Wild donkeys have survived in southern California's harsh deserts for a more than a century.
They are part of California's history and heritage, and are protected by federal law.
But every now and then they need human intervention, and a pair of donkeys roaming the area near Banducci and Pellisier Roads just outside Stallion Springs, are in serious need of help.
The two disfigured donkeys, according to Beverly Billingsley a former Sand Canyon Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue veterinarian, are suffering from severe Laminitis that can be seen by their elongated curled hooves -- a complex disease that can cause severe pain and permanent damage to the donkey's feet.
"The most likely cause is inappropriate feeding, this may include access to lush grass." Billingsley said. "The only way to treat it is through a process called de-bulking, which includes a farrier removing the overgrown hooves with a hacksaw after the burros are put under general anesthesia."
However, if the donkeys have a serious episode, Billingsley said the condition can be life threatening, eventually leading to death.
But before the donkeys can receive any type of treatment, they first have to be caught, and catching them isn't the only problem.
"Donkeys are typically found in the deserts, not in areas like the mountains of Tehachapi," Billingsley said. "And these two were likely domesticated and then just let loose."
It's that ambiguity of ownership, combined with the animals being discovered on private property that has barred rescue groups from already snatching them.
Nevertheless, according to Billingsley, due to the pair's severe health condition, animal control or law enforcement does have the authority to take the animals into protective custody.
But despite reports that the burros had already disappeared, promoting rumors that Kern County Animal Control had them picked thm up, the agency's public information officer Maggie Kalar confirmed that her department had not impounded any donkeys as of late last week.
The plight of the two battered burros has even attracted the attention of local law enforcement, prompting Stallion Springs Police Department officer Mike Grant to patrol the area where the donkeys were last seen in an effort to locate them. But it was unsuccessful.
This is something that Billingsley said is no surprise, as burros have been known to cover large distances in a short amount of time.
So for now it appears the two neglected animals have set off for greener pastures, possibly in search of food, water, or maybe just companionship from a human who can help heal their hooves and end their suffering.