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Did a Google Street View car run over a donkey?

Google has today been caught up in a Street View storm, after fears emerged that the search giant’s mapping team struck an innocent donkey in a brutal hit-and-run.

Web users began circulating pictures of a donkey photographed on Google Street View in Botswana, that showed the animal lying down in the dirt – apparently reeling from a collision with Google’s car.

But the company has taken to its Maps blog to deny the claims and reassure us that “donkey is alive and well.”

In a post titled “Never ass-ume”, Group Product Manager Kei Kawai speculates that the donkey was possibly just enjoying a “dust bath,” and that it walked aside as the car approached.

Despite the alarming image above, Kawai presents a sequence of images that suggest the donkey remained unscathed – so we’ll just have to hope this isn’t an elaborate cover up for a rather sinister mapping episode.