All of The Donkey Sanctuary UK centres will remain temporarily closed while we continue to focus our efforts on ensuring our resident donkeys receive the highest level of care by our dedicated grooms who continue to work as normal.

Unlike other visitor attractions, we have numerous entry points to our sanctuaries, along with areas of very high footfall in the centre of our sites, this makes it difficult to safely manage the number of people coming onto site and to encourage responsible social distancing. We believe that high footfall to our centres will increase the risks to our staff whose main priority is to care for our resident donkeys.   

The safety of our visitors, staff and donkeys is paramount and is an overriding factor in our decision making.

In the coming weeks and months we will continue to monitor the situation on a local, regional and national level and hope to share with you our plans to slowly re-open our public centres. Only when it’s safe to do so, will we welcome visitors back to our sites. We will never be distracted from our core mission of putting donkeys 1st, 2nd and 3rd in everything we do.

Frequently asked questions

Donkey welfare

Can I still call if I am concerned about the welfare of a donkey?

As we adapt to the situation and most recent government guidance we have had to make significant changes to the way we work to keep each other safe and still reach donkeys most in need of our help.

Our welfare office team is now working from home but we are still on hand to provide advice and discuss any donkey welfare concerns you may have.

Our team of Donkey Welfare Advisers will review any welfare concerns reported to us. While we may not able to attend less urgent cases in person straight away, we are able to attend to emergency calls on a case-by-case basis.

Action

If you are concerned about the welfare of a donkey or mule in England, Scotland or Wales please get in touch.

You can complete our online checklist or alternatively, call our welfare advice line on 01395 578222 Monday-Friday 8.30am-4.30pm to speak to our experienced welfare team.

If your concern is an emergency and falls outside our normal office hours you will be directed to our emergency help line.

Advice for donkey owners and Donkey Guardians

If you are a donkey owner or Donkey Guardian worried about caring for your animals during the Covid-19 outbreak, we are still here for you. Please read our specific guidance on what you can do to help your donkeys and mules if you self-isolate or become unwell.

Visiting our centres

How long will your centres remain closed?

All of The Donkey Sanctuary UK centres (Sidmouth, Belfast, Birmingham, Ivybridge, Leeds, Manchester) will remain temporarily closed while we continue to focus our efforts on ensuring our resident donkeys receive the highest level of care by our dedicated grooms who continue to work as normal.

Unlike other visitor attractions, we have numerous entry points to our sanctuaries, along with areas of very high footfall in the centre of our sites, this makes it difficult to safely manage the number of people coming onto site and to encourage responsible social distancing.

The safety of our visitors, staff and donkeys is paramount and is an overriding factor in our decision making.

We'll keep you updated with any changes on our website and social media channels. In the meantime, you can still see our wonderful donkeys on our 24/7 livestream webcams.

Will staff still have access to centres?

Currently, only essential staff (grooms, for example) still have access to our centres. The rest of our staff are working from home where possible. Our centres (The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth, The Donkey Sanctuary Ivybridge, The Donkey Sanctuary Birmingham, The Donkey Sanctuary Manchester, The Donkey Sanctuary Leeds, and The Donkey Sanctuary Belfast) are closed to visitors and service users.

What is the situation with your centres in Ireland, Italy and Spain?

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19 (coronavirus) in Ireland, Italy and Spain, we have taken the decision to close our centres to visitors and service users.

Our resident donkeys are not affected and they will continue to receive the highest level of care by our dedicated staff.

What happens to your donkeys while your centres are closed?

Our resident donkeys will continue to receive the highest level of care by our dedicated grooms who continue to work as normal.

How many donkeys do you have in total at your centres?

We have 7,000 donkeys and mules in our care across the UK and Europe.

Can people catch coronavirus from donkeys?

There is no evidence that people can catch coronavirus from donkeys.

Can donkeys catch coronavirus from people?

There is no evidence that donkeys can catch coronavirus from people.

Adopt a Donkey

If I adopt a donkey, will I still get my adoption pack in the post?

Yes. Thank you so much for adopting a donkey, you will still receive your adoption pack in the post. We aim to get this to you within 14 days of receiving your order.

Will I still receive updates about my Adoption donkey?

Yes. We are currently still able to send out updates about our adoption donkeys. Remember to follow Adopt a Donkey on Facebook and Twitter to see regular updates from all of our adoption donkeys.

I’ve just renewed my adoption; will I still receive my new portraits?

Yes. Thank you so much for renewing your adoption for another year. We are still able to send you your new portraits. We aim to get these to you within 14 days.

I pay for my adoption by Direct Debit, will I still receive my new portraits on my anniversary?

Yes. Thank you so much for adopting a donkey by Direct Debit. We are still able to send you your new portraits following the anniversary of your adoption. We aim to get these to you within 14 days.

I paid for my adoption with a one off payment, will I still receive a reminder when it’s time to renew my adoption?

Yes. Thank you so much for adopting a donkey. If you paid for your adoption with a one off payment we will send you a reminder to renew when your adoption is due to expire. Don't forget you can always renew your adoption online.

Can I still visit my adopted donkey?

No. Due to Covid-19 all our sites are temporarily closed to the public, meaning you are unable to visit your adoption donkey at this time. Please rest assured that our donkeys continue to receive the highest level of care.

Donations

Will you be processing my recent postal donation?

Yes. Postal donations will be processed, however, we have a smaller than usual team onsite, so there may be a delay in the processing.

We kindly ask that you consider donating online for the time being. This will mean that the money reaches us straight away and it will not need to be manually processed.

Gift shop

Can I buy something from the online gift shop?

Our online shop in now open.

Our telephone sales line are currently closed and is scheduled to reopen later in the summer.

I have received a gift catalogue, can I still send in my order?

Yes. We are accepting gift catalogue postal orders.

Will you be processing my recent postal order?

Yes. We have now processed and posted all orders from our Spring gift catalogue.

If you have any queries about your order please send an email.

Spring Raffle

Did the raffle draw take place as planned?

No. Unfortunately, we were unable to draw the raffle on 18 May 2020 due to the coronavirus lockdown.

We have now rescheduled for the draw to take place on Friday 31 July 2020.

Have you processed my raffle entry?

All payments received before 17 July 2020 have now been processed.

We apologise for the delay in drawing the raffle.

When will the raffle draw take place?

We have scheduled to draw the raffle on 31 July 2020. We will publish the winners on our website by 1 August 2020.

(Updated: 13/08/20, 14:55 GMT)