Can you help donkeys like Tracey?

Stable manager Linda Chilton, chairwoman of trustees Judy Gibbons and the founder and manager of the sanctuary John McLaren with Tracey the donkey

Stable manager Linda Chilton, chairwoman of trustees Judy Gibbons and the founder and manager of the sanctuary John McLaren with Tracey the donkey Buy this photo

First published in News

A donkey sanctuary has launched a £35,000 appeal to set up a hospital for the abandoned and abused animals it looks after.

Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell wants to build an in-house operation theatre so that animals do not need to be taken off-site for treatment.

It would have two stables, a soft sterile operating room, a sterile scrubbing-up room, medical equipment and drug storage rooms and a shower with toilets.

Trustees chairwoman Judy Gibbons said: “We are a rescue centre for abused and neglected donkeys. When they come to us many have undergone neglect and need treatment. Their systems are not robust, so very often they will be quite ill later in time.”

She explained the sanctuary, a registered charity, often has to organise operations for its animals and the process is often stressful for the beasts. It currently costs £1,050 to send a donkey to the vets overnight.

Ms Gibbons added: “They are herd animals and they get very stressed when they are parted from their friends. It means we have to send two of them. It makes sense all the way round to have an operating theatre here.”

The sanctuary – the only one in the county – was founded in 1997 and has a 140ft-long shelter for 80 donkeys. A visitor centre was opened in 2010 and welcomes people from 11am and 4pm daily.

Ms Gibbons said: “The ‘hospital’ is a much-needed resource. We have wanted this for a long time. We’re not going to be able to start work until we have the money. We also need to equip it properly, which will be very expensive.”

The sanctuary is holding a jumble sale on Saturday, from 11am to 2pm. Entry is 50p.

For more information on how to donate, visit donkeyrescue.co.uk or call 01491 833938.

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