OUTRAGE and despair in equal measure greeted the controversial arrest of a British couple, who ran foul of the law when trying to save a pregnant donkey they reported as being in a dreadful condition of neglect.
Peter Singh and his wife Jean run a small charity dedicated to rescuing abused animals in Spain and across Europe, and have previously attracted the unwelcome attention of the Local Police.
Alerted to the plight of a donkey Peter described as pregnant, blind in one eye, with a hoof like a tennis ball, and malnourished such that she was mere skin and bones, the couple felt there was no choice but to take drastic action.
The following day they sneaked through the unlocked gate of the farm in Fortuna, Murcia and quietly retrieved the distressed animal with the intention of returning to their base in Pinoso, Alicante to seek urgent medical care for her.
What happened next has ignited fury across the British expat community and animal lovers in fearsome numbers.
Upon their arrival back in Pinoso they were greeted by a Local Police car lying in wait, attuned to their plans, and what Peter has told EWN was an aggressively racist tirade from an officer of the law.
The couple were reportedly told to go back to England before being unceremoniously detained for hours while charges of animal theft were drawn up and a court date set in motion.
Condemned to a local stable, overflowing with horse excrement, no help was proposed for the pregnant donkey, nor further investigation launched against the owner.
Peter and his wife will now pay the owner and take custody and care of the donkey and two others. They have been overwhelmed by the limelight and are now considering moving elsewhere.
Peter’s story is in many ways a powerful metaphor for the cultural collision that continues to throw an occasional spanner in the works of British-Spanish relations. Whether it’s bullfighting or the donkey taxis of Mijas, British people have long championed the battle against animal cruelty.
And it is in moments of heated cultural clashes that racism and bitterness rear their ugly heads, after lying unspoken in the shadows.
But had Peter been Pedro, and the donkey rather been a lamb on a Lancashire farm would the story have been so different?
Is breaking into someone’s property a step too far? Where do you draw the line? More to the point where should we collectively draw the line?
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The Euro Weekly News is proud to contribute €100 to help Peter and Jean with the costs of saving the donkey and her unborn child. If you would like to help, contact them at [email protected] for details.