By Abbey Snow

Eighth Annual Donkey Jamboree

The Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue and Adoption Center in Scenic, AZ will be holding their eighth annual Donkey Jamboree on March 12th at the Eureka Casino Resort with food, raffles, music and fun.

Joan Dunkle has been the manager of the Peaceful Valley Donkey Satellite Rescue and Adoption Center in Scenic, AZ for 12 years. 

“When I got married, we had twenty acres and needed to decide what to do with our land,” Dunkle said. “I wanted to have a full blown sanctuary with dogs, cats, and all kinds of animals because I had volunteered at the animal shelter. But, we found out it would have been very expensive because of all the regulations there were. So, we found out about the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue and applied to be a satellite center and it was approved. Six months later we started with six donkeys.”

The Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue is the country’s leader in rescue, sanctuary, adoption and education.They have a nationwide network of Ranch Facilities and Satellite Adoption Centers stretching from border to border with their main facility located in San Angelo, Texas on a 172 acre ranch. They provide rescue and rehabilitation services to thousands of donkeys suffering from abuse, neglect and abandonment all throughout the United States. 

Dunkle said when they first started, the main organization in Texas had only five outreach satellite centers that could take in donkeys to care for. She and her husband would go on roundups and rescue missions. She is no longer involved with those activities because the organization has grown and there are a lot more satellite centers to care for donkeys.  

“Some of the donkeys we had would come from round ups where they remove them out of parks such as Death Valley and they needed a home,” Dunkle said. “We also had donkeys that came from neglect situations where they weren’t being treated well, fed or looked after. Now things have calmed down quite a bit as far as neglected donkeys go in our area. There were many reasons why they wanted the wild donkeys out of Death Valley. A big reason was the lack of water, but they also are not indigenous to that area and were destroying some of the natural habitat for other animals.” 

Dunkle said they used to receive neglected donkeys from all over Arizona and Nevada,  but haven’t had that issue for quite a few years now. Abuse or neglect of donkeys are found out in various ways. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Bureau of Land Management, and even a local sheriff’s office will call on the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue organization to take them in. 

“The most interesting rescue I was involved in was when the Peaceful Valley Rescue organization was called in by the Humane Society USA to go rescue 119 donkeys off of the Big Island of Hawaii,” Dunkle said. “The donkeys were transported back in a cargo  plane to California. We went to Los Angeles to help unload the donkeys off of the airplane and load them into trailers. We were able to keep two of those donkeys from Hawaii and bring them here to our ranch. These donkeys look a little different but pretty. A lot of people come out here to specifically see the Hawaiian donkeys that are actually called Nightingales,”  

The Annual Donkey Jamboree was unable to hold their event last year due to Covid. They were fortunate enough to hold their last event in March 2020 before Covid restrictions took hold. At their past jamboree events, they have had a large crowd of over 500 people attend including many from outlying states.  

“The Donkey Jamboree is like a donkey fair,” Dunkle said. “We will have donkeys on site and the band ‘Bottoms Up’ will be playing. The Eureka is providing the food and beverages.We have many fabulous prizes that were donated from businesses for raffle prizes such as a golf package, trail rides, food, wine, and art pieces. We sell a lot of cute donkey things. Also, the  founders of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, Mark and Amy Meyers, will be there.”

Dunkle said she wanted to thank Eureka for sponsoring this event. She is also grateful for all the community support they’ve received.  

“The people are very generous in Mesquite and we really appreciate their support,” Dunkle said. “I have lived all over the country and this is one of the most generous places I have ever lived. I have never had any problems finding volunteers with this community.” 

The Peaceful Donkey center in Scenic has been very busy lately with tours. They have around 150 people a month attending the ranch to see the donkeys.They offer private and group tours and allow visitors to spend as much time as they want with the donkeys.The tours are free but donations are appreciated,Dunkle said.

Another event they hold is Christmas With the Donkeys. This is more of a thank you to the community from them. They have free food and open up the ranch so everyone can tour the center.  

“We also have a foster program as well that is very successful and fun,” Dunkle said. “ They get a certificate and picture with the donkey they are sponsoring. We find that when people sponsor a donkey and come out to see them, it also helps us train the donkeys. They spend time with them, play with them and it is very helpful. We help pick a donkey for them and they can go in the pen with them. They can brush and interact with them. One of us is always with them to help. It’s only $30 a month for the sponsor program and that just covers the cost of food per month. We started this program because others wanted to be involved but don’t have a place where they can actually take a donkey home with them.” Dunkle said.

The Eighth Annual Donkey Jamboree will be held on March 12, 2022 from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Eureka Casino Resort, 275 Mesa Blvd Mesquite, NV. For more information about the event, tours, foster program, or other questions contact Joan at  928-347-4506.

(The following photos are from the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, Scenic, AZ Facebook Page)