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South Plains EC News

The Donkey Whisperer

SPEC member and board member enjoys caring for rescue donkeys during his retirement

There are many different types of animal rescue services, but have you ever heard of an organization solely devoted to rescuing donkeys?

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, headquartered right outside of San Angelo, began as a backyard hobby and has since become the largest equine rescue in the country.

PVDR has performed rescue work in 28 states and strives to provide a safe and loving environment to all donkeys that have been abused, neglected, abandoned, or wild burros that are under the threat of destruction.

The rescue donkeys at PVDR come from all walks of life: neglect, abuse and abandonment. PVDR’s rescue efforts are focused almost entirely around law enforcement, and they do very few owner surrender cases.

Local sheriff’s offices are typically responsible for the donkey abandonment issue. This issue is much greater during times of drought. “During the last major drought from 2008-2012, PVDR took in an average of 800 donkeys per year, just from Texas sheriffs’ offices dealing with the abandonment issue,” said Zac Williams, vice president of Offsite Operations at PVDR.

As the world’s leading donkey rescue organization, PVDR cares for approximately 3,000 donkeys at any given time, and since its inception in 2000, more than 10,000 donkeys have been rescued. PVDR is 100 percent funded through private donations.

While PVDR adoption numbers climb each year, more donkeys are being brought in than are being adopted. Because of this, PVDR had to find a way to keep the donkeys until they were adopted. In 2010, Project Sanctuary was created to fill that need. Donkeys are placed in herds of 20-150 where sufficient grazing is available.

Cooperative member and SPEC board member, Rynn Truett, has been involved in the PVDR Project Sanctuary since 2013.

Truett, a retired farmer and rancher, first heard about PVDR from a listing in one of the farm magazines he receives. He had considered leasing his grassland for cattle until he found out about PVDR.

Truett currently cares for 100 rescue donkeys on three separate farms outside of Idalou.

All donkeys brought into the PVDR system are microchipped. Twice a year, PVDR comes out to each farm to ensure the donkeys are healthy. Vaccines, deworming and hoof trimming is completed on site.

Rescue donkeys have quickly become a part of Truett’s family. “These donkeys are just fun,” Truett said. “My daughter-in-law and granddaughter love them the most.”

If you are interested in learning more about PVDR or adopting a donkey, please visit: