An “absolutely sweet mule” who arrived at Loulé’s São Francisco de Assis animal refuge during the summer as skin and bone has been brutally beaten to death in yet another assault on the property.
Staff were devastated when they found the dead animal in the enclosure she shared with another mule, a dog and a mare this (Tuesday) morning.
The latter two were “nowhere to be seen”, president of the refuge Lilo Kranendonk told us, and the mule is “hiding, too terrified to come out”.
“We can’t imagine what happened”, she said. “We have had break-ins like this before where gypsies come to take back animals handed into us by the GNR, but never anything on this scale.
“This is animal cruelty at its worst.
“I haven’t even been able to go down to see any of it”, she added. “I can’t bear it. She was just such a sweet animal”.
Hopes are that video cameras installed on the property may lead police to whoever was responsible.
The attack appears to have taken place between 9 – 10 pm on Monday night, and it is very possible that the mare was taken back by her original ‘owners’.
The founder of the refuge and one of the last remaining stalwarts in Algarve animal protection, Kranendonk said the only way to stop attacks on the property is to have people living-in.
“We had people living in until 1995, and then officials from Lisbon came and said it was not hygienic!
“But we have a lovely place now for anyone to stay in so I think we should be seriously looking for anyone prepared to live here and so offer a level of protection”.
The refuge is full to the brim with over 250 dogs, 80 cats and now just one mule.
Anyone keen to volunteer, or who likes the idea of living in an animal sanctuary should get in touch via telephone number: 289 416 862.
Money is a constant problem for the organisation but Kranendonk feels now is time to try and raise funds to build a wall.
“The reason people break in is that we only have a fence”, she told us. “We need a wall, as they can cut through the fence far too easily”.