Home hope for Belfast donkeys just in time for Christmas
Three donkeys rescued from living in pitiful conditions in north Belfast have already been attracting interest from members of the public who may be able to offer them a new home.
The plight of Faith, Hope and Charity was highlighted in the Belfast Telegraph yesterday.
The Donkey Sanctuary welfare adviser Jane Bruce said: "I have already had a few calls about the three and we will certainly follow through on them."
Faith, Hope and Charity were taken into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary after a report was received they had been left in a dreadful state of neglect on a barren strip of land on the outskirts of Belfast.
The passerby who reported the case was alarmed by the poor state of their hooves.
One of them was so long that the donkey was forced to lie on cold ground, barely able to move.
"This is a fairly regular occurrence. In this case, we collaborated with Belfast City Council, who have powers with regard to animal welfare, and once they were agreeable we took the animals into our care," said Jane.
As well as the obvious physical effects, Jane said such neglect can have a dire psychological effect on animals.
"Of course it has a depressive effect. Their natural instinct is to move about and forage.
"Donkeys can graze for 16 hours a day, so it does place stress on them because they can't move to find shelter, but in this case there was no shelter for them anyway," said Jane.
One of the animals, Faith, caused the charity particular concern as she was having difficulty walking and was clearly in pain.
Would-be owners will have stringent checks on their ability to care for the animals before taking ownership. Jane said: "We will make sure the owners are suitable and have the resources. They also must agree to take part in a half-day training course and we will carry out an initial inspection of where the new owners intend to keep them.
"Most people don't realise how serious a commitment taking care of these animals actually is.
"Donkeys can live for up to 30 years. We would of course like to keep all three of these animals together, because they are obviously used to each other's company."
The Donkey Sanctuary can be contacted on, tel: 07557 922 358 or 00353 2248398