Abandoned donkeys rescued near A47 dual carriageway

Abbie and Timmy the foals

The mare and foal, named Abbie, who was three months pregnant, and Timmy, were spotted running in a field alongside the A47 near Dereham, with just a thin hedge separating them from the fast-moving traffic - Credit: Simon Horn

Two abandoned donkeys found running free alongside a dualled section of the A47 have been rescued by an animal welfare charity.

Abbie the foal

Abbie was found to be three months pregnant after she was rescued from a field beside the A47 - Credit: Simon Horn

The mare and foal, named Abbie, who was three months pregnant, and Timmy, were spotted running in a field alongside the A47 near Dereham, with just a thin hedge separating them from the fast-moving traffic.

As the donkeys did not belong to the landowner, the field had not been made safe for them.

The donkeys could have easily found themselves in a very dangerous situation if they escaped onto the busy dual carriageway, as they posed a real risk to drivers.

Following a call from the landowner, a donkey welfare adviser from the charity attended to help coordinate the rescue of the animals.

Timmy and Abbie the foals

The donkeys have since been kept in the care of The Donkey Sanctuary - Credit: Simon Horn

Sue Field, welfare adviser from The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “It was vital to move very quickly, both for the sake of the donkeys, and to reduce the potential of a major incident on what is a very busy road.

“It was very difficult to catch them in such a large open space. The donkeys were already naturally cautious, so had to be approached with a calm and relaxed mindset.” 

Abbie and Timmy were found in nearby woodland and eventually caught and safely loaded, before being transported to The Donkey Sanctuary’s holding base in Sidmouth, Devon.


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The Donkey Welfare Adviser made inquiries to the RSPCA and local police to check if the donkeys had been reported missing, but none had been recorded. 

“The landowner was unable to keep the donkeys and it was agreed for them to come into our permanent care," Mrs Field continued.

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“What made this rescue particularly unusual was that both the donkeys were found in reasonable condition, and were generally healthy with no signs of illness.

"It remains a mystery as to why and how they ended up in this situation.” 

Since arriving at the sanctuary, Timmy has shown to be a very inquisitive foal, whereas Abbie is more shy and nervous.

It was also found that Abbie was around three months pregnant when she was checked over by vets at the animal sanctuary.

The foal is expected to arrive in the autumn.

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