Young commoner hits out at ‘cruel’ driver who left his donkey for dead

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Dan Rangecroft’s donkey was killed on a road near Bramshaw

A YOUNG commoner has spoken of his anger after a pregnant donkey was left to die in the road near Bramshaw following a hit-and-run last week.

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Dan Rangecroft (19), who keeps a herd of around 40 donkeys and ponies, said the animal underwent “horrific and unnecessary” suffering after the driver failed to stop and report the accident on the B3079.

Dan found out his donkey had been fatally injured after his uncle Andrew Napthine attended the scene in his capacity as an agister.

“It was awful to see the state she had been left in,” he said. “One or both or her hips had clearly been broken because her back end wasn’t really working at all. She was in such a distressed state, she had started aborting the foal she was carrying.”

The accident took place sometime between 6pm and 6.30pm on Monday 14th January. It is believed the vehicle involved was significantly damaged in the incident.

“I am most angry because the driver didn’t stop,” said Dan “It is such a cruel way to leave an animal – I just can’t understand how a person can drive off and know that they have left a creature in that kind of state.”

Details of the incident have been shared online by the New Forest Safer Road Campaign in the hope the driver of the vehicle can be identified. The verderers offer a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the conviction of hit-and-run drivers.

Dan’s mother Sarah Rangecroft Napthine said: “The vehicle involved will have a broken headlight so if anyone has any information, please come forward.”

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.”

The incident comes weeks after another young commoner, 16-year-old Nicola Denness, urged the verderers to re-think their advice on reporting animal accidents following the death of two of her sheep in a hit-and-run on the same stretch of road.

Referring to the animal accident hotline cards, which are issued by the verderers offering advice to motorists, Nicola said: “Would it be possible to change or remove the wording regarding reporting the animal within 24 hours?

“If an animal has been hit by a car, it is not appropriate for the animal’s welfare for this to be left. So could the wording be changed to ‘reported immediately’?”

Dan also warned that if fatalities on the roads continue, young commoners could be put off practising. He said: “I have been brought up with commoning all my life – but it is a difficult way of life, and when your animals are killed on the roads, it can be very disheartening.

“It is not the first time one of my animals has been killed on the roads and sadly this is not the first hit-and-run. People wouldn’t drive off and leave a human dying in the road, so why do they think they can drive off and leave an animal?”

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