This is to provide details of the requirements that are considered necessary to ensure the wellbeing of the donkeys that are being cared for as part of The Donkey Sanctuary Foster Scheme. It should also be noted that these Terms and Conditions form part of the Foster Agreement.
The foster scheme also includes mules and ponies – the term “donkeys” includes these animals unless otherwise stated.
- Owing to their propensity to form close bonds of friendship, donkeys are normally sent out as pairs or small groups.
- Subject to current availability, there is provision for the placement of a single donkey as a companion to a privately owned donkey. In such circumstances there is a requirement that ownership of such privately owned donkey be transferred to The Donkey Sanctuary. This will be subject to a ‘cooling off’ period of 21 days to allow the Foster Carer to reconsider his or her position prior to receiving a donkey under the Foster Scheme.
- Mules and ponies may be fostered individually or as pairs where homes have other mules or ponies on the understanding that should the foster home wish to cease fostering only the original animals will be able to return to The Donkey Sanctuary. The ownership of any privately owned animals will not be transferred to The Donkey Sanctuary in these situations. Regrettably this option is not open to homes with privately owned donkeys.
- Donkeys are not provided as companions to horses or ponies. In circumstances where horses and/or ponies are being cared for at the same premises, it is important that these are separately managed and housed.
- Once foster donkeys have been received at a home it is not permitted to introduce other donkeys, horses or mules into that environment.
- The Donkey Sanctuary regrets that donkeys cannot be placed on the Foster Scheme at remote locations.
- The Donkeys in the Foster Scheme remain the property of The Donkey Sanctuary.
- Routine visits from members of The Donkey Sanctuary welfare team will be agreed on a regular basis to help ensure the well being of donkeys on the Foster Scheme and support the foster home.
- The Sanctuary retains the right to remove donkeys from a Foster Carer if, in the view of The Donkey Sanctuary, it is necessary to do so.
- All costs relating to the donkeys including feed, bedding, dental, farriery and other veterinary care will be the responsibility of the Foster Carer.
- All prospective Foster Carers, together with others who may have responsibility for caring for the donkeys, are invited to attend a Donkey Care Induction Day in order to familiarise themselves with best practice in donkey care prior to the arrival of the donkeys.
- Specific training will be organised for those considering fostering mules.
- Foster Carers will be invited to develop their knowledge of donkey care and behaviour by attending more advanced training courses and workshops.
- Approximately 0.5 acre of suitable and safe grazing land is recommended for each donkey.
- External perimeter fencing must be permanent, secure and well maintained.
- Poisonous plants, shrubs and trees to be removed or fenced off as appropriate. Fruit trees may have to be fenced off in season.
Stable or shelter
- The donkeys must have access to permanent shelter at all times that is of sufficient size to accommodate all of the animals. The design and construction should protect from wind, rain, sun and flies.
- A suitable hard standing is necessary inside and at the entrance of the shelter.
- A constant supply of clean drinking water is essential.
- Foster Carers need to spend sufficient time with the donkeys. This will generally improve the sociability and well-being of the donkeys.
- Donkeys should be checked twice daily. The daily routine should include picking out feet, grooming and mucking out stables.
- Ongoing support to Foster Carers is provided by a Welfare Officer who will make routine visits. Additionally, advice on any matter relating to the donkeys can be obtained by contacting the Welfare Officer or the Welfare Department at The Donkey Sanctuary.
- The Welfare Officer must be informed of any major changes in circumstances that may have a significant effect on the welfare of the donkeys.
- No breeding is permitted with any of the donkeys.
- In the unlikely event of a foal being born to a foster donkey the foal shall be owned by TheDonkey Sanctuary who will determine the most appropriate arrangements for the foal’s future wellbeing.
- Appropriate third party insurance will be required. Advice is available from the Welfare Department.
- The donkeys may not be used for commercial or promotional activities without prior consent of The Donkey Sanctuary. Foster carers should also check that the proposed activity is covered under the terms of their insurance policy.
- Prior to delivery of the donkeys, details should be provided to the Welfare Officer of proposed arrangements in respect of veterinary, farriery and dental care of the donkeys. The Welfare Officer will be able to assist with details of a veterinary practice that specialises in equine care and of other specialists.
- Donkeys’ hooves must be trimmed regularly by a qualified farrier, registered with the appropriate national organisation. This will normally be at intervals of 6-10 weeks.
- Worming tests and treatment to be in accordance with guidelines from the attending veterinary surgeon.
- Vaccinate against flu (annually) and tetanus (every other year).
- Annual dental checks to be carried out by a BEVA/BAEDT qualified equine dental technician or veterinary surgeon. Whenever possible a dental chart should be obtained following each examination and treatment. This should be shown to the Welfare Officer, if requested.
- If a donkey becomes ill or suffers serious injury the Foster Carer should ask a veterinary surgeon to attend. This information should be relayed to a Welfare Officer as soon as practicable.
Death of a donkey
- When a donkey dies it is important that the local Welfare Officer is notified without delay.
- The Welfare Officer will discuss with the Foster Carer the most appropriate course of action to be followed regarding any remaining donkeys.
- Under certain circumstances a post mortem may be required. In this connection the decision will be taken following consultation between the attending veterinary surgeon and a veterinary surgeon from The Donkey Sanctuary.
- It is a legal requirement that an identification passport must be kept for every donkey.
- The passport will be provided by The Sanctuary and must accompany the donkey to which it refers when relocated under the Foster Scheme. It must be returned when the donkey dies or is returned to The Donkey Sanctuary.
- The passport must be available to a Welfare Officer, attending veterinary surgeon or a local authority enforcement officer.
- Foster Carers are advised that, in the event of donkeys being taken for any reason (however temporary) from the place where they are normally kept, the Foster Carer and/or transporter must ensure that the passports are available for inspection either during the journey or at the new location.
Please do not hesitate to seek advice from The Donkey Sanctuary Welfare Department for clarification or explanation of any aspect of the foster scheme.