MEMBERS of the public have been urged to assist gardai following what has been described as one of the worst cases of cruelty ever seen by an animal welfare group.
Following a tip-off, volunteers from the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary (DDS) discovered a severely malnourished donkey in the old coastguard station building near the landmark Fanad Lighthouse on Friday.
The weakened animal was found barely conscious and lying in 18 inches of slurry in the derelict building in the townland of Arraheera.
Danny Curran, DDS manager, said he believed the donkey was trampled on by cattle as it lay on the floor of the building.
"This was nothing other than pure starvation. It is one of the worst cases of animal cruelty I ever came across," he said.
It is believed a farmer, who was using the building where the donkey was found, claimed two donkeys were abandoned there and that one was "taken away by someone and dumped".
Mr Curran said the DDS received a call from a member of the public on Thursday night, expressing concern about the welfare of both animals.
However, when he and DDS volunteers visited the station on Friday morning, they found one donkey in a collapsed state. There was no sign of the second one.
The sick donkey, named 'Bobby', was taken to the DDS premises in Raphoe where it was attended to by a vet. However, it died at around 7am on Saturday.
Mr Curran added that the donkey had also been suffering from pneumonia.
He praised gardai from Kerrykeel who assisted in the removal of the animal from the building.
A garda spokesman said they were investigating the matter. Anyone with information should contact Milford Garda Station on 074 91 53060.
The DDS can be contacted 24 hours a day on 087 2199977 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.