SSPCA ‘called to rescue plastic donkey’ in Airdrie

ANIMAL welfare officers responding to reports of a neglected donkey in Airdrie were stunned to discover the distressed animal was actually a plastic garden ornament.

Joshua the donkey, who sparked an SSPCA call-out. Picture: Contributed
Joshua the donkey, who sparked an SSPCA call-out. Picture: Contributed

Scottish SPCA officers acted on information phoned in to the charity’s helpline on Tuesday, which claimed a donkey was being kept in the back garden of a house, and was tied to a fence with no shelter.

Senior Inspector Bill Little added: “When I arrived, the owner asked me if I wanted a laugh and when she showed me the ornamental donkey it certainly gave me a chuckle.

“The donkey is made of fibreglass and goes by the name Joshua. He used to be kept at the side of the house and could be seen by people walking by so it’s possible someone called us as a practical joke.

“However, it may be that someone was genuinely concerned as it is a rather lifelike model.”


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Joshua’s owner, Rev Georgie Baxendale, said that the model had appeared in numerous nativity plays over the years.

She added: “This is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I used to have two donkeys and bought Joshua as a reminder.

“He’s very eye-catching - I think this could have been a joke or maybe the person who reported it just doesn’t know donkeys very well as real ones don’t stand as still as Joshua!”

It’s not the first time the charity has dealt with mistaken identity.


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Bill explained: “A couple of years ago one of my colleagues in Aberdeen responded to a report of owl neglect but when he arrived he discovered the distressed bird was in fact a plastic garden water feature.

“On another occasion we were called to rescue a snake lurking in a loft, only to find part of an Adam and Eve Halloween costume.

“This job can be very tough as we deal with cruelty cases and severely injured animals on a daily basis, so it’s quite nice when something like this makes us smile.

“Although this incident was a false alarm, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and we’d encourage anyone with concerns about an animal to call our helpline on 03000 999 999.”