A crippled Tyrone donkey with twisted hooves and a dung-matted coat has been recovered from abandonment in a farmer’s field.
Millie, as it’s been dubbed by the Donkey Sanctuary, was found with a pony companion, abandoned in a farmer’s field in County Tyrone.
She is the 144th donkey to have been abandoned and rescued in Northern Ireland since the beginning of 2012.
Welfare Officer at The Donkey Sanctuary, Marie McCormack, said it was a shocking case.
She said: “It just saddens me to see them. It’s pure neglect. She’s not seen the farrier for a long time- her hooves are long and curled up and causing her considerable pain.
“The state of her coat is terrible. She’s covered in her own faeces. She must not have had a clean stable and must have been lying in her own muck- maybe because her hooves are causing her so much pain.”
She added: “Unfortunately abandonment is a big problem in Northern Ireland. People drive the donkeys to remote locations and just let them out. It’s not uncommon for farmers to find them on their land or for people to wake up with them in their front gardens. We just don’t know what will happen day to day.”
High levels of abandonments put a great strain on the charity’s resources.
Caring for donkeys like Millie means moving healthy donkeys to its UK farms to make space, and making a considerable long-term financial commitment to provide them with a sanctuary for life.
The problem with abandonment has escalated in the last three years. In 2010 just 4 donkeys were abandoned and taken in by The Donkey Sanctuary in Northern Ireland. This figure rose to 17 in 2011, 66 in 2012 and to 63 in 2013.