Il Rifugio Degli Asinelli, a subsidiary of the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary, was recently called upon to come to the rescue of two donkeys who were suffering from shocking levels of starvation and neglect.
After a report from a concerned member of the public, the Italian authorities went to investigate the condition of two donkeys in the Biella area of northern Italy. They found the animals, named Poldo and Silvia, in a severe state of neglect with painfully overgrown hooves, covered in lice and showing clear signs of malnutrition.
The authorities acted quickly and decisively to confiscate the donkeys from their owner and immediately contacted Il Rifugio Degli Asinelli (IRDA) to arrange for them to come to their Sanctuary base in Turin and receive the specialised care that they desperately needed.
It soon became apparent that the donkeys were in dangerously poor health and that without the intervention of the authorities they would not have survived. Silvia’s hooves were in such a bad condition that she was barely able to walk and upon her arrival at the Sanctuary, vets found that she was not only dangerously underweight but also in-foal.
Paul Svendsen, director of European operations for the charity says: “We were shocked when we first saw the condition of Poldo and Silvia. There is little doubt that without the fast action of the local authorities and the hard work of our staff, these animals would not have made it. They both have such lovely characters and it’s been wonderful to see them returning to the healthy, happy donkeys that they deserve to be.”
After several months of dedicated treatment from IRDA staff, both donkeys have now reached a healthy weight and share a beautiful paddock where they are enjoying visits and attention from visitors to the Sanctuary.
The Donkey Sanctuary has been working in Italy since 2004 and currently provides permanent refuge to over 100 donkeys along with addressing welfare issues across the country by providing education and training to donkey owners and professionals. For more information please visit the Il Rifugio Degli Asinelli website.