Every year in June, the Spanish town of El Rocio plays host to a pilgrimage attracting nearly a million people and 20,000 equines. For the third year running, a team from The Donkey Sanctuary has been on hand to ensure that care of the animals is being upheld.

While many of the injuries witnessed are often due to ill-fitting harnesses, the hard-working animals in the heat of the sun can also succumb to dehydration and exhaustion leading to potentially fatal situations.

When the team was alerted to a collapsed mule in a murky swamp, they were faced with one such dire situation.

Watch her story unfold

The mule had been tied to a tree and had collapsed through exhaustion. She was thought to be between 24 and 28 years old.

The team worked for four hours to get the mule more comfortable, and made several attempts to help her to her feet.

Despite their efforts, her condition continued to deteriorate and it became clear that she was critically ill.

The difficult decision was made to put her to sleep.

It is only thanks to your support that the team was there to make her final hours more comfortable.

The mule's owner and the person who rented her both received sentences of one year and four months in prison as well as a three-year ban of working with animals for the person who rented the mule to work.