Petition seeks ‘justice for Bobby’

A petition calling for justice for the Fanad donkey that died from malnutrition and exposure over the weekend is drawing hundreds of signatures on line.

A petition calling for justice for the Fanad donkey that died from malnutrition and exposure over the weekend is drawing hundreds of signatures on line.

Danny Curran, manager of the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary, said their goal is to get thousands of people to sign the sanctuary’s Justice for Bobby Appeal petition, on line and on paper. The petition is available at the sanctuary’s Facebook page. Danny said the campaign wants to deliver the petition to the minister for agriculture, using a donkey and cart to travel the last distance from St. Stephen’s Green to government buildings.

“We’re also asking people if they would print off ‘Justice for Bobby’ on a sheet of paper and get signatures and post that to us,” Danny said. By the time of going to press yesterday, nearly 430 people had signed the petition on line.

The Donegal Donkey Sanctuary was called last Friday to rescue a half-starved donkey that had been found lying in 18 inches of muck and manure in an exposed coastal area of Fanad. Despite efforts to save the foal’s life, the animal died in the Castledooey, Raphoe, donkey sanctuary on Saturday morning. Local people had reported another donkey missing from the same field where Bobby was found, and there are fears that donkey also died.

“‘Bobby’ and his companion suffered in silent hope as the Atlantic storms battered their frail, little bodies,” the “Justice for Bobby” petition states. “We have cried over ‘Bobby’, we have talked non-stop about him since New Year’s Eve, we have shared his story on Facebook and on the media.

“Now let us do something. Let us speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” the petition states.

Bobby’s story has been told in the Irish local and national media, and the sanctuary’s Facebook reports have also drawn comments from viewers overseas.

The dying donkey was given the name Bobby at the sanctuary. “Every animal that comes here we give it a name, no matter how short a time it is here,” Danny explained.

It has been a busy year for the sanctuary and braying could be heard in the background as Danny spoke on the phone.

“Any donations we get are badly needed,” he said. “We have 30 animals in direct care at the minute, and we’re struggling.” The sanctuary holds a few fundraisers each year and has an open day each June. In 2011 they received a €1,000 grant from the department of agriculture, which “wouldn’t even carry half a week’s bills,” Danny said. The rest of the sanctuary’s operating expenses come from private donations.

Danny said Bobby’s case was one of the worst he has seen. He said it was the severity of the donkey’s mistreatment that led to the petition, and to calls from other campaigners for a statue or monument to Bobby in Fanad or at the sanctuary.

Danny would like to see the petition draw enough signatures to encourage changes to laws that would facilitate prosecutions in cases of animal cruelty. Bobby did not bear a microchip, and it has not been possible yet to prove the animal’s ownership.

“I’m no lawyer, but when I can’t get a case out of this, that’s no good,” Danny said.