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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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Jay and Matthew looking for a home

Jay and Matthew are two beautiful 4 year old gelded donkeys. Jay was abandoned in Dublin in October 2013 and Matthew was abandoned in Mayo in November 2012.

The two skewbald beauties first met in The Sanctuary when they were put in to 'The Straw Barn' which houses a portion of the young male donkeys that we rescue. From the first day that they met it was apparent that they would be great buddies.

It is bizarre that the two boys are so similar in color, they could be mistaken for brothers! They have very sweet and gentle personalities.

Jay and Matthew

Happy Ending for Marmalade

There is nothing more rewarding for us here at the Sanctuary than seeing a donkey's life transformed for the better. We are delighted that 'Marmalade' the donkey who was originally found abandoned and wandering dangerously on a road has now found a very special place in a loving home in Co. Monaghan. Marmalade will be companion to Benny (an existing foster donkey) whose previous companion sadly passed away.

Marmalade & Benny surrounded by family and love

Under the Stars

We are always telling people that donkeys are sociable animals which need company. This was certainly the case for “Planet”. He is a fine healthy young donkey who lived in a big field in Co Roscommon.

Planet in high spirits in the care of The Donkey Sanctuary

Levi Star Attraction

Baby foal Levi who was born on June 4th 2015 is a star attraction here in Knockardbane. From the moment he was born into this world to mother Marina he has been surrounded by love and affection.

The Donkey Sanctuary rescued Marina in February in pitiful conditions and thankfully Marina and Levi can now look forward to a long and happy life together.

A visitor who recently met Levi said that "you can tell he was born into a safe environment, he was so confident and inquisitive."

Doireann meets Levi

Sleep well dear Kitty

Sadly Kitty the donkey taken into our care with her daughter (Tilly) was peacefully put to sleep last week as the result of her acute laminitis.
Supporters will undoubtedly remember our recent articles highlighting Kitty and Tilly’s plight
The decision was based on recommendations by our Veterinary team following consideration of recent x-rays and careful evaluation of her progress.

Jane gently showing Kitty how much she is loved

Nuala's story

Nuala came into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary when she was 6 months old. She was born blind and her owner thought that the Sanctuary was the best place for her as she struggled with her condition.

Nuala received exceptional treatment from all of the vet and farm staff who ensured that she settled in to her new surroundings comfortably.

Nuala when she first came into our care

Baby Foal Diesel makes a Friend

Diesel was taken into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary when he was just a few hours old after being rejected by his mother. He was very weak and in need of nourishment and care. The Veterinary team responded immediately and brought the weak little fellow into the warm and secure Sanctuary where he was bottle fed. The Vet and Farm teams formulated a rota as Diesel needed to be fed every two hours and monitored closely. There were some heart-wrenching moments when the Veterinary Surgeons were called in urgently and we were unsure of Diesel's future.

Diesel nuzzling up to best friend Olaf

Baby foal rescue

This little baby foal was born to a young donkey mare that rejected him. The donkey's concerned owner called The Donkey Sanctuary and asked for help. The Sanctuary responded immediately and the weak baby foal, just hours old was brought into The Sanctuary.

The Veterinary team are doing an incredible job of caring for the foal and feeding him every 2 hours. He will require a huge amount of care and attention but will hopefully grow to become a healthy, strong donkey.

Diesel when we first rescued him

Brigid's first birthday

Brigid is celebrating her first birthday this week! Brigid is foal to mother Sheena who we rescued in very poor condition in 2013. Luckily both mare and foal are healthy, happy donkeys now.

Last year we rescued 388 donkeys in total, 15 of those were mares that were in foal when they came into our care. We offer these foals sanctuary and guarantee them a life free from pain and suffering.

Brigid and Sheena


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