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Indiscriminate breeding and the DWIS castration programme

The Donkey Sanctuary remains at the forefront of donkey welfare issues, promoting responsible ownership, health care and addressing the over production of donkeys in Ireland. We identified a worrying trend from the beginning of 2019 of unwanted donkey foals of which 12 alone this year have been relinquished into our care.

Baxter the foal was rescued after he was tied to a skip and abandoned

Tootsie, our beloved mule

It is with sadness we inform you that our wonderful 56 year old mule, Tootsie has passed away. Tootsie, who came to our sanctuary in 1992 was always a lively character who was first to the trough and took no nonsense from other donkeys and mules. In the past few years, Tootsie lived in our elderly donkey group at Hannigans Farm.

Tootsie the mule

Janus' Story

It can take just a single phone call to change my day. I had a few routine calls lined up for a short January day but these were quickly abandoned after a more urgent call from a Department of Agriculture Veterinary Inspector about a donkey that he was concerned about. I followed him into a yard, where we passed the carcasses of several small animals in plain sight in our search for the donkey. We found him lying down and reluctant to get up which is never a good sign and raised my fears for his health.

Janus found it difficult and painful to stand due to the length of his hooves.

Eddie, back on his hooves

Our vet team worked hard to ensure that Eddie, a donkey with a bleak future received all the treatment he needed to turn his life around.

Late last year, a man requested help with his donkey Eddie who had difficulty standing in his field. The donkey’s hooves were extremely long and misshapen and he was suffering from severe laminitis (a cripplingly painful foot disease).

Eddie's daily massage

Learning to live again

With no access to water or food for some time, Amelia, Romily and Jazz were discovered living alongside the carcasses of two donkeys. Thankfully we were alerted to the plight of these donkeys earlier this year and because of your generosity we were able to respond.

Early this year, welfare adviser Jane Bruce responded to a concern around some donkeys in Co. Antrim. On arrival at a patch of waste ground, Jane was shocked to discover three emaciated donkeys living among the carcasses of two other donkeys.


Concrete Islands

When we were snowed in for a week recently I cleared an area on my concrete yard where I could let my donkeys out when the weather improved. The snow has at last gone but we have had plenty of rain of late. My yard is part concreted and part (supposedly) a hard gravel surface. However like so many Guardian homes I have visited in the last few weeks once you step off the concrete you are into sloppy muck area or worse! The photo shows four donkeys being led around my concrete by participants during my most recent Donkey Care Course (10th March).

Donkey Hoof Care

This year to date 67 donkeys in need have been taken in by The Donkey Sanctuary in Cork.

Many of these donkeys struggled to walk due to pain caused by overgrown hooves. Neeson is one such donkey who came to us in February from Kerry. As the pictures show, Neeson had painfully long hooves which made it difficult to walk. The structure of a donkey’s hooves can be altered when they are overgrown which can lead to incorrect balance and subsequently tendon and joint problems.

Click on image


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