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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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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

Update on Bevan

Bevan who was rescued in pitiful conditions in 2013 by The Donkey Sanctuary has had a long recovery process. He suffered terrible neglect and found it difficult to trust people at first but he gained confidence through his friend Craig. Craig and Bevan are the best of friends and are never apart!

Thank you most sincerely for your continued support and compassion. Without you we would not be able to continue, from everyone at The Donkey Sanctuary we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude.

Craig and Bevan

Split hooves and old scars

A donkey with a seriously open wound and painfully overgrown hooves greeted one of our welfare officers when she visited two donkeys in Co. Mayo. Left there in December 2013, Liam and Bartley were in significant pain.

Three year old Bartley had long and split hooves and old scars on his face, while two year old Liam had an open wound on his rear flank.

We sprang into action and calls were made to a vet and farrier to deal with their immediate needs before transferring them both to our Sanctuary.

Bartley and Liam

Protecting the sick and unwanted

Sometimes we have to rescue donkeys despite the love they receive from their owners. On a cold and wet January morning Eugene Butler, our lorry driver, was at a motorway service station in Co. Kildare when he was approached by another truck driver. He was gravely concerned about six donkeys he'd spotted on his journey from Bandon in Co. Cork. With flood waters rising fast, these donkeys were in real trouble.

Ennis and Kayleigh

Animals left out in the cold

Animal welfare groups across Ireland have called for micro-chipping, neutering and vaccinating of pets to become mandatory.

Albert Kleyn, co-founder of the Cork Animal Care Society, explains the importance of these procedures, and says they need become a requirement for pet owners, sooner rather than later. He also said that the recently introduced Protection of Animals Act 2012 is too weak and missed out on the neutering and micro-chipping requirement.

Donkey walkway

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