How much longer must a sick donkey suffer?

Dear Editor,
In mid-July 2011, I was told by an animal lover of an injured donkey near Vryheids Lust, on the East Coast. I went the next day and saw the donkey. He had been there long enough for the residents to give him a name – ‘Bruk up.‘ In addition to a huge growth under the neck the donkey had a terrible chop on its back. I applied some blue aerosol spray for wounds and cuts. When I returned to the city I called the GSPCA.  I was told that they were aware of this donkey’s situation and were looking into the matter.

I went on vacation and returned on August 27. The following day, while driving on the East Coast, I saw a donkey sitting in front of a Chinese restaurant. I stopped and was shocked to discover that it was ‘Bruk up,’ the same donkey from Vryheids Lust. I asked residents who owned the donkey but no one seemed to know; all they could say was that he was sick and had been around for several months. One vendor said the stray catchers came around and took some cows away and when she asked why they didn’t take the donkey, they answered, “it was too sick.”

For two weeks or so a group of animal-lover volunteers (Soraya, Natoya, Syeada and Richardson, employee of Noreen Gaskin) have been caring for this sick donkey, taking it rice bran, grass and buckets of water. Some days the poor thing was unable to stand and would eat and drink sitting and when he did stand he wobbled and his left front leg was injured and the hoof twisted. As of September 26, 2011 the donkey was still on the East Coast road embankment and shortly before 5 pm he was seen the middle of the busy road trying to cross. This, my friends, is inhumane and an accident waiting to happen.

It is public knowledge that strays are being picked up and taken to animal pounds, usually located at or near police stations, but I agree with the stray catchers that this donkey is too sick to be impounded. It has now been nearly three months since the GSPCA said they were “looking into the matter.” I cordially request the GSPCA, or other relevant authority, to transfer this donkey to a more suitable environment, for example the Botanical Gardens or end its suffering in a humane manner.

This sad case begs the question: What organization or institution is responsible for picking up and caring for, or euthanizing, street animals too sick to be taken to animal pounds?  Observation seems to indicate that ‘unofficial policy‘ is to let the animals roam the streets until they are hit down by vehicles and killed or left to suffer until they die, and only then are they picked up for zoo animal feed or for disposal by the city or NDC. Is this an acceptable practice in a civilized society? I don’t think so.

How much longer must this Vryheids Lust street donkey continue to suffer? When I ask this question the most common answers I hear are: “Oh, we can’t help the animal because it may have an owner,” or “If we put it down the owner may take reprisals.” There are too many large animals suffering on our roads and no one seems to have the authority to make the appropriate and timely decisions.

Isn’t it time for a revision of our laws whereby some government body be made responsible for dealing with street animals? And shouldn’t animal owners lose all rights to any animal left on public roads for more than seven days?
Yours faithfully,
Syeada Manbodh

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