It was a cold afternoon in February, when I met an RSPCA Inspector in a car park near Bristol. It had come to my attention that two young stallions were being kept in a field with an inadequate shelter. There was only sparse grazing available and both donkeys had long, overgrown feet.
There was a house attached to the side of the field so we knocked on the door, luckily the lady of the house was in and although she didn’t own the donkeys, she did own the land and gave us permission to access the field. She told us how she had been giving them hay as she felt so sorry for them in the wet weather and was relieved someone had contacted us.
Plan A was to assess the donkeys... Easier said than done! After 20 minutes we managed to get hold of 'Mathew' the brown donkey, alas 'Luke' had the better of us and led us a merry dance!
The donkeys were a little underweight, but it was apparent they had not seen a farrier for a very long time, if at all in their young lives. The RSPCA Inspector asked a vet to come and examine the donkeys as she was concerned for their welfare. The police were also called to take the donkeys into possession so they could be moved legally, whilst I made a flurry of phone calls to ensure that The Donkey Sanctuary lorry was on its way.
Two hours later and in the dark we loaded up the donkeys, feeling elated to know they were now safe and no harm could come to them.
After they were transported to the New Arrivals unit, Matthew and Luke received a full medical check and were quickly treated by a farrier to address the poor condition of their feet. Four months later and the owner has relinquished them to The Donkey Sanctuary, they have been castrated and their future is looking rosy.