Belfast Telegraph

Reprieve for death row donkey after sanctuary plans to give it new home

By Linda Stewart

An ill-treated donkey found abandoned in a field earlier this year and facing being put down has found a new home.

The animal was discovered in poor health and with severely overgrown hooves in a field at Crockmore Road in Claudy last January.

Now Derry City and Strabane District Council have said that The Donkey Sanctuary in Donegal will be taking the animal in, once a 14-day appeal period ends.

The case hit the headlines last week after a judge in Londonderry gave permission for the donkey to be put down if a new home could not be found.

A solicitor told Derry Magistrates Court that the donkey had been found in a neglected state and its owner could not be found, even though an animal welfare officer had placed a notice on the gate of the field as part of his efforts to trace them.

The solicitor had said the donkey was in temporary council care and applied for a court order to enable the local authority to rehome it in an animal shelter.

Failing that, it would have to be euthanised if a suitable home could not be found.

The Deputy District Judge said a solicitor friend of his worked with a charity-based donkey rehoming shelter and said he hoped it would be possible to have the animal rehomed in a shelter instead of having it destroyed.

There was an element of confusion following the court hearing, with Danny Curran of Donegal Donkey Sanctuary saying he had been told that a solicitor had told the court that his charity would be taking the animal.

He said: "We had heard about the case, but because it was across the border we took it for granted that someone there would take it. Then Radio Foyle told me someone had said in court that we were going to take the donkey. He's supposed to have said in court he knew us and would speak to us about it. But he never got in contact.

"What I can tell you is that we have space for the donkey. We have over 70 at the moment and space is at a bit of a premium.

"There are around 30 waiting to come in, but there are times when you have to put something back in the queue and put this one forward. We definitely don't want to see it die."

He added: "We've told the council that if they can rehome the donkey in Northern Ireland, well and good - but if they can't, we will take it."

The council said it had received many offers from the public to take the donkey.

A spokesperson said: "As part of normal operations in relation to animal welfare cases and the rehoming of animals, the Animal Welfare service contacts a number of registered sanctuaries which may take in the animals at risk.

"In relation to this case, contact was made with a registered sanctuary and the animals will be taken by the sanctuary once the appeal period has expired. The Donkey Sanctuary would be really willing to discuss rehoming in general as they have a large number of animals in care for rehoming."

  • Jane Bruce at The Donkey Sanctuary can be contacted on 07557 922358 or the Welfare Office is at 00353 2248398

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