SIX DONKEYS and two ponies have been rescued from 'terrible conditions' in County Donegal.
The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Aimals (ISPCA) confirmed that a rescue was carried out as part of a joint operation between the charity, Gardaí and an official from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
In a tremendously sad case of animal neglect, the ponies and donkeys were found to be living in sheds which were "so bad that the animals had nowhere clean to lay down, only on contaminated bedding," and there was no food available to them.
The animals were immediately taken to be examined by a vet, who confirmed they were in very poor condition.
Some of the donkeys were thin, and found to be caked in faeces and infested with lice.
The gentle creatures had also become lame due to badly pared hooves, resulting in pain and discomfort as they tried to walk.
All of the animals were scanned for a microchip, which is a legal requirement, but were found to have none, and were seized under EU Identification of Equidae law and transported to the safety of the ISPCA rescue centres.
No identification documents were produced as proof of ownership, and the equines were transferred into the care of the ISPCA, where will be available for rehoming once fully recovered.
The animal care team say they are "very concerned" about one of the donkeys in particular, and his condition is being closely monitored as they await test results.
"We see a small sign of improvement however he has a very long way to go so we have to take one day at a time, hoping he has the strength to make a full recovery," a spokesperson said in a statement.
Speaking of the terrible conditions the animals were found in, ISPCA Senior Inspector Kevin McGinley said:
“It’s tragic that these animals had absolutely no quality of life.
"It appeared to me that the feet of the donkeys had been neglected for some time and that somebody had cut the hooves prior to the ISPCA visiting. It was a hack-job and clearly not done by a competent person. Farrier care is a specialised skill and should not be attempted by anyone without appropriate training”.
To enquire about rehoming one of the many animals the ISPCA cares for, or to donate to help them continue their essential work to keep neglected animals safe, you can visit their website here.