Owners of animal sanctuary ‘heartbroken’ after death of baby donkey

The owners of an animal sanctuary in Thornhill have spoken of their sadness after a newborn miniature donkey foal passed away on Sunday night.

By Jessica Barton
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 11:30 am
Rupert became seriously unwell after mother Catherine regected the foal.
Rupert became seriously unwell after mother Catherine regected the foal.

The team at Millington’s Magical Barn discovered donkey foal Rupert on January 12, despite mother Catherine having had two negative pregnancy tests.

Unfortunately Rupert developed serious health issues. After hours of care from Millington’s founder Jake Ratcliffe and his partner Rosie, as well as a blood transfusion, Rupert sadly passed away on Sunday, January 23.

Jake said: “Earlier this month we opened the stable door and our miniature donkey Catherine had given birth overnight without knowledge of her being pregnant.

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In happier times, Jake and Rupert. Owners Jake and Rosie did everything they could to make his short life as magical as possible.

“The sanctuary is home to over 70 animals including miniature donkeys Catherine and Leonard, who arrived at the animal sanctuary 18 months ago.

“We always get the animals castrated because as cute as babies are, that's taking up another animal's place that we could be rescuing.

“However, we had suspicions Catherine was pregnant so we booked her into the vets for a scan, which was actually filmed for The Yorkshire Vet.

“Everything came back negative. It never even crossed our minds after that she could be pregnant, it was a done deal.

“However, to our amazement, we opened the stable door and there was little Rupert just standing there.”

Sadly, Catherine had rejected her foal and Rupert became an orphan. Jake and Rosie took it upon themselves to bottle feed Rupert every two hours, despite having full time jobs and other animals to care for on the farm.

As a result of his mother’s rejection, Rupert became dangerously unwell and despite hopes that he was starting to grow stronger, Millington’s Magical Barn announced Rupert had sadly passed away on Sunday night.

“Rupert touched the lives of many in the short period of time that he was with us, his radiance was truly magnetising,” Jake said.

“It absolutely breaks our hearts that he won't grow old here at Millington's, but we would like to thank each and every person that donated or messaged us with their support.

“With their help we were able to make his brief stay on this earth as magical as can be.”

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Millington’s was in the process of becoming a registered UK charity so it can save more animals from abuse and neglect. Unfortunately this has been postponed due to delays.

“Sanctuary life is expensive,” Jake said.

“Feed, vetting, medication, rent, transport, fruit and veg, maintenance, the list could go on. With your help and support more animals can be rescued from abuse, neglect and slaughter and live the rest of their lives in peace.”

Donations can be made at https://millingtonsmagicalbarn.com/