Two donkeys found with nothing to eat and drink but rotting carrots and maggot-infested water have been taken into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary.

Living in filth

An investigation by the RSPCA found 33 equines in need of help in various fields in Selby, Yorkshire. Our welfare team were called in to assist with the two suffering donkeys, called Molly and Phoebe.

The pitiful mother and daughter pair, alongside the horses, were immediately seized by police on veterinary advice.

Charly Wain, donkey welfare adviser, says: “It was filthy where they were. The donkeys were in a cow pen and the trough had been filled with carrots which had just been left, it was absolutely vile and they had just gone mouldy. The smell was just something I will never forget. The conditions they were in were completely unacceptable.”

Molly's teeth and hooves were grossly overgrown, and little Phoebe's feet were in immediate need of attention.

The donkeys were assessed and treated by vets while a prosecution case was launched against their owner. The owner, who pleaded guilty to 25 offences under the Animal Welfare Act, was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison with a lifetime ban from keeping animals.

A new start

Since being signed over to The Donkey Sanctuary's care, Molly and Phoebe have been receiving all the care and treatment they need.

Clean water, which had been so lacking at their previous home, is now constantly available to quench their thirst, while fresh straw now forms part of their balanced diet. Even a fresh, crunchy carrot as a treat has replaced the trough full of putrid vegetables.

Molly and Phoebe at grass
Overgrown donkey hooves seen during Selby rescue
Rotted carrots in trough at Selby rescue
From filth to green pastures; no longer do Molly and Phoebe have to survive on painful feet and a diet of rotten carrots.

Molly’s overgrown teeth were attended to by an equine dental technician, while both of the donkeys’ hooves were trimmed and treated by an expert farrier.

Charly said: “Both donkeys were incredibly nervous, shying away from any human contact, but with each day they are becoming more trusting and confident."

Continued care

With their improved health, along with their new found confidence, the pair have really started to come out of their shells. Now more active and full of fun, they love nothing better than to gallop around their paddock together and to simply enjoying ‘being donkeys’.

Rambunctious play, however, has recently led Phoebe into a spot of trouble. During the Christmas period Phoebe injured her left foreleg, which became quite a serious issue. The injured leg quickly began to swell, which effected the nerves and resulted in partial paralysis.

At a nearby specialist equine clinic for immediate treatment, Phoebe's injured leg was bandaged and put into a splint to give her extra support and to limit movement. She was also given medicine to help with the pain and swelling, and her condition monitored very closely.

Thankfully, Phoebe’s leg started to regain movement once the swelling was under control, and after a few weeks’ hospital care, she no longer needs the splint or bandages.

Staff expect her to make a full recovery, and look forward to seeing her and Molly back out in the field enjoying themselves again very soon.

Thanks to your support, we are able to be on hand when desperate donkeys like Molly and Phoebe need us the most – not only at the point of their rescue, but by providing care for the rest of their lives.