An update on Timmy and Tommy, rescued from their horrific ordeal and given a new life in our care, all thanks to your support.

Timmy's 'do-it-yourself' hooves

Timmy's hooves were badly damaged when found


We found Timmy and Tommy sad-eyed and listless, hidden away in separate enclosures of a barn at a property in Yorkshire. They were both in a pitiful state, having endured months of physical and emotional suffering in conditions of unimaginable squalor.

Tommy was on the point of collapse. He was so thin we could see his bony spine and shoulders, his hooves were severely overgrown, and there were bald patches on his coat. Timmy was in even greater pain as his hooves had been savagely cut by someone who was clearly not a professional farrier. He had the added complication of being trapped in his stable and had to be dug out; he was standing on so much soiled and impacted bedding that his ears were literally touching the ceiling.

Timmy and Tommy’s only saving grace during their torturous ordeal was they could see each other through a gap in their enclosures. Although they had been deprived of human friendship, they had found solace in their connection with one another.

Our senior welfare adviser, Hannah Bryer, recalls the rescue operation: “The stench as we dug Timmy out was overpowering, and as soon as he was released, he limped towards Tommy. They had a connection that had strengthened as a result of their tragic ordeal.”

As their owner faced several charges under the Animal Welfare Act, our healing and nurturing work got underway.

Timmy and Tommy standing in a stable before being rescued
Timmy inside his stable before being rescued
Tommy from Gomersal inside his dirty stable
Timmy and Tommy after rescue

Timmy and Tommy in their field in Devon.


Timmy and Tommy arrived at our sanctuary near Sidmouth, Devon, scared, in pain and in very poor physical condition. After several months of loving care from vets, farriers and grooms, they were putting on weight, their coats were looking healthy again, and their individual characters were beginning to shine through.

The expertise of farrier Chris Adamson was essential to Timmy’s rehabilitation in particular. X-Rays revealed his hooves had been cut close to the pedal bone, an essential structure within the hoof. Not only is damage painful, in some cases it can be impossible to treat - leaving euthanasia as the only option.

Timmy understandably remained wary of anyone interfering with his feet which does not make life easy for a farrier, but together they got there.

Timmy is now walking comfortably again, and everyone who meets him comments on his handsome looks. Despite being affectionately known among his grooms as ‘Timid Timmy’, he is learning to trust people again.

Groom Pam Taylor sees similar improvements in Tommy’s temperament.

“Tommy is lovely,” she says. “He’s a bit nervous to start off with but he is improving every day. He’s a real sweetheart.”

From prison to sanctuary, their transformation has been remarkable.  Both donkeys now reside at one of our farms in Devon. And it could only have happened with the generosity of The Donkey Sanctuary supporters.

Please donate today to help pay for the lifetime care of Timmy and Tommy, and to help us be there for donkeys in similarly desperate situations around the world.

Help us support more donkeys in need