Five men have been arrested for mistreating donkeys during a two-day sting operation aimed at curbing cruelty against animals.
Wang'uru Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Kiama found one of the suspects, 27-year-old Charles Wambu Njenga, guilty of animal cruelty. Mr Njenga was fined Sh3,000 with the alternative of a one-month jail term in default.
The court heard that on March 16 in Haraka village, Thiba, Njenga was found riding an overloaded donkey cart. He was also seen flogging the animal.
In mitigation, he said he was the sole breadwinner for his family after his wife deserted him.
Two donkeys whose owners fled are being held at Wang'uru Police Station under the care of an animal welfare group.
The sting operation was carried out by police officers from the station and officials from Kenya Society for the Protection and Care Animals and Kenya Network for Dissemination of Agricultural Technologies (Kendat).
Those arrested were found overloading their donkey carts, beating the donkeys mercilessly to force them to move faster or harnessing sick, wounded or limping animals.
The other suspects, who were released on police bails, will appear in court to answer charges of cruelty against animals.
Willis Aduda, a Kendat veterinary officer, noted the rampant whipping of donkeys in Mwea.
"We have been raising awareness on animal welfare among donkey owners and users, teaching the right way to care for their animals for long life and improved productivity. We look forward to a time when donkey operators will use the animals without harming them," said Aduda.