El Refugio del Burrito has now rescued 9 neglected and mistreated donkeys that were enduring an unsustainable situation in the province of Alicante. 5 of those are already enjoying their new home at our headquarters in Fuente de Piedra, Málaga.
Right after receiving a video recorded by a Dutch horse rescue association, El Refugio del Burrito was set in motion to help donkeys that were in the same facilities. Fortunately, five of those donkeys are now safe at our sanctuary, a true paradise after the hell they’ve been living.
This is the largest rescue case ERB has been involved with. All animals, around 40 equines in total, though we fear they may be more, turned out to belong to a dealer who bought and sold them, while keeping them in terrible condition. All of them were tied up 24/7 with ropes or chains. They were so short that in many cases, the animals were not able to lay down for a rest. Most of them were barely surviving solely on small portions of straw, with no access to water at all. This kind of feeding was especially terrible for horses whose bodies are more likely to show evidence of starvation quicker than those of the donkeys.
The facilities where they were found are in ruins, with the risk of collapsing at any point, the hygienic conditions are extremely bad or just non-existing. Most of the equines have overgrown hooves and chronic laminitis.
The Horse Rescue Association has taken care of the horses.
El Refugio del Burrito has managed, so far, to rescue 9 donkeys, two of which have unfortunately been put to sleep on site, as their condition was unsustainable and their health problems irreversible, all of them caused by bad feeding and mistreatment.
Rescuing them has been an odyssey, because the dealer did not want to relinquish them; needless to say they hadn’t been microchipped and there was no farm code for the place they were staying at. This meant that obtaining a transport permit was almost impossible. But the local Agricultural Office in Orihuela, in the name of Animal Welfare, decided to help us out, and we got the permits in the end.
The logistics were complex, due to the fact that two of the donkeys had to be put to sleep, as we have said, and the dealer didn’t want to allow us to do it there. The vet that was assisting us, even had a car accident while rushing to get anaesthetics for the animals, so they wouldn’t suffer any more.
Verónica Sánchez, ERB’s Manager says: “ It has been a true odyssey during which I even feared being attacked by some people. We’ve had to leave two donkeys behind in Murcia, so they can recover before they are fit to travel to Málaga in Southern Spain. But seeing 5 arrive safely to their new home at ERB makes it worth the while, especially because one of them is only a foal. We have done what was right, and that’s what matters”.
This huge operation has been a huge extra cost for the charity, especially because we don’t get any government help. Your co-operation is vital so we can keep helping these and the rest of the animals that are still there.
We would also like to thank a lot of people who have been involved in the rescue: CYD Santamaría (horse rescue) for their legal assistance when it came to suing the dealer, Orihuela’s Agricultural Office and the Central Agricultural Services in Alicante for their support to make the permits so quickly and their help to get the animals out of that place. Big thanks also go to Rural Accomodation La Carrasca, for letting us print all the documents we needed and being so hospitable and welcoming with us. Thank you to the lorry driver, who drove through half of the Country to get to us and pick the donkeys up when we needed him and also to Dorotea, the vet, for the wonderful job she has done, no matter what time of day or night it was: She has been with the donkeys all the time up until they loaded to come home to Fuente de Piedra. A huge thank you to our vet team and all our colleagues at El Refugio del Burrito.
The “owner” has been sent to court under serious charges for severe animal cruelty. We have asked for the relinquishment of the rest of donkeys and mule, and we are hoping to have good news very shortly.
At the end of the day, we could not do any of this great work without your amazing support. So THANK YOU ALL.
We will keep you posted!