The Donkey Sanctuary in Spain has secured the safety of three donkeys who were left in darkness to suffer alongside many other desperate and dying animals in a “farm of horrors”.

The team at El Refugio del Burrito responded to a tip-off about the farm in Bormujos, Sevilla, and were horrified by what they found.

No food or water

“The smell of death was devastating,” said Veronica Sanchez, sanctuary director. “Two horses were in an advanced state of decomposition and there were a multitude of bones from many animals scattered all over the ground. Next to this cemetery, other animals were still alive but had no food or water.”

When they arrived to investigate, it was clear that this was one of the worst cases of animal neglect, our Spanish partners had ever seen.

In the dark rooms full of excrement, they found three donkeys sharing their nightmare existence with horses, dogs, sheep, chickens and a goat.

Nightmare existence

Veronica and staff at El Refugio del Burrito worked tirelessly to try to complete the legal removal of the dying animals, and immediately called the Seprona – the animal police in Spain.

An urgent application was made seeking authority to confiscate the remaining animals who were starving to death.

Much to the frustration of sanctuary staff on the ground, the local authorities with the power to give the operation the green light dragged their heels and when they returned the next day, the donkeys had vanished.

Donkey disappearance

Veronica added: “We returned to give water and food to the animals on the farm and we had an awful surprise in that the three donkeys and a horse had disappeared.

“Apparently, the owner had been informed that they were going to be seized and he took them. This was really disappointing because we knew this was going to happen and we were expecting quicker action from the police.

“However, we later received an anonymous call telling us where we could find the donkeys and horse and we were able to take them to a safe place. Not only could we save the donkeys, but the rest of the animals that were in the farm were also taken to local animal sanctuaries.

“We hope now that the case will proceed to court, because it is totally obvious that this owner is not only incapable of giving these animals the proper care, but he is mistreating them and letting them die without any veterinary treatment.”

New names, new home

Once the trio’s safety had been secured, The Donkey Sanctuary collaborated with an animal sanctuary called Fundación Santuario Gaia who offered to take the donkeys and give them a loving forever home.

Now called Seina, Gabriela and Manel, the donkeys are enjoying a happy life and a brighter future which had previously seemed impossible.

Thanks to your support, our teams around the world are there to fight for the rights of donkeys, no matter how desperate the situation. El Refugio del Burrito are working hard to take the case to court.