Skegness

Council and RSPCA visit beach amid donkey heatwave concerns

East Lindsey District Council is happy with the conditions of donkeys at Skegness beach in the recent hot temperatures despite online criticism from residents and visitors.

A Facebook post by Kim Beasley, who visited the beach on Tuesday (July 24), claimed the donkeys were ‘ready to collapse’ and there was ‘no shelter, a bucket of hot water and the sands were hot’.

It was shared 28,000 times with over 4,000 comments and Kim told Lincolnshire Reporter: “The public are very angry and compassionate about this.”

Things got heated on social media with some annoyed about the rumoured conditions and others displeased that some made assumptions without knowing the facts.

The council officer however said the animals had both shade and water and that licenses were being complied with.

Epton’s Donkeys, the company which runs donkey rides on the beach said animals would “never be put in harm’s way” and disputed allegations that they were mistreated.

A concerned resident took a photo of the donkeys at Skegness beach.

Council responded to concerns

East Lindsey District Council sent an environmental health officer to visit the donkeys.

The Council’s Public Protection Service Manager, Jon Challen, said: “The Beach Donkey operators are expected to comply with their licence conditions and the council does undertake random inspections to help ensure this is the case.

“The operator is expected to carry out an assessment before taking their donkeys to work, this includes ensuring weather conditions are suitable and the donkeys are in good health/fit.

“Our Environmental Health Officer has visited the donkeys this week and they had both shade and water.

“We can only deal with the conditions of the licence and our recent visit suggests these are being complied with. We would suggest you talk to the RSPCA if you have welfare concerns.”

‘Love and compassion’ for donkeys

Chris Epton of Epton’s Donkeys.

Chloe Epton, who’s family owns Epton’s Donkeys in Skegness, said: “Recent posts have made out the donkeys of Skegness are being mistreated and I want to point out that this is not the case at all.

“The Epton family have owned donkeys for a huge number of years and are extremely well trained in regards to their treatment and welfare.

“Chris Epton is the best owner that they could possibly have as he is so passionate about them and would never put them in harm’s way!

“The donkeys’ health are checked regularly and there are never any complaints! We have won national awards such as ‘Britain’s best donkey’ and are extremely proud of the life we give them.

“The work they do on the beach is to give them the best treatment possible! The amount of love and compassion which has been given to these donkeys is endless and I hope people can see this!”

RSPCA and Donkey Sanctuary

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “We attended the donkeys on Skegness beach within a few hours of being called, following concerns from a member of the public. We spoke to the owners and gave them advice.

“We’d like to thank members of the public for contacting us and if there are further concerns about these or any other animal, we would urge people to ring the RSPCA on 0300 123 4999.”

National charity the Donkey Sanctuary added: “The Donkey Sanctuary does not encourage or endorse the use of donkeys in any form of entertainment, but does recognise donkeys are used in activities such as beach rides.

“The welfare of donkeys should be the highest priority – they should be physically fit, have access to fresh clean water, food, and protection from the elements.

“Complaints about donkeys working in the heat are not uncommon at this time of year and our donkey welfare advisers are able to visit, monitor and give guidance and support to donkey operators where appropriate.”

Guidlines for working donkeys can be found here and The Donkey Sanctuary has also published new advice on caring for donkeys in extreme heat.