Earlier this year, a group of youths were implicated in a case of cruel animal abuse in Ireland.
In June, a helpless donkey was rescued from being brutalized by a mob of 20 children. The poor animal, though traumatized by the incident, has since made a full recovery.
According to a witness, as reported in The Irish Post, there were “three of them on his back … while others repeatedly hit and kick him.”
The donkey could be heard screaming during the attack. A group of women came out into the street, stood by his side, and attempted to protect the animal.
When Gardaí and local animal rescue staff showed up on the scene, the youths scattered, and the poor animal was rescued.
Limerick Animal Welfare took the donkey in. He was later dubbed “Eli” and moved to Hilltop Sanctuary after Limerick asked for assistance with his recovery.
Now, in the care of Pat and Catriona Lowry of Hilltop Sanctuary, Eli is learning to trust humans again.
“When he arrived he was very shook,” Catriona told The Epoch Times. “It was truly amazing how all the other rescue ponies went so quiet when he arrived—as if they knew what he had been through.”
Hilltop Sanctuary has experience rescuing abused and injured animals, and they knew just what to do. With some dedicated care, they knew Eli would heal.
“All his wounds have healed now,” Catriona said. “He had a bad cut on his head, bruising and a few burns. He was emaciated and his hooves were curling.
“This would have made it so much harder for him to run away from his attackers. That night must have been so horrific for him.”
She added that they were heartbroken to see how he’d been treated.
“Only two years in the world and all these young men attacking him for hours,” she said.
The other rescue animals wanted to help, too.
“Maggie, one of our rescue cats, never left his stable that night and their bond continues to grow. HollyB, another rescue, came from the same city. And they seem to know each other.”
Now, Eli’s hooves have healed and he’s made best friends with HollyB, another rescue pony. HollyB often tries to egg him into chasing her around the yard.
“It’s very funny watching a donkey chase a pony,” Catriona said, adding that Eli’s condition is so much better now.
He still experiences moments of trauma, though.
“Sometimes, if you go to touch his head, he does seem to go somewhere … maybe something is triggered about that awful night.”
Still, Eli has a very calm demeanor, and is rediscovering his playful side, too.
“He does have really playful moments,” Catriona said. “It’s like he regresses to being a donkey foal. I imagine he missed out on that part of his development.”
Now, Eli is repaying the kindness of the other rescue animals by tending to new animals that come into the shelter. Catriona said that when they bring in new rescue horses, he stays by their side, just like Maggie and HollyB did for him.
And it isn’t just animals he’s tending to, either. Just a few weeks ago, a man in a wheelchair visited the sanctuary, and Eli wanted to meet him.
“Eli was adamant to be let out the gate to go to him,” Catriona said. “It was a very special moment as he bowed his head so the young man could touch his head.”
She added that people can learn a lot about life from animals, and that animals like Eli have a great propensity to help us heal.
“Eli could teach people so much-how to bounce back,” she said. “How to love despite being hurt terribly, and the importance of letting go of your woes and just playing!”
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