8:10am Saturday 19th February 2011
A ten year old donkey called Earl in Northern Ireland is back on his feet after being recently rescued from years of neglect by international animal welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary.
The Donkey Sanctuary has seen a sustained increase in the number of donkeys and mules being relinquished into its care over recent months. The charity rescues around eight donkeys each week in the UK and Ireland, of which Earl is just one example.
Welfare officers in County Tyrone were alerted to the plight of the abandoned stallion when a member of the public called concerned about the state of his hooves. It is estimated that Earl’s hooves had not been trimmed for at least two years, making it extremely painful for him to walk.
Earl had been without shelter and had survived on food given to him by generous neighbours. Under the care of The Donkey Sanctuary he now has a roof over his head, trimmed hooves and a secure supply of food and water.
Welfare officer Marie McCormack was involved in Earl’s rescue and is helping to nurse him back to full health: “When I first saw Earl I was shocked at the horrific state of his hooves, which were long and curled up from years of neglect. We see far too many cases of abandoned donkeys in Northern Ireland at the moment. With the value of colt foals at auction dropping dramatically to just £10 owners will obviously lose money if they sell them. But the cost of their upkeep means that donkeys have become a luxury that many simply can’t afford to keep.
“Luckily for Earl, his story ends happily. It is taking him a while to realise that he can walk normally now that his hooves have been trimmed, but with loving care and attention he continues to improve. Despite everything he has been through, Earl has a lovely temperament, and the future is now a lot brighter for this friendly and affectionate donkey.”
To report neglect or mistreatment of donkeys, or for free, expert advice for anyone experiencing difficulties in caring for their donkeys, the Sanctuary’s regional welfare officer for Northern Ireland, Allen Andrews, can be contacted on 07717 814946. All of the donkeys taken in, including Earl, now have a sanctuary for life with The Donkey Sanctuary. The charity, including its holding base in County Tyrone, is funded entirely by donations and takes in an average of eight donkeys each week throughout the UK and Ireland. Call 01392 578222 or visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk for more information.
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