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Four-legged residents of Antigua’s Donkey Sanctuary enjoyed a special meal over the weekend after the Bethesda facility welcomed a 40ft container of hay and straw.

The sanctuary, which is operated by the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society, was delighted to receive the food from Southeast Hay Distributors in Florida, bought with donations.

While it is not the first time the Humane Society has imported hay for its equines, particularly when prolonged drought depletes the grass they graze on, officials said they were exceptionally grateful for donors’ generosity in view of the global impacts of Covid-19.

“There are more than 100 donkeys in the sanctuary that are here because they either were causing trouble in the community – eating crops, destroying irrigation systems, causing road accidents etc – or were being abused, usually by young boys needlessly beating them,” a spokesperson said.

“The donkeys need to be fed, watered and cared for. This includes treating for parasites, hoof care, dental care and veterinary treatment.”

Such costs are usually met by donations from visitors but the pandemic has seen visitor numbers dip.

“Many of our supporters, including Facebook friends and donkey ‘adopters’ have lost their jobs and are under financial stress,” the spokesperson added.

“Nevertheless, they came through and donated the funds necessary to make the purchase. They are wonderful people and we can’t thank them enough.”

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