RSPCA inspectors seized some of Blackpool’s seaside donkeys in a raid on a farm following claims of abuse.
Some 29 donkeys and 16 dogs were removed from Fir Trees Farm in Salwick on Monday amid claims animals were being harmed on the property.
Blackpool RSPCA inspector Carl Larsson said: “We are in the very early stages of an investigation.
“The allegations in relation to the donkeys are of abuse rather than neglect.
“The dogs were taken with regards to environment. They are being cared for by the RSPCA and private boarders.”
An RSPCA spokesman added that further information could not be provided at this stage, but that the charity was ‘grateful’ to people who report suspected cases of animal suffering and that they would, if necessary, look into complaints.
The allegations in relation to the donkeys are of abuse rather than neglect.
Blackpool Council, which licences the beach donkeys, is aware of the ongoing investigation and is working with the RSPCA.
Speaking of Fir Trees Farm, Mark Ineson, 39, who has walked his 22-strong group of donkeys up and down the Golden Mile for more than 20 years, said: “I used to house my donkeys there two years ago. I think I speak for all of us when I say neglect and abuse has no place in what we do.
“As a general rule, people will find the donkeys on Blackpool beach are well looked-after. Holidaymakers have nothing to worry about with us.”
He added: “It pays to have good, clean donkeys. I love my donkeys, absolutely love them, and if you’re going to be a donkey owner you need to do it properly.
“There are more regulations now. It’s in our best interest to work with the council.
“The donkeys on Blackpool beach I think do have a very high standard.”
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We were supporting the RSPCA when we attended the address on Harbour Lane at about 7.20am on Monday.
“They received some animals from the address. Three people were seen by RSPCA inspectors.”
Our reporter attempted to contact Fir Tree Farm yesterday without success.