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Animal lovers rally to save Donegal donkey sanctuary from closure

Some of the donkeys grazing at the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

GENEROUS animal lovers have raised more than €30,000 in a day to save 70 donkeys who faced being put down over the threatened closure of a Donegal sanctuary.

The Donegal Donkey Sanctuary in Raphoe was facing closure if it could not raise its target to meet rising feed, veterinary and farrier bills, according to Sandra Curran.

Set up in 2006 by Sandra and Danny Curran, the charity has re-homed 600 abandoned and vulnerable donkeys through its Foster a Donkey scheme.

Ms Curran said: “The big thing was that we had a number of corporate sponsors and they went out of business recently and that’s what left us in this position.”

But within 24 hours of launching an online appeal for help on Tuesday, animals lovers had donated more than €30,000 (£25,000) to save the animals.

The sanctuary took in its first abandoned donkey in 2006 without realising how big demand would become.

Some of the donkeys grazing at the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

“We operate a fostering scheme so the foster families never own the donkeys but look after them. This ensures they can’t be sold on or they can’t be put to foal or even find themselves in the same vulnerable position they were in before they came to us. It means that foster families can return them to us if their circumstances change,” Ms Curran said.

The Donegal woman said everyone at the sanctuary was overwhelmed at the response to the 'Gofundme' online appeal for help.

Timmy the Donkey and friends enjoy the sunshine at the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

“On Monday night, we thought closure was inevitable but we’re starting to get a little more hopeful now.”

She had no doubt that people were particularly moved by “Timmy” a ten-month-old donkey foal born with damaged hind legs.

“Timmy’s our pin-up boy. When his mother was brought in, she was so badly beaten we didn’t even realise she was pregnant and Timmy was born with lax tendons. But our vets and the UCD (University College Dublin) veterinary department worked with him and developed ‘hyper extension shoes’ for him and we’re confident he’s going to make it now.

“We’ve had Americans who read about Timmy on social media and who were visiting Ireland and who dropped in to see him so we owe him a lot,” Ms Curran said.

Timmy the Donkey and friends enjoy the sunshine at the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Anyone wishing to help the sanctuary can donate online at the Gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/donegal-donkey-sanctuary-sos

Baby Timmy the Donkey enjoys a roll in the warm sunshine at the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

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