Five donkeys die after owner abandons 20 animals in Galway field

One donkey was dead upon arrival and four had to be euthanised.

Abandoned donkey (Photo: The Donkey Sanctuary)

Níall Feiritear

Five donkeys have died after twenty animals were abandoned by cruel owners in Co Galway.

When volunteers from The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland were alerted to the emergency, the group discovered the donkeys were dehydrated and had overgrown hooves.

One donkey was dead upon arrival and four had to be euthanised. There were four pregnant mares and three foals among the group, which were taken in by the sanctuary while the remaining eight equines were later rehomed.

“This case is a significant moment, but not unexpected”, said Laura Foster, Director at The Donkey Sanctuary.

"Too often, we see suffering that could have been prevented or stopped much sooner.”

Ms Foster’s group provides care for 1,700 Irish donkeys who have been forsaken, abandoned or neglected.

Abandoned donkey (Photo: The Donkey Sanctuary)

In recent months, the charity has talked about the significant challenges caused by the deepening donkey welfare crisis in Ireland.

Now the Donkey Sanctuary has reached maximum capacity.

“We have been talking publicly for some time about the unsustainable demand for our welfare services, which now far exceeds our capacity for sanctuary-based care,” she said.

“With over 1,700 equines in our care, we must be able to focus on caring for their needs, as well as doing what we can to prevent and end suffering in the community.

“Although we expect the Galway case to be the last time we are able to bring new donkeys into our care for the foreseeable future, we will be as busy as ever providing support, advice and rehoming services to donkeys across Ireland.”

Awful case of neglect and abandonment involved 20 donkeys

Laura explained that prevention and legal deterrents are the only sustainable solution for all agencies involved in animal welfare.

“We will be increasing our education and support activities to reach as many donkeys as we can.

"However, this work can only be effective alongside robust law enforcement, which is why our relationship with government veterinary inspectors, the gardaí, and the ISPCA, is so important.

“We must also tackle the donkey population issue through castration and effective end-of-life decision-making. Too often, we see suffering that could have been prevented or stopped much sooner,” Ms Foster added.

According to rescue groups, Ireland is in the middle of an animal welfare crisis. with countless deaths are occurring right across the country.

After a sulky horse was raced to death in Dublin recently, Martina Kenny of ‘My Lovely Horse Rescue’ made the following statement:

“We need a dedicated garda animal welfare unit to ensure existing legislation is enforced.

“We ask the public to email Drew Harris, Garda Commissioner: commissioner@garda.ie and request that such a unit be established.

“We know there are some gardaí that want a position like this. They want to ensure that those who abuse and neglect animals face prosecution. It’s time – we need this. It is vital,” said Ms Kenny.

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