Donkey abuse case gets national attention

Published 3:21 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2006

By By JANET LITTLE COOPER – For The Standard
A Florida animal rescue group is receiving inquiries from across the country after taking custody over the weekend of an abused donkey.
Two Florida men were charged with felony animal cruelty after several people called 911 to report that a donkey was being dragged down a highway and whipped on Saturday.
Atmore veterinarian Hank Lee and his staff came to the rescue of the female donkey, and Panhandle Equine Rescue, a non-profit organization, helped transport her to Lee Veterinary clinic.
The case has received national attention, and Equine Rescue officials said they have had offers of support for the donkey from across the country.
On March 25, deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff's office received several 911 calls about two men dragging and whipping a donkey while traveling along Hwy. 29 in Ensley, Fla., south of Flomaton.
Blood from injuries to the donkey's legs, rear and side trailed at least 76 feet on the highway, according to a sheriff's office arrest report.
Deputies charged Terry Lynn Skinner, 38, of Molino, Fla., and Matthew Michael Ramsey, 33, of Cantonment, Fla., with animal cruelty, a third-degree felony. Both have prior convictions - Skinner for child neglect in 2001 and Ramsey for stealing property in 1997.
Several witnesses said they observed one of the suspects driving the truck and dragging the donkey, while the other one used a leather whip to beat the donkey.
Linda Lambert, president of Panhandle Equine Rescue, responded to the scene Saturday and helped transport the donkey to Lee's clinic in Atmore.
According to Lambert, the donkey, now being called Jenny, is 5 years old and has had two babies in the past.
The donkey is now in the custody of Panhandle Equine Rescue, Lambert said.
When Jenny is released from Lee's care, she will be placed in a foster home that is adequately equipped to meet her needs, Lambert said. Once the donkey has been released from her follow-up medical care, the organization will post the donkey on its Web site for possible adoptions.
The rescue team has received countless phone calls from all over the United States from people who want to adopt the donkey or contribute to her medical expenses.
Panhandle Equine Rescue began in February 2005 after the Escambia County Court approved and appointed them to be animal cruelty investigators.
The Panhandle Equine Rescue is taking donations. Donations may be mailed to Panhandle Equine Rescue Inc. P.O. Box 777 Cantonment, FL. 32533.

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