem happier in themselves, and their feet are looking in much better shape.

    “However, they still have a long way to go. Puzzle’s and Quiz’s hooves were very deformed, so it will take time for them to fully recover.

    “They are still building confidence around humans, but with a lot of love and care, we are hopeful they will start to trust us more and begin to enjoy life to the fullest.”

    The donkeys have a home for life in the charity’s care, either in one of its sanctuaries or through its rehoming scheme.

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