Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue held their 2nd annual Donkey Jamboree on Saturday, February 28. The annual fundraising event was sponsored by and held at the Golden West Casino with a great turnout and, according to volunteer Joanne Migliozzi, it was a huge success.
The PVDR was founded by Mark Myers in 2000 after his wife bought a donkey of the internet as a companion to her horse. The couple had never had a donkey before and they loved it. “It was just like a big dog”, said Myers. “Buying that donkey was like buyin’ a big ole pickup…you’d never really notice a whole lotta pick-ups on the road until you buy one and then you notice them all over. Well that’s how it was after we bought that dang donkey, there was donkeys everywhere. The donkeys we were seeing weren’t friendly and loving the way ours was though. They had green snot hanging out of their noses and sores on their bodies, they had issues of all kinds so my wife bought ‘em. We paid people to drive ‘em to our house and I’d sit up with em at night and talk to ‘em. We kept that up until we had about 25 donkeys. We thought then that we’d better find a way to get these donkeys outta here and the easiest way was to start a rescue that way we can have an adoption program and we’d have control of where these donkeys go.”
The Myers’ passion for donkeys and their welfare has turned into a nationwide organization. The PVDR is coast to coast and border to border working in 28 states with adoption facilities all across the country and by number of animals rescued and by geographic location they have become the largest animal rescue organization in the country.
Myers and his highly trained burrow collies, Butch and Bonnie, along with their border collie create a strong team, traveling the country doing law enforcement work and catching donkeys. Donkeys are naturally aggressive toward them so the dogs must be very careful not to get kicked or attacked by the donkeys. The dogs work without fences and sometimes have to catch donkeys next to highways and they are trained not to push the donkeys onto the roads. The border collie is used as a bait dog, running ahead of the donkey so the donkey will chase to attack the dog while the other two, Butch and Bonnie, make noise from behind. The logic is that the donkey will chase the single dog rather than the two behind him and run for the “bait” into the enclosure which ultimately leads to the rescue and relocation of the donkeys.
Myers explains, “These dogs are the only full time donkey dogs in the United States and have been doing their extremely dangerous job for 6 and 8 years. They have all been beat up and have spent lots of nights in the hospital but they love their job.”
Councilwoman Cindi Delaney thinks that the PVDR and other organizations, such as We Care for Animals, who support it are wonderful programs that educate people on the plight of not only the donkeys but all animals who are abused, neglected or abandoned. Councilwoman Delaney hopes that fundraising events such as this will help to raise awareness enough that the laws governing animal abuse and the people who abuse, neglect or abandon animals will be held accountable and receive stiffer punishment for this type of heinous behavior.
A special thank you goes out the Golden West Casino for sponsoring the Donkey Jamboree and Scott Grove for emceeing the event. Because of them and all the generous donations from those who attended the event was a success and the PVDR and the donkeys are grateful.