2009 We lost Hope
One of the hardest things about running the rescue centre is that we are often helpless to save animals from cruelty and neglect. And the death of a donkey in appalling circumstances really brought that helplessness home to us in December 2009.
We had been alerted to the plight of two donkeys and a horse kept tethered on rough ground on the outskirts of a local village. Residents were worried that the animals had no water and appeared to be in a bad way.
When we checked we found an old donkey, dangerously tethered by a rope around her neck, a younger male donkey and a visibly undernourished horse. We were very concerned about the state of the animals, but with neighbours having no idea who owned them there was little we could do. We do not have the legal powers to seize animals.
We returned the next day, hoping to find out more about the owner and were shocked to see that there was now a third donkey and she appeared to be heavily in foal. Fearing for her safety, we left a note asking the owner to contact us urgently.
A couple of days later, a call came. But it was not the owner who phoned but our vet. She had been contacted by local residents who found the pregnant mare tethered, injured and trapped in a drainage ditch.
We rushed to the scene. By now local people had hauled the donkey out of the ditch, but all was not well and she couldn't stand.
The vet examined her as best she could in the position she lay. It appeared she had given birth and suffered complications. Just as we had feared, an old donkey alone, tethered and heavily pregnant was a tragedy waiting to happen.
For hours we tried to get her to her feet. It was useless. Her back legs seemed paralysed. Even with the help of a crane, we could not get her to stand.
Reluctantly, the vet decided there was no more to be done. The donkey was in pain and the kindest thing to do was put her to sleep. But the owner, who had by now arrived at the scene, refused to give his permission.
The donkey was forced to spend another night lying, suffering in the field. The next morning there was no change in her condition and the owner, who had previously denied all knowledge, admitted she had given birth and suffered a hernia. No vet had been called. They'd simply left her tethered and dying in the field.
He finally gave permission to end her suffering. Volunteers from the Centre and local residents sat with her in her final moments.
Even after all this, though, we had no power to help the remaining animals, which were quickly moved by the owner.
Police who had attended the scene promised they would take legal action against the owner, who was well known to them. The owner had some 20 horses, plus other animals in appalling conditions at a location nearby. Eventually, the police received so many complaints against this owner that they ordered him to get rid of the animals. He was not prosecuted for animal mistreatment, though.
As for the donkey that tragically died, the local people who found her called her Hope, as although hope ran out for her, her death brought together many people who are determined to do what they can to make a difference to other mistreated animals. We hope her story will inspire more people to help, too.
THESE RESCUES AND ONGOING CARE CAN ONLY CONTINUE WITH YOUR SUPPORT