Guests with unapproved food blamed for deaths of donkeys at Land of Little Horses park
GETTYSBURG, PA — The owners of an animal theme park in Adams County say two of their donkeys had to be put down after falling ill and people feeding them food from outside the park. In a message posted to the Facebook page of Land of Little Horses Farm Park, the owners say the donkeys, named Dominic and Guisseppe, were humanely euthanized after contracting botulism toxin. They suspect it was from apples fed to them by park guests on Saturday.
The park sells food that is approved as feed for their animals. According to the post, there were guests on Saturday that brought food for the animals into the park and did not want to buy the park’s approved food. The visitors were told that outside food is not permitted because many of the animals are older and can choke on carrots and apples. The guests said their carrots were small. Staff told the guests they could not feed the animals anything other than petting zoo food. Later that afternoon, staff found carrots in stalls, as well as shelled corn and apples peels.
The park deduced the botulism may have been caused by the apples being carried in ziploc bags, keeping them moist and releasing the toxins as they fermented. The time frame from the incident on Saturday to the quick demise of the donkeys would be true to onset of symptoms, according to the Facebook post. Most often, by the time that symptoms present themselves, even administering the anti-toxin is too late to save the animal. Both donkeys were humanely euthanzied to prevent their suffering, according to the Facebook post.
From the Land of Little Horses Facebook page:
“I will not sleep tonight as we still are not sure if there is anyone else on the farm that will be affected. The next 12-24 hours will be a nightmare for me worrying that this will happen to another of our beloved animal friends.
Please remember, I do not make rules to ruin your fun or profit from the selling of our own feed. They are made to protect the lives of the things that I hold dearest. Please say a prayer that everyone else will remain safe and healthy. RIP Dominic and Guisseppe.”