Welfare advisers from the Donkey Sanctuary were alerted to the plight of Mary and her daughter Della after being tipped off by a member of the public.
They discovered the pair with “extremely overgrown” hooves, standing in faeces and filth with no access to the fields outside. Their coats were sodden and matted with excrement.
Mary, 17, and five-year-old Della were signed over to the Donkey Sanctuary after a vet spoke to their owner about the impact his lack of care was having on their wellbeing.
They were taken in by one of the sanctuary’s holding centres, which provided them with farriery care and treatment.
Donkey Sanctuary head of welfare Hannah Bryer said: “Mary was in extreme pain. Her feet were overgrown and she had chronic changes to the normal structure of one of her hooves. This meant she found it incredibly uncomfortable just standing still and found it very difficult to walk.
“Their coats also required days of grooming, bathing and clipping to address.”
Although the two donkeys had been subjected to severe neglect, both were very accepting of their treatment.
“I was surprised at how trusting Mary in particular was when we were handling her. Despite everything she had been through, she was a pleasure to be around,” said donkey welfare adviser Sally Bamforth.“It was almost like she knew we were trying to help her.”
The condition of Mary’s feet meant she needed extensive and ongoing specialist farriery and has had to be fitted with acrylic shoes.
“The shoes have made a significant difference, and the next time I saw her after she had them fitted, she was much happier when walking,” Sally said.
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Hannah added that it was a “saddening truth” that Mary’s condition would have been easily preventable, had she received appropriate care.
Owing to the damage to Mary’s feet, she is unable to travel to any of the charity’s sanctuary sites, but the pair now have a safe and loving home for life at the holding base.
“We have been told their characters are really coming to the fore. Della has transformed into a really inquisitive donkey and Mary has come out of her shell thanks to the daily attention she receives,” Sally added.
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