DONKEY sanctuaries are struggling to cope with the rising numbers of abandoned animals.
The recession has led to a 30 per cent increase in deserted asses, announced Andalucia’s largest sanctuary, the Refugio de Fuente de Piedra in Antequera.
The shelter, which relies entirely on donations, has had to rescue 55 donkeys and mules last year, bringing the total number of resident animals to 212.
“This is becoming a big problem and we really need more donations as we receive no help from the government,” said the Fuente de Piedra’s fundraising manager Rafael Benjumea.
Donkeys are often the first farm animals to be abandoned by farm owners facing financial difficulties.
New EU animal welfare laws have pushed maintenance costs even further.
“More and more the owners ring up and say to us: ‘if you don’t take this animal, we will put it down,” said manager of the smaller Nerja Donkey Sanctuary, Rory Wallis.
“At the moment we are overcapacity. A couple of years ago we always had spaces.”
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