Dallas sheriff's deputies dealing with increasing stray donkey population
The drought in Texas has sent the price of hay and livestock feed rising, and it's made the cost of owning a donkey much greater. Accordingly, some owners are letting their donkeys loose in Dallas, causing trouble for the local sheriff's office.
You know you're in Texas when the local law enforcement has a problem with stray donkeys.
That's right. Stray donkeys. In Dallas. Population 1.2 million.
The problem, which is caused because of people letting their animals loose because they can no longer afford to feed them, has become such an issue that Dallas sheriff's deputies are being taken off patrol and other functions to focus on rounding up the animals.
Patrick Bonner, senior sergeant at the Dallas Country Sheriff’s Department, said the department picked up about 35 donkeys in 2011. It’s causing a strain on the office’s budget.
"People are just not able to afford these donkeys. Not just the feed, but there is also medical care for the donkeys," Bonner said.
Bonner said his office wasn't sure if people were simply opening a gate and letting them walk away, or if they're being loaded up and taken far away from home to be released.
Once the animals are captured by the sheriff's office, they're brought to the department's loose livestock center, where they're cared for and fed — at taxpayer's expense — until the owner comes and picks the animal up.
"They're not coming for the donkeys at all," Bonner said. "It’s costing approximately $8 a day per donkey to feed (them)."
So far, the department is hoping that either owners will claim their animals or a rescue organization will agree to take the donkeys. They tried to auction the animals off, but received few — if any — offers. One group, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, recently stepped forward and took 20 of the department's donkeys to their operation.
"It helped us out tremendously," Bonner said. "We have approximately 10 left now."
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