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ISPCA Encounters Widespread Donkey Welfare Problems

Last week alone the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took into care a total of five neglected donkeys from various parts of the country.

In comparison to recent winters this year has not been as hard on animals living outdoors. Despite this fact, the ISPCA has continued to encounter widespread equine welfare issues and it is normally those vulnerable animals of less value that are most severely affected.  

In County Donegal ISPCA Inspector Kevin McGinley discovered a 7 year brown donkey mare with overgrown hooves, severe rainscald, lice and worms. She was very lame and also very thin and weak. It is estimated that she was only days from death had she not been rescued.

This sweet, gentle girl, named Shae by rescuers, was surrendered to the care of the ISPCA and removed to the National Animal Centre where she is recovering very slowly. A file is being prepared in relation to the matter for submission to the DPP.

Inspector McGinley organised the seizure of a further two donkeys in County Sligo in a case described by a senior equine care staff member as “by far the worst case of donkey neglect in my time at the ISPCA”.

The donkeys in question were Hugo, a white 7 year old stallion and Hugs, a brown colt. Hugo was terribly lame with horrendous hooves, was in very poor condition, and had severe rainscald. His two year old companion, Hugs, was in even worse condition.

He was emaciated and anaemic and also had overgrown deformed hooves. In addition he had severe, infected rainscald leading to raw skin and bleeding. The infected skin condition could be smelled from a distance.

ISPCA equine supervisor Cathy Griffin commented “These are two of the nicest gentlest donkeys I have ever met. Hugo is recovering well but Hugs, although getting a little stronger by the day, is not out of the woods yet and will require intense care for some time yet.”

Meanwhile, in County Kildare, Inspector Brendan Hughes rescued a further two neglected donkeys which had been abandoned in forestry. Rose, a brown 4 year old mare, and Cupid, a 10 year old piebald mare were both very lame with severely deformed hooves.

It was very obvious that their hooves had been cut back with a tool such as a saw or angle grinder at some point but they had certainly not received proper farrier treatment. Both girls are very lame and will require prolonged farrier care under sedation. Both are timid but kind donkeys and will be looking for a home together when rehabilitated.

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