The Farm Animal Sanctuary Animal Stories

Clive and Ernie

These wonderful donkeys, who are brothers, came to us just recently.  We were alerted to the fact that they were going to be euthanized the following day, so we immediately went out to assess the situation.  Sadly, their owners, an elderly gentleman, was diagnosed as terminally ill, so he arranged to have the boys put to sleep.  It is often the case that where there is a human welfare problem, this results in an animal welfare problem, and the owner took what he thought was the best decision.  But these boys are only 4 so we felt that they really deserved a chance to have a life well lived.  Our vet, trustee Josie Kemp, assessed the donkeys and although they needed considerable treatment, we took the decision that even though it is costly, the right thing to do was to offer them a home. 

Donkeys are believed to be some of the most mistreated and abused animals on earth.  They are also incredibly spiritual animals and many people believe they can look straight into your soul!  Donkeys are also synonymous with Christmas.  So, despite the financial hardship, I hope you agree that offering these two boys a loving home for life was the right thing to do.

Sheep Neglect Case 2018:

With help and evidence provided by our Vet, we were successful in bringing a case of gross neglect and unnecessary suffering to sheep before a court. After receiving a complaint, we went to see the sheep, they were weak, distressed and were alive with maggots.

Under the supervision of our local police and with our Vets attendance, we were able to remove twelve of the worst affected animals that evening. The maggot infestation was the worst the Vet had seen in an animal that was still alive, they were days away from dying a painful, wretched death.

One ewe lay still, with her head on the floor, she was to be euthanised to put her out of her misery. The ewe lifted her head and looked into the face of the Vet, it was decided we would bring her home, she’d shown us that she wanted help and had the will to live. We named her Hope.

She survived, they all survived, they stayed calm and trusting while their wounds were dealt with, the rotting fleeces taken off. Many weeks later we had twelve bright, confident ewes. The scars in their memory had faded, although they’d carry the scars on their bodies for much longer.

The owner was banned for life from keeping animals, and we were able to rescue the remaining sheep.

Sheep Neglect Case 2022:

Early in January 2022 we were brought eleven sheep that were desperately in need of our help. These sheep were brought to us from a farm where the dead bodies of starved and infected sheep were removed on what we were told was a regular basis. The authorities had been informed multiple times, but no one had taken any action. We wonder how many lives had been lost before we were made aware of the situation.

Our Vet was called to examine them, she confirmed they were severely malnourished, they had the highest worm count she has ever seen in a live animal, and they were badly infected with sheep scab.

We lost one of the sheep that first night, we named him Paddy, but we were too late to save him. He had been found lying under a hedge unable to stand or even sit up. We gave him fluids, vitamins, and our sheep life saver, Golden syrup porridge. After being given a few syringes he began to take it himself, we all had hope that he would make it. We take some comfort knowing he at least left his life feeling more cared for than he ever had before, with a deep bed and a belly full of warm porridge.

Treatment for the remaining ten was slow and steady, cases like this can’t be treated for all of their ailments at once as they can go into shock. They were given wormers, injections, vitamins, food, salt licks, and the sweetest hay over the course of many weeks.

Slowly but surely their health improved, their once blank faces were full of life, their cheeky personalities began to shine. 3 months after they arrived, they were well enough to have their final treatment to rid them of sheep scab. They thrived, and when they were finally well enough to go out onto the fields of lush spring grass, they bounced higher than any other sheep we’ve ever known.

Jacqueline and Josephine 2014:

Jacqueline was put in calf when she was too young, she was suffering from malnutrition and struggling to give birth to her calf. Our Vet had to perform a caesarean with Jacqueline tied up by the side of the road, her field was just a quagmire, the cattle in there were dragging themselves around knee deep in mud. The owner was given no choice when we told him we were taking her and her calf back to the sanctuary. He had been reported on a regular basis for causing unnecessary suffering to his animals, nothing was done, he was told to try and do better.

Jacqueline made a full recovery and was able to stay here, in safety, with her calf Josephine. They have never spent a day apart and will never have to as long as they live.

Percy the Wonder Pig 2019:

Found on the side of the M42 late on a Wednesday afternoon, just a few months old and unconscious. Council workers from a local depot carried him into the back of their van and returned him to their depot. A vet was called as he was in poor shape, the verdict was that he had fallen out of a trailer or some sort of vehicle, he was very badly cut and bruised, severely concussed and suffering from shock. They weren’t sure he would survive the night, so it was decided it was best to leave him overnight to rest and prevent further shock.

In the meantime, the RSPCA phoned a number of local sanctuaries, a home would be needed for him quickly if he survived the night. We seem to have been the only people to have picked up the phone that evening, and luckily, we had a space available. He was assessed as fit to travel the next morning, and so he arrived with us at the Sanctuary.

He spent the next few days recuperating, he was still sore and sleepy, we took him breakfast in bed and allowed him the time he needed to fully recover. He certainly isn’t the subdued pig that turned up that day – quite the opposite! He runs across his paddock to greet us every morning with a series of grunts and squeals, not so patiently waiting for breakfast!

Battery Hens:

We rescue ex-battery hens as often as we can, we’ve taken as many as we’ve had space for over the years. They come out of the crates, blinking in the daylight, almost featherless, feet calloused from spending all their time standing on a wire floor. As soon as they get over the shock of seeing grass they change, they haven’t forgotten how to forage for insects, they haven’t forgotten how to lie in the sun and spread their wings, they haven’t forgotten how to chase flying insects. They’ve just put up with living in a prison when, unknown to them, they hadn’t committed a crime.

The abuse of animals, especially farm animals go on out in the open, it’s happening now, at markets, sales yards and on farms. There are so many other stories of animal abuse and their rescues that we could tell you, too many to count. Please do get in touch if you’d like more information, sign up to our monthly newsletter here, or pay us a visit and come meet them for yourself.

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