Sanctuary slams donkey beach stunt

SIDMOUTH Donkey Sanctuary has expressed shock at a donkey being made to parasail over a Russian beach resort as a publicity stunt.

The animal was sent into the sky last week by entrepreneurs hoping to attract people to their private beach, at the village of Golubitskaya on the Sea of Azov. It landed in the water and was pulled ashore. Local police are investigating allegations of animal cruelty.

“The donkey screamed and children cried,” regional police spokesman Larisa Tuchkova told the AFP news agency. She added that bystanders took photos and phoned newspapers rather than call the police.

Sanctuary senior PR officer Dawn Vincent said it was the “most senseless cruelty case” the sanctuary had seen in its 40 years of operation.

She said: “The donkey would have been severely distressed, fearful and traumatised during the 30-minute flight. Donkeys are sensitive creatures and prone to suffer with a fatal condition called hyperlipaemia, a stress-related illness. We therefore have serious concerns over the present health of this donkey.

“We are truly shocked that anybody could treat a donkey in this way. The suffering endured by this poor animal is totally unacceptable and we hope that justice is brought to the individuals responsible for this mindless act of cruelty.”