A YOUNG commoner whose donkey was left to die after a hit-and-run collision near Exbury has said he sometimes feels like giving up on the ancient practice.
Dan Rangecroft (20), who keeps a herd of around 30 ponies and seven donkeys, said the animal underwent “terrible” suffering after the driver failed to stop and report the accident on the Exbury Road between Ipers Bridge and Hilltop.
He told the A&T: “It is very disheartening for young commoners to see our animals killed like this. I understand that accidents happen but I will never understand the mentality of anyone who can hit an animal and then just drive off and leave it in a terrible state.”
The young female donkey was the second of Dan’s herd to be killed this year following a previous hit-and-run in January when his pregnant Jenny donkey was left fatally injured in Bramshaw.
Dan continued: “This time thankfully there was another witness to the collision who phoned in to report it to the verderers so they were able to send out an agister to attend to it quickly.
“It looked as if the donkey probably sustained a broken back because it was unable to get up from the ground so it would have been in terrible pain.”
The accident took place at 6.55pm on Saturday 14th September, and involved a grey or silver Honda 4X4 car with a 61 plate. The driver did not contact the verderers at the time but telephoned the following morning to report it.
“It makes me feel so angry because the driver didn’t stop,” said Dan “It is such a cruel way to leave an animal – how can you just go bowling into a creature and then abandon it on the road to die?”
“I completely understand that accidents happen – and I am aware that it is not always the driver’s fault – there can be other factors like a dazzling sunset or an animal that is spooked and runs out – but motorists should always remain at the scene with the animal at least until the agister has arrived
Dan’s mother Sarah Rangecroft Napthine said: “If another member of the public had not reported it, she could have been suffering all night.”
Dan added: “All the animals on the Forest are owned by commoners. People often think the ponies and donkeys are wild but that is not the case. They all belong to somebody and we care about our animals.
“I’m sometimes asked me why I allow my animals to be out on the Forest near to roads where they can be hurt, but the New Forest landscape has been shaped by them. It is important that the new generation carries it on.
“It’s a way of life – but I honestly feel like giving up sometimes and selling the donkeys. When you are a young commoner trying to make a living you don’t have the financial resources to just replace animals.”
“I hope that people can take away the message that if you are driving on Forest roads you should drive according to the road conditions and the surroundings, not the speed limits.”
“Drivers need to remember that animals can be unpredictable as well – they can be spooked by a car noise or even a fly and just run straight out into the road.”