The Sidmouth-based Donkey Sanctuary is advertising its fostering scheme due to record numbers of donkeys being relinquished, partly as a result of the credit crunch.
Since October 2008, the charity has seen almost twice the number of unwanted/neglected donkeys come in compared to any quarter in the last two years. This significant increase has seen the charity's six farms in Devon and Dorset fill to near capacity.
The charity's rehoming scheme had not previously been promoted due to its overwhelming popularity, with a long waiting list of homes wanting donkeys.
Dawn Vincent from the Sanctuary's press office says: "Taking in more donkeys has an obvious impact on our finances and therefore fostering a pair of donkeys is a great way of directly helping donkeys.
We foster out donkeys that would benefit from the individual attention a home can provide. It also means we have more time to care for donkeys who are elderly or require expert veterinary care."
The Sanctuary's Head of Welfare, Martin Taggart, says: "We are looking for people who are very serious about taking on a pair of our donkeys. They take a great deal of time, money and commitment and therefore, we retain high standards and have minimum requirements prior to anyone being accepted on the waiting list."
The minimum fostering requirements:
- You must take a pair of donkeys - they are companion animals and bond very closely (not companions to other equines).
- At least an acre of grazing adjacent to your privately owned property.
- A stable and field shelter.
- Hard standing area.
- Post and rail fencing is ideal - donkeys are great escape artists and natural hedgerows are not enough!
All prospective foster owners must attend a Donkey Care Induction Day, held throughout the country, and receive a home inspection. Once accepted as a foster owner The Donkey Sanctuary delivers the donkeys to your door free of charge and a Welfare Officer will visit every 3-4 months to check the donkeys and provide any help or support needed. The charity asks all 'foster homes' to take on all costs of the donkeys, including feed, farriery and veterinary costs (routine and exceptional). The donkeys remain the ownership of The Donkey Sanctuary.
For more information (including full terms and conditions) and an application form, please contact our Welfare team on 01395 578222.