Three rescued as sanctuary recovers from flooding

A donkey cruelly hobbled and left to stand alone without shelter throughout last month’s torrential rainfall is now safe from harm thanks to the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre (EHCRC).

The Rojales sanctuary rescued the donkey, named Dulce Dawn, on Boxing Day in a joint operation with San Javier police, even as the centre itself battled major flooding caused by a week of wet and wild weather.

Dulce Dawn had been found crudely tied to prevent her from moving, with rope wrapping from her head to her front and back legs – a technique known as hobbling. A shocking video depicting the hobbled donkey, posted on the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre’s Facebook page, has attracted international condemnation.

“This case went far beyond normal hobbling,” said Easy Horse Care co-founder Sue Weeding, who said that the donkey is also possibly in foal.

“While a lot of Spanish farmers do tether their horses in fields with rope, they don’t normally hobble them and certainly not like this. It was horrendous and barbaric and we suspect it was not even legal.”

Just one day later, on 27th December, Sue and her husband Rod Weeding were again called out by San Javier police to rescue another two ponies found wandering down a road in the same area.

Check-ups by the vet later revealed the stallion, believed to be about 14 years old, has one deformed hoof, while the mare, about 7 years old, is malnourished and could be in foal – but ultrasound tests conducted on 30th December were inconclusive.

Sue said: “It is looking probable that she is in foal but it’s difficult sometimes to get an accurate read with the mobile ultrasound. The other possibility is that she has a load of worms, which is why her belly is so big and she looks quite poorly. Our equine veterinarian will do another ultrasound in two weeks to confirm the situation.”

The three rescues came as the husband and wife team battled thick mud and used electric pumps to expel water from the fields and stables which were deluged with water in the recent floods.

The couple also discovered that the torrential weather had damaged a huge amount of expensive ‘forage’ that they’d bought in from northern Spain to feed their horses over the winter period.

“Our hay shelter is simply too small now that we have 102 rescued equines to feed, and although we did cover the forage up, it obviously got wet and started to go mouldy. Most of it couldn’t be salvaged, which was an absolute shame,” Sue said.

But she said the couple were buoyed by a show of support, with many kind locals generously donating to help cover the unexpected cost of replacement hay. Just €5 buys one entire hay bale, but many people donated much more, Sue said.

 

Your help is needed

As they attempt to get back on their feet, the Weedings are calling for donations of good-quality furniture items to sell in their network of six charity stores. The centre’s English tack shop is also offering half price off many brand new saddles, riding clothes and tack items until 31st January, in a bid to raise further funds. The equestrian store is located at the rescue centre and is open from 10am to 3pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Monetary donations are also gratefully received and can be made securely online at www.easyhorsecare.net/donate/one-off-donation.

Meanwhile, long-time supporter Louise Bradley of Looking Good Boutique in La Zenia has already sold five of the 20 elegant pieces donated to the cause by Canadian designer Joseph Ribkoff, raising €745 for the rescued horses at the Centre so far.

The Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre relies entirely on donations to fund its animal welfare work, including the feeding and care of the centre’s 102 horses, ponies and donkeys rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment. For further information call Sue Weeding on 652 021 980.

Located just outside Rojales at Partido Lo Garriga, 59, the centre opens to the public on the first Sunday of every month between 1pm and 4pm. Free horse tours run throughout the afternoon and refreshments are available in the café. For more details and directions, please visit www.easyhorsecare.net