The power of social media has enabled The Donkey Sanctuary to help save a Mexican donkey in ‘jail’ without food and water.

At a time when our news feeds are often full of negativity, the positive power of social media has reached a donkey half a world away from the The Donkey Sanctuary’s headquarters in Sidmouth, Devon.

Tweets from followers alerting us to Mexican press stories about a ‘jailed’ donkey kick-started a chain reaction from our team. Within 24 hours, a group of vets were on the ground to recover the donkey in question.

Local dispute sees donkey jailed

The eight-year-old donkey is owned by a couple in rural Oaxaca, where he is well and truly part of their family. His owners are elderly and live several hours drive away from the city – so their donkey is integral to helping them go about their lives together, helping with essential tasks like collecting firewood.

The couple were enormously distressed to discover that their beloved donkey was missing. Their upset only grew when they found out he had been seized and locked behind bars without food or water.

At around the same time, news stories of the ‘jailed’ donkey started circulating in Mexican press. Over 5,500 miles away, at The Donkey Sanctuary’s headquarters in Sidmouth, we started receiving tweets alerting us to the jailed donkey’s plight.

With a rapid, coordinated effort between our Global Programmes team and The Donkey Sanctuary Mexico, these tweets from our followers soon turned into actions that would change the donkey’s fate.

The road to reunion 

After some investigation, it became apparent that the donkey had been seized by local municipality due to reports that he had damaged a neighbour’s crops.

The donkey’s elderly owners set out on the several hour-long journey to Oaxaca to contest the removal of their donkey, given the lack of evidence of his wrongdoing and the severity of the donkey’s punishment.

While the owners were on their own journey to set up a demand for their donkey, The Donkey Sanctuary Mexico’s Oaxaca-based vet, Jaime Enrique Vasquez Rios, made his way to the municipality agency with a team of vets from the Autonomous University Benito Juarez of Oaxaca. Once there, he was able to undertake a health and welfare assessment on the donkey.

Jaime was relieved to see that the donkey was no longer being held in the ‘jail’ without food and water, and showed no wounds or signs of disease.

With the donkey appearing in good health, Jaime, the donkey’s owners and the municipal agent were able to negotiate the donkey’s safe delivery back home.

Jaime accompanied the donkey on his journey back to his owners after what must have been a stressful experience for the young stallion. Taking the donkey to his owners, who were eagerly awaiting his return outside their front door, he was relieved to watch the happy reunion between the three.

The owners were quick to invite Jaime and the UABJO vets in for a celebratory meal to thank them for the safe return of their dearly loved donkey.

The Donkey Sanctuary’s Head of Programmes, Alex Mayers, says: “It is fantastic to see such a positive result when supporters, our Sidmouth headquarters, staff and partners on the ground come together so quickly to help a donkey in dire circumstances.

“In cases like this, our amazing supporters mean there are hundreds of thousands of extra ‘eyes and ears’ watching out for donkey welfare, and we will always do whatever we can as quickly as possible to stop suffering.”

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