New home for Derry donkey that faced being put down
A donkey who faced being put down unless a new home could be found for him is now happily settling in at a sanctuary.
'Lucky' had been abandoned and had painfully overgrown hooves and a matted coat when found in field in the Claudy area.
A judge granted Derry and Strabane District Council a 14-day temporary care order to allow them to trace the owner or find a new home.
Failing that, the judge ruled the 12-year-old donkey would be euthanised.
Luckily, the council's animal welfare officer was able to place the animal with The Donkey Sanctuary, which has already begun to nurse him back to full health. Lucky was taken to the sanctuary's Strabane centre, one of two in Northern Ireland.
Donkey Sanctuary lead vet Joe Collins told the Belfast Telegraph the future now looks better for Lucky.
He said: "I saw Lucky on Wednesday when he arrived at our centre in Strabane and he did look a sorry sight but he was typical of a lot of the neglected animals we see.
"He is a 12-year-old stallion, unconstrained and un-microchipped with overgrown hooves.
"But thankfully, he hasn't been neglected as badly as some of the animals we take into the sanctuary where the sad reality is the kindest thing we can do for them is to put them down ourselves.
"We never like it when that happens but as a vet sometimes this is in the best interest of the animal itself.
"However, Lucky is in a fairly good condition - he has a nice, even temperament and after we clip back his hooves, which will make it more comfortable for him, he will be gelded, microchipped and passported in accordance with EU law.
"In a few weeks time, he will be suitable for rehoming so the future looks bright for Lucky."
The Donkey Sanctuary has around 170 donkeys at its centres in Strabane and Belfast which all need rehoming. However, there are important conditions attached to owning a donkey.
"Donkeys are very social animals and make fantastic companions and in the past we have placed donkeys in care homes, special schools and prisons," Mr Collins said.
"We have had incidences where autistic children have blossomed thanks to a friendship with a donkey and it is not unusual for care homes to bring donkeys inside to visit a patient who is bedridden and they cope very well with that.
"That said, a donkey is a pack animal and we will not rehome a single donkey on its own, so if anyone is interested in giving Lucky a home they must be able to take at least one other donkey with him and have at least an acre of land."