Expats in Spain step up to help save an abandoned emu

Published:  15 May at 6 PM
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The focus of tragedies caused by the coronavirus pandemic is, obviously, on the appalling death toll and the possibility of an economic meltdown, but pets of all kinds also suffer when their owners die.

One sad tale out of Spain concerns an emu whose owner died from the virus and was left to starve, along with the rest of the deceased’s menagerie of 27 animals. After realising urgent help was needed, one concerned local lady called the Refugio de Burrito donkey sanctuary some 450 kms away and begged for help in saving the entire menagerie. Despite the distance, volunteers immediately responded and arrived at the site.

Finding 14 donkeys, four ponies, seven horses and a llama as well as the unfortunate emu, they swung into action and called in government vets to check the health of all the abandoned animals. The donkey sanctuary sent food and other supplies, and the female whistle-blower was kept busy looking after the menagerie. To date, the ponies have been taken to a horse rescue charity and given veterinary treatment for their poor condition and the horses are all now rehomed with local landowners. Most of the donkeys have also found new homes and the llama is now rehomed in Barcelona, but the poor emu is still unloved and unwanted due to bureaucratic requirements.

According to one expat working with the refuge, those wishing to rehome an emu need a special zoological license. One kindhearted man has already stepped forward, but needs to obtain the correct paperwork before the adoption can take place. The sanctuary is urging anyone who has the paperwork already and can help to contact them as soon as possible. In the midst of the worst life-threatening pandemic in human memory, it’s heart-warming to known that abandoned animals and even an emu can touch expat hearts and spur them to make a difference.
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