A Chase woman who runs one of two Canadian rescue organizations for donkeys is asking for help to move 15 Victoria-area miniature donkeys to her sanctuary in the Interior.
The animals are currently at a farm where the owner is ill and can no longer care for them. He called Shirley Mainprize, who runs Turtle Valley Donkey Rescue, and asked her to take them.
“The story isn’t unusual but the amount of animals is unusual,” Mainprize said Wednesday.
The most donkeys Mainprize has rescued as a group in the past is six. Miniature donkeys are the size of large dogs, about 90 centimetres high at the shoulder.
After a few days evaluating the donkeys’ health, Mainprize said the situation is critical and the animals should be transported as soon as possible.
“They need to be rehabbed — they haven’t been wormed in some time and they haven’t had their feet done, or dental work,” Mainprize said.
On her website, turtlevalleydonkeyrefuge.webs.com, Mainprize has set a target of $15,000 in donations to help rescue the 15 miniature donkeys.
The sanctuary is at capacity with 39 donkeys, so Mainprize is trying to find foster homes in the Chase area.
Donkeys have lifespans of up to 50 years, so many animals outlive their owners and end up in need of care, Mainprize said.
“They’re such a stoic animal and they just take the conditions in their stride,” she said.
“A horse will jump a fence and go find food, but a donkey would stand there and starve to death.”
Efforts were made to locate homes for the donkeys on the Island, Mainprize said. Once she evaluated their health, she decided to try to get them to a sanctuary, she added.
“There are three of them that are having problems walking. You can’t send that donkey out to a home and expect the owners to know how to deal with that.”
There was too much to juggle trying to place the animals on the Island, she said. “We decided to just get them here and let our vet deal with them.”
The challenge is getting the animals off the Island. Haulers have been hired to transport the donkeys by the end of March.
The cost of gas and B.C. Ferries fees will be about $2,100, and that doesn’t include the hauling fees. About half that amount had been donated by Wednesday.
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