This shocking photo was taken in Segorbe (Castellon, Spain) when our Spanish team at El Refugio del Burrito received an anonymous call reporting the terrible physical condition of this animal.
The owner uses the donkey to pull a cart full of scrap from town to town, a relentless task which left the animal dangerously exhausted. On 10 March, after another exhausting day, the donkey collapsed in the streets of Segorbe.
A veterinary examination revealed that the donkey was suffering from extreme malnutrition and was so weak that his life was at risk. Despite our Spanish team's work to rescue the donkey on that day, he was returned to his owner.
On 13 March, El Refugio del Burrito sent an urgent request to seize the donkey to the local government, the local court, SEPRONA (Spanish animal welfare police) and the local police. The team also began a petition to call for the donkey to be relinquished into their care and shared the story on social media channels.
The campaign was an instant success with over 12,600 people signing the petition in under 13 hours.
At last, at 8.00 am on 14 March, members of SEPRONA in Segorbe called El Refugio del Burrito to coordinate the rescue of the donkey. The operation was complicated and took a long time as the owner still refused to hand the donkey over.
Despite the difficulties, SEPRONA liberated the animal in accordance with the law, acting with efficiency and professionalism.
A further veterinary examination has proven that in addition to severe malnutrition, the donkey was also suffering from hoof infections, multiple grazes caused by inappropriate harnesses as well as internal and external serious parasitic infections.
He has now been treated with intravenous rehydration, has had his hooves trimmed and treated, is eating a proper diet to gain weight and has been treated for parasites.
Currently, equine experts are looking after the donkey, who has now been named Vida (which means 'Life' in Spanish). When his health has recovered sufficiently, he will be able to live in the full time care of El Refugio del Burrito along with 300 rescued and relinquished donkeys.