After Irish police voiced their concerns for an abandoned donkey at Tallow Horse Fair, Co. Waterford, The Donkey Sanctuary were able to give the young gelding a brand new start.

To ensure welfare standards are as high as they can be at Tallow Horse Fair, where generations of horsemen and women have gathered over the past 100 years, The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland sends representatives to keep a watchful eye on the donkeys and mules there.

Abandoned and nameless

This year, Chief Veterinary Adviser Joe Collins and Donkey Welfare Adviser Ciara O'Kelly were attending the fair when An Garda Siochana (Ireland's National Police and Security Service) raised urgent concerns for a donkey who appeared to be in a sorry state.

While attendees of the horse fair and other welfare groups started to voice their concerns too, Ciara was able to locate the donkey in question.

Abandoned, and tied to a railing with no owner in sight, Ciara knew that the young donkey needed our help.

After Ciara scanned for the donkey's microchip to no avail, police were able to seize the donkey under the Control of Horses Act - which dictates that it is a legal requirement for Irish donkeys to have a microchip and passport.

From this moment, the donkey's fate was sealed. The once, nameless, ownerless donkey was dubbed 'Walshie', and Ciara made arrangements for him to start his new life under our care.

After what must have been a long, tiring and confusing day, Walshie arrived at our sanctuary in Liscarroll. Exhausted and hungry, our grooms got to work on making him as comfortable as possible upon his arrival, while our veterinary team gave him a thorough check-up.

Found to be underweight, with uncomfortable, matted fur growing from his stomach, our team put in a plan to get him back to full health - but were reassured to see him eagerly tucking into his fresh supply of hay.

A new donkey - with new friends

In the short time that Walshie has been with us, he has settled into his new life fantastically well. He is a friendly chap, and gets on marvelously with both humans and donkeys alike.

Farm Supervisor Emily Collins is very impressed with his quick progress: “Walshie is a lovely young donkey and he has settled quickly in our care. He is on extra feed and is eating well.”

Grooms at the sanctuary have been taken by this sweet, sociable young donkey, and have taken care to clip his uncomfortably matted fur.

He has made fast friends with two other donkeys, River and Waters who are grateful for their new playmate's company.

Thanks to the combined effort of the police, My Lovely Horse Rescue, Tallow Horse Fair attendees and our wonderful grooms, Veterinary and Welfare Advisers, Walshie can now look forward to growing up happy, healthy, and adored by all those around him.

Your support can give donkeys like Walshie a new start