‘He was loved by us all’: tributes paid after rare donkey put down

An “adored” rare donkey has been put down aged 18.

The Donkey Sanctuary paid tribute to Arnie, a 13hh Poitu donkey (a formerly endangered breed), who was put down on 6 August owing to health issues.

Arnie arrived in the UK from France in 2004, and was relinquished with seven other donkeys to the sanctuary’s Derbyshire centre in April 2011.

A spokesman for the sanctuary said Arnie was “gentle with a calm sweet nature” but suffered with a history of laminitis and was prone to stress.

“His susceptibility to laminitis, along with the general strain of his weight on his bones, eventually took its toll on his feet,” he said.

“He started lying down more frequently and seeming to be uncomfortable on his front feet. Our vet took X-rays which confirmed that both pedal bones had rotated and that it would only be a matter of time before they would push through the soles. We had to make the very hard decision to have Arnie put to sleep.”

The spokesman added that Poitu donkeys have a short life expectancy, with the average being around early to mid-teens, so for Arnie to reach 18 was a “great milestone”.

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The sanctuary plans to build a memorial garden for donkeys like Arnie who have “made their mark” over the years.

Kat Haynes, one of Arnie’s grooms, said: “He was much loved by us all and will be sadly missed. The centre won’t seem the same without our Arnie bear.

“Because he made such a big impact on us all, we will be having a plaque made to remember him by, as well as having a plant in his honour in our little wood.”

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