A British animal lover has dedicated her entire life to saving emaciated, abused, and sick donkeys. She has been spending up to $7,800 per month to care for the animals on her very own sanctuary in Israel.
Lucy Fensom, 49, from Brighton, England, has gone above and beyond to nurse the neglected donkeys back to good health abroad. The animal lover was first drawn to these animals in Jerusalem, Israel, in 2000, whilst traveling. However, Fensom never left, and set up her own donkey sanctuary, which is spread on over 3 acres of land.
Fensom, a mother of one, has shared some graphic images of mistreated, abused donkeys being cared for in her sanctuary; a selfless act that is not for the fainthearted.
Fensom said she is able to rescue roughly 16 donkeys a year that are often on the “brink of death.”
“I have seen hundreds of mistreated donkeys and it doesn’t get easier. It is heart-breaking to see them in so much distress and pain,” she said.
“The carts and rope tied around them tend to rub on their skin and the wound almost always gets infected,” she added. “It is really terrible!”
From gouged-out eyes and cut-off ears, to gaping back wounds and fractured limbs, the condition of some donkeys requires putting them down—but the sanctuary tries its best to get them back on their feet.
The sanctuary is manned completely voluntarily by Fensom and her husband, with just one part-time paid helper.
Fensom said: “There’s currently 53 donkeys and three horses at the sanctuary. It costs approximately 5,850 pounds (US$7,552) per month to look after them and pay the maintenance bills.
“Our biggest concerns is [sic] the cost of the feed and fluctuations in the exchange rate.
“We raise funds mostly in pounds and some dollars, but of course ultimately everything eventually has to be exchanged into Israeli shekels,” she added.
“Sadly, we get less shekels to the pound. The hay bales alone cost 2,000 pounds (US$2,582).”
However, Fensom praised the support the sanctuary receives from animal lovers and “amazing supporters” who help make hand-made chain covers for the working donkeys.
“Their owners tend to use chains around the soft nose in order to have some control of the donkey,” Fensom said.
“Our supporters have made chain covers out of thick soft material such as fabric fur,” she said, adding that these covers can be wrapped around the chains.
Fensom said this prevents the chain from “rubbing on the skin and causing a gaping wound.”
As donkeys have since antiquity served humans as beasts of burden and transport, Fensom also volunteers to educate people on how to ride on them safely.
“Some donkeys are used with a cart attached to them and mistreated,” Fensom said. “[I]t is so hard because some of the donkeys are confiscated by the police and sent to my sanctuary which is great for the donkey but not the owner.”
“I try to prevent this from happening and educate people on how to treat them with respect,” she said.
Fensom said the sanctuary also has a veterinarian who helps with medical checkups of the donkeys and provides necessary treatment when they hold outreach clinics.
“A lot of locals think I am crazy for caring so much for the animals but their suffering hurts my heart,” she said. “I feel compelled to act.”
Despite missing out on British culture after relocating to Israel, Lucy says she has no regrets.
She said: “I never intended on staying in Israel for so long but I have found my reason and place in life. It started in the 90s as I ended up volunteering at a cattery after rescuing a stray who was in a bad way.”
Fensom said that there was a donkey outside that was often left tied to the wall for days together.
“I would feed him. Eventually, I bought him as his owner would leave him for months at a time,” she said.
After Fensom managed to enlist help from the WSPA (The World Society for the Protection of Animals) organization, they arranged for the donkey to be sent to a UK-based sanctuary.
“I’ve always adored animals and I hate to see them suffer,” she said. “I have been passionate about helping the donkey’s [sic] ever since!”
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.