The Donkey Sanctuary’s Italian rescue centre can now guarantee sanctuary for life for 50 donkeys, mules and hinnies taken into their care after a major rescue which took place three years ago. The appalling case which resulted in over 200 donkeys, mules and horses being rescued from an equine trader in Colleferro, Italy has finally come to a close after a three year court battle, led by The Donkey Sanctuary with the Italian Horse Protection, to provide sanctuary for the animals.
The animals had been abandoned without food or shelter and surrounded by the bones of donkeys and horses that had starved to death. These animals have now been guaranteed permanent homes through the signing of a relinquishment agreement covering over 200 animals, including the foals born from the horses and donkeys that were pregnant at the time of the rescue.
The Donkey Sanctuary’s Italian organisation, Il Rifugio degli Asinelli, joined Italian Horse Protection’s rescue team with, volunteers and vets. The rescue also had involvement from the Italian equivalent of the RSPCA (Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali) and Legambiente.
Manager of Il Rifugio degli Assinelli, Barbara Massa, says: “This result is a triumph in recognising the serious neglect and mistreatment experienced by these animals and also sets a precedent for possible similar cases. We’re satisfied that the result is a positive step in animal welfare. The most important thing is that now a happy and peaceful life is ensured to over two hundred animals.
“And in consideration of the commitment and the large number of animals involved, my personal and enormous gratitude goes to my staff and the other animal welfare organisations who helped with this rescue for their hard work and dedication to giving back life and dignity to the donkeys, mules and hinnies we rescued, to heal their wounds, both physically and mentally”.
The Donkey Sanctuary has been involved with donkey-related welfare issues in Italy since 2004 when they rescued 21 donkeys from terrible conditions at a bankrupt zoo in Naples. The growing network of welfare advisers work tirelessly to support donkey owners, rescue donkeys in need and develop foster home placements to make room for more donkeys to come into their care.