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Donkey Welfare

We provide support, help and advice to anyone involved in caring for or thinking of caring for donkeys and mules. As well as a team based at the main Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon, there is a network of welfare advisers throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe who are there to provide direct help and support to donkeys in need and to donkey owners both from our foster scheme or from private homes and organisations.

We help organise the relinquishment of donkeys and mules into the Sanctuary's care as well as oversee the fostering scheme. We are also the team to help if you see a donkey or mule in trouble.

Advice, help and support on caring for your donkeys is provided by our welfare team by calling 022 49013, Monday-Friday, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm (answerphone service outside of these hours).

All calls are strictly confidential.

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Education is the most powerful tool we can use to change the world

Education is without doubt a key part of the answer to improving the lives of donkeys and mules in Ireland and running donkey care courses in new venues throughout Leinster is something high on the priority list. We have held successful courses in Wexford and Dublin in established guardian homes and at My Lovely Horse welfare organisation in Kildare. Courses have been well attended and the feedback has been positive and encouraging.

Donkey care course

Hoofprints in time

Phoenix (age 5) and Baxten (age 6) are two ordinary donkeys that came to me a year ago from the Donkey Sanctuary. They are two lively young donkeys with an inquisitive attitude to life. At the weekend they went back 100 years in time to 1916. The occasion was the “Country and Rural Life” re-enactment hosted by Teagasc on their farm in Athenry, Co Galway and over 20,000 people were expected. Three months ago both the donkeys and I were totally unprepared for this journey.

Pheonix and Baxten

The importance of microchipping your donkeys

In Ireland, the identification system for equines (horses, donkeys, mules, hinnies) comprises of a passport, a micro-chip and details recorded on a database maintained by approved issuing bodies.

It is the law that all equines have a passport and a microchip. The aim of these regulations is to improve the system for the identification of equines and to provide extra safeguards for owners and breeders of equines as to the identity of animals. It also represents a major step forward in safeguarding the food chain.

Donkeys at the Sanctuary in Liscarroll

Important week for donkeys

This is an important week for donkeys as it starts with Palm Sunday which for many means the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Added to the biblical account is the legend that Jesus made a cross on its back and ever since a cross over a donkeys back is a common marking.

Donkeys enjoying the sunshine and the grass

17 donkeys rescued in Meath

A concerned member of the public contacted The Donkey Sanctuary regarding a large group of donkeys roaming through a bog in Co. Meath.

Our Donkey Welfare Adviser, Cathy, visited the bog to investigate, and was greeted by 17 terrified, neglected donkeys with extremely overgrown hooves.

One female donkey with the most horrendously twisted hooves struck a chord with Cathy. Although she was in visible pain and discomfort, she was kind and gentle. We named her Breeze.

Donkeys rescued in Meath

A big week for blind donkey Bocelli

In January 2015 the Sanctuary received a call from the public regarding three donkeys who had been abandoned illegally in county Louth. The weather was inclement and the donkeys had no feed or shelter so our Welfare team prioritized this case and removed the donkeys from this situation immediately. The Gardaí assisted with the relinquishment of the donkeys and were very helpful. The donkeys began their rehabilitation process in the comfort and warmth of the Sanctuary in Liscarroll.

Eren and Bocelli in July 2015

Edith and Mini look forward to Spring

Donkeys Edith and Mini were taken into the care of The Sanctuary in July 2015. Their owners could no longer care for them and made the responsible decision to contact us and ask for assistance. Our Welfare team sprung into action and before long these two donkeys were settling into life in Liscarroll.

The donkeys were in good condition, they were assessed by our Veterinary team and tests proved that Edith was in foal. A donkeys gestation period can last between 10-14 months and she was not very far gone so we anticipate that she will have her foal in the Spring/Summer months.

Edith and Mini peer out from their cosy home

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