Donkey Deluge Dogs Drought Devastated Texas
January 2, 2012
I’ve reported on Texas’ drought-enhanced Tumbleweed Terror. Now there’s a deluge of abandoned donkeys.
DALLAS—Law-enforcement agencies in Texas are grappling with an unusual problem: stray donkeys, which are roaming roads and fields in growing numbers and overwhelming animal shelters.
The donkey predicament is one of the odder ramifications of the record-setting drought that has dried up Texas. Hay supplies have shriveled, causing prices for a bale to more than double over the past year.
Now, authorities say, owners who no longer can afford to feed their donkeys are turning them loose.”The donkey problem is epidemic,” said Patrick Bonner, senior sergeant at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. “We’re inundated.”
NPR has the story, see part of the transcript below – Robert Siegel interviews a Donkey-deluged deputy:
SIEGEL: Well, tell me what happens. Do you get a report that there are just some donkeys wandering around on a county road?
BURNETT: Yes, sir. And then, a deputy is dispatched to confirm it. At that point in time, he looks in the area and sees if he can locate the owner, which many times a person will take a donkey to whatever and put him in a trailer and take him to an isolated spot in the county and dump him. And then, we have to get the – what we call the posse through a volunteer a group, and they pick them up for us. And at one point in time in the summer, they actually had to put them on my property.
We didn’t have anyplace else to go with them. And now, we have a rescue center, but we’re fixing – we have to empty it out. And we have some county property that has some grass left over, and we’re going to put them on that until we figure out something else to do with them.
SIEGEL: What’s the upkeep on the donkey or 28 of them for that matter?
BURNETT: If we’re feeding them hay, it’s a lot because I have four horses, and they eat a bale of hay a week, minimum, and donkeys eat about the same. You know, I went to our commissioner’s court about, oh, two months ago now and asked them in a last-case scenario if we could euthanize them. And I don’t want to euthanize them. You know, I rescue animals on a regular basis, but it’s getting to the point that the SPCA can’t take them. The Black Beauty Ranch, which they can live out their lives on, is full. Everybody is full. And every county in Texas that has people and animals, I know they’re having the same problems, every one.