Working animals are being abandoned and left to suffer and die

The global COVID-19 crisis has meant that many owners have lost their income, and simply cannot afford to keep their animals. In these circumstances, many owners believe that if they cannot feed their animals, the kindest thing to do is release them to forage for themselves so, at the very least, they have a fighting chance of survival.

Although accustomed to lives of hardship, thousands of loyal working animals are now facing even greater challenges as they are left to fight for their lives, defenceless and alone.

Across Africa, our teams have seen a rise in traffic accident cases since lockdown measures have been put in place as more animals are roaming freely. Abandoned animals are being found and brought to our centres with sometimes life-threatening issues, such as colic caused by scavenging for food and eating inedible materials. The spread of infectious disease and parasites has also increased due to animals gathering together and mixing. And one of the most notable issues has been the increasing number of animal attack cases, caused by stray dogs or abandoned equids attacking each other out of frustration and hunger.

Without emergency feed, lifesaving treatment and expert care, they have little hope of survival. You can help save working animals faced with abandonment today.

Khadija’s story

Khadija the carthorse was spotted wandering around unattended near our SPANA centre in Marrakech, Morocco. The grey mare was struggling with lameness and unhealed wounds, and was visibly emaciated from lack of food in the empty streets.

Fortunately, SPANA’s mobile clinic was able to come to her aid.

On seeing Khadija, our veterinary staff were immediately concerned that she had been abandoned. The SPANA team came to her aid, carefully helping her into their truck to take her to the Marrakech centre for treatment. Once she arrived, the frail animal was gently coaxed out of the vehicle by the vet team. Khadija had a fresh, deep cut on her thigh, likely caused by a collision with a moving vehicle or cart. To make things worse, her shoulders and chest were covered with painful sores – a sign that the cart harness used by her previous owner wasn’t adequately padded.

Our expert vets got straight to work, cleaning her delicate skin and disinfecting the wounds to minimise any chance of infection. After fully assessing the situation, the vets decided that the mare would need stitches on her thigh. To calm Khadija, the vets administered a sedative and general anaesthetic so they could carefully suture the painful wound. Khadija was lucky to have escaped the ordeal without any broken bones or more long-term issues.

During her recovery, Khadija was given nutritious feed to help rebuild her strength, as well as antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to soothe her discomfort. She will now recuperate at the centre until she is rehomed with a responsible and compassionate owner chosen by a SPANA vet.

Thankfully Khadija will be found a good home, but for other abandoned animals the outlook is not so bright.

Without our intervention, working animals will be left to fend for themselves with little hope of survival.

With your support, we can distribute emergency feed to owners so that they can take care of their animals, helping to prevent abandonment in the first place. We can continue to reach abandoned donkeys, horses and camels that are in desperate need of vital treatment and emergency surgery, and protect them from the deadly threats they face. During this time, we are also taking all appropriate measures to provide extra accommodation and rehome animals where we can.

Animals like Khadija are at risk of dying, isolated and distressed, and we urgently need you help to save them from this terrible fate.

Please, if you can, donate today so working animals faced with abandonment can survive this crisis.

To speak to our friendly supporter care team please visit our contact us page and get in touch.