Nine donkeys have been brought into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary after a commercial operator from North East England failed to make adequate improvements to their welfare.

The donkeys were underweight but continued to be booked for events.

Several welfare agencies, including The Donkey Sanctuary, RSPCA, World Horse Welfare and British Horse Society, had made prolonged attempts to support the donkeys alongside the local authority that licenses the commercial operators, but the improvements were not adequate.

Case proceedings were started but, as the owner signed them over, the decision was made at that point not to progress further. The owner’s licence as a commercial operator has not been renewed.

The donkeys, Maisie, Fallon, Paddy, Jack, Mini, Buzz, Sonic, Woody and Bobby, have since gone on to join new herds on our farms where their needs were best met – young, lively male donkeys get along and play together, while a mare in foal needed to be kept in quieter company.

These donkeys, who have been given sanctuary for life, are doing well and have reached a healthy weight. It is hoped that some of them may eventually be suitable to join our Rehoming Scheme to enjoy life with a loving family of Donkey Guardians.


Buzz is a donkey who stands out in the herd – for his lovely character and because of his floppy left ear. We aren’t sure why or how his ear became this way before he was in our care – he could have been born that way – but it certainly adds to his charm.

He is a very friendly donkey, with a sweet and gentle nature. His groom Emma Mortimer says that he can be a real worrier when faced with new experiences, and that he needs his friends to give him confidence, but he soon follows where they lead.

His friendship group includes a group of four other donkeys – Sonic, Woody and Bobby were relinquished alongside Buzz, and Oscar who came into our care at a similar time to them.

Buzz and Oscar have formed quite a close bond, and are often found together. It is common for donkeys to bond and form lifelong friendships. This is something that we take into account with every aspect of care here at The Donkey Sanctuary.