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In December 2021, a donkey owner in Bela-Bela, South Africa, was sentenced to two years in prison for negligence and abandonment of his donkeys. It is a vindication of our work, a rare victory for animal welfare and a sign of positive change for the future.

Recently, our partner Marc Ward of Have a Heart Equine Sanctuary (HAHES) in rural Bela-Bela, alerted us to a horrific case of donkey abuse – but this time, the outcome is a victory for animal welfare and for the donkeys!

A donkey named Blaze was found wandering the hot and dusty streets of Bela-Bela, alone and with open seeping wounds – wounds that later turned out were the result of having had boiling water thrown over him.

Blaze's wounds starting to heal at the Have a Heart Equine Sanctuary

Blaze’s owner had received several warnings in the past for not looking after his donkeys and when one of his donkeys was tragically killed after being knocked down by a vehicle. When it emerged that Blaze, too, was one of his animals, Marc opened a case of negligence and abandonment against him.

Charges were laid under the Animals Protection Act and after two court appearances, the donkey owner was found guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison. This is profound news, and Network for Animals (NFA) is proud to be a part of the positive change for animal welfare in Bela-Bela.

Blaze has been at the HAHES sanctuary for several months but is still on daily pain medication. His costly treatment ($500 per month) is ongoing because of his chronic non-healing wounds, and he requires constant care and wound cleaning three times a day. We will keep you updated on his recovery.


NFA has been working in rural Bela-Bela, South Africa, for the past two years and we have successfully managed to reduce donkey abuse in this impoverished slum by 40%. With the help of Marc and HAHES, we have successfully set up a safe house for abused donkeys, have placed a cruelty investigator in the community, and helped microchip donkeys in the area for easy identification.

It is thanks to this microchip program and outreach work that we were able to identify Blaze and the owner responsible for his abuse. We could not have done this without your donations and without your continued support. You are the reason that justice prevailed for Blaze!

Please continue to donate to Network for Animals. Your donation will be used to rehabilitate and care for our brave little fighter, Blaze, and the many other donkeys of Bela-Bela.


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