Mares and foals found living in ‘dreadful’ conditions

A herd of donkeys found in “dreadful” conditions has found safety thanks to a joint operation between welfare charities.

The Donkey Sanctuary, World Horse Welfare and the RSPCA joined forces to rescue the 14 equines from a smallholding in the northeast.

In response to a call from a member of the public, Donkey Sanctuary welfare advisor Charly Wain visited the site, to find goats and a Shetland pony sharing the muddy field with the donkeys.

“They had very little food, limited grazing, and no hard standing,” a spokesman for the sanctuary said.

“In addition, the field was full of hazards including plastic, rubbish and old farm machinery, and the fencing was unsafe.”

Despite the charity’s interventions, nothing changed over the next three months, as the owner “failed to address the concerns relating to the donkeys’ living environment, hoof care and diet”.

Ms Wain returned, accompanied by World Horse Welfare officers, a vet and an RSPCA inspector.

“The hooves were curving upwards on some of the donkeys, and many of their hooves had begun to twist and deviate,” Ms Wain said.

“I was worried about the condition of the hooves and what other effects this could be having on the wellbeing of the donkeys.”

After the vet’s examination, the owner agreed to sign the donkeys over to the RSPCA. Hours later, they were on their way to one of the Donkey Sanctuary’s holding bases.

“While handling the donkeys I had noticed all the mares who had foals at foot were underweight and I could feel their spines, ribs and pelvis bones without applying much pressure,” Ms Wain said. “I was so relieved they were going to have their hooves attended to and live in a more appropriate environment.”

Continues below…



The 11 donkeys and three foals are now enjoying life with company in a safe environment, where they are “guaranteed nutritious food, love and care for the rest of their lives”.

“The donkeys would have continued to deteriorate if all organisations involved hadn’t intervened when they did,” Ms Wain said. “They now have a happy, healthy future ahead of them.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

All Horses for Sale