Animal abuse alert

This afternoon I went to see a donkey that I had visited before and to take him some carrots. He lives in what have always appeared to be very sad circumstances: enclosed in a cage of broken old bedsteads, alone and in a fairly confined space. He is always pleased to have some company as he is alone all day. His circumstances have always appeared poor but there did not seem to be sufficient grounds to make an official complaint. I have been advised against doing so, because I am quite close to the animal’s owners – just down the road – and my own animals might suffer a reprisal if it was known I have reported the owner.

Today I found the donkey in these circumstances. Its makeshift corrugated iron roof had collapsed into its confined pen, so the metal material was scraping on its back. It had no water apart from a plastic bucket with old stagnant water with scum on the surface. The floor had no straw and it was only able to lie down in a bed of its own manure. I am putting the photos here for inspection by the authorities I am contacting now: the police, the Donkey Sanctuary in UK for advice on procedure, and the Refugio de Burros in Madrid for advice on local action.

The location of the donkey will be provided in confidence to the authorities. Here are the photos.

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Update 9th April
I am surprised at the difficulty in getting appropriate information when you report an animal in such dire circumstances. I finally got some advice yesterday from Madrid, and the local police have been given the information about the animal. Looking at the situation today it is the same. The donkey has the corrugated metal roof collapsed on it and it is still locked in there. Nobody has yet acted on the situation. Appalling. Will try a different approach today.

Update 7 pm 9 April

I am pleased to say that some small action has now been effected. The local police have visited the owner of the donkey and he has been seen repairing the fallen roof and taking the corrugated metal out of the confined area in which the donkey lives. I would hope that the question of fresh drinking water for the donkey has also been addressed, as I told the police that this was just as important as the removal of the dangerous fallen roof.

I have to stand back from the situation, as I have gone through the official procedures and the substance of the animal abuse complaint I raised has now been addressed. I will continue to monitor the situation of this donkey and make sure that he is not put into such an alarming situation again.  I shall change my regular routes to travel that way at least once every couple of days.

In passing, I am very disappointed to record here (without mentioning any names) that I contacted some organisations and some prominent individuals who say they are concerned about animal welfare, and I raised my concern – with the photographic evidence – saying that I needed urgent advice and support.  I have still not heard from the main charity that receives massive individual donations to address exactly such issues as this one. Nobody got back to me at all.

Likewise some individuals who often put animal abuse issues on Facebook and other places have been online during the time I have been contacting them and received my request for help but ignored it.  I have removed them from my contacts list.  When action is needed, you need people who can do more than talk.

Once again, this matter has raised the need for safe refuges for mistreated animals, and I am still looking for support for a donkey sanctuary here in the long term. If anyone on the Costa Blanca who is interested in a long-term plan for such a project, please get in touch.  If anyone further afield is willing to suggest funding for such a project (again, in the long-term) please get in touch.  Such a project will only take off if a suitable team can be put together and funding/sponsorship is forthcoming.

The situation of this animal should be a clear sign that the need is there.  He should be taken into safe refuge rather than hoping a temporary fix will ensure his welfare.  At present there is no such obvious place to remove a donkey in dire need.

I am a one man operation, and I have far more work than I can really sustain, with four donkeys: I am also financing these four from my own pocket.  I cannot be a one man donkey sanctuary taking in abused animals too.  Please circulate this appeal to any you know who might support the future setting up of a local sanctuary Benidorm/Finestrat/Vilajoiosa.

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About Gareth Thomas

A fairly mixed career starting as an aircraft technician and later Franciscan friar eventually led into secondary school teaching. I settled in Spain where I teach Geography part-time and spend the rest of my time looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I have two blogs: a geography blog and a donkey blog.
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9 Responses to Animal abuse alert

  1. Fr Hugh says:

    No excuse for this treatment, whatsoever.So sad.

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    No excuse whatsoever. Now following some advice for action but it’s not easy to get something done.

  3. Annie says:

    Merciful heavens! That poor donkey. I hope your actions lead to a better life for him.

  4. Frere Rabit says:

    Just updated the blogpost, Annie. Indeed it would be good to see somebody taking ANY ACTION at all, but so far nothing, and the donkey still has the metal roof down in his cramped space. I can’t go and take him fresh water because the owner is on the site and the owner knows that I live down the road with my animals, so I have to keep a low profile and not get into any confrontation.

  5. Mary says:

    God bless you for trying to help. Would the owner be open to selling the donkey to someone else? Or turning it over to a rescue? In other words, what is the owner keeping the donkey for?

  6. Anonymous says:

    There is a horse and donkey welfare centre the other side of Alicante . It’s the horse rescue but they do have donkeys
    They are a Norfolk couple from norwich they have saved lots and they get authorities involved I often go there when I am in Spain. Donkey sanctuary has place in Spain. There also is another nr calpe

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have donkeys and I know it’s hard to see them abused where are you in Spain I am elcompello sure with the economy in Spain if you could raise enough money he would sell

  8. Frere Rabit says:

    Thanks for your comments. Are you a new reader of the blog or one of those who has been reading for a while but without commenting till now? Do you mean El Campello? Yes, I know about the horse rescue place near Alicante, and the place you refer to near Calpe must be the donkey sanctuary at Jalon? Neither of these establishments are local to here: in other words, they do not take any interest in problems such as the one described here, which are outside their area.

    The particular case mentioned in this blog post has now been addressed for the moment and I will check on the donkey regularly to make sure he has his basic needs met. The confined space is a problem, but the authorities do not recognize that as a welfare issue. I can make sure that he has fresh water and that the roof doesn’t fall down on him again.

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