Here at the DSC, for the past twenty years we have coped with less than ideal housing conditions for the donkeys. Our 19th Century barn is charming from the outside, an artifact from another era but inside, it is dark, poorly ventilated and the foundation leaks whenever there is a storm. Additionally, its size and layout have always prevented us from separating the donkeys into smaller groups in order to cope with differing dietary needs. Finally, this past winter conditions deteriorated to the point where the health of the donkeys was being impacted negatively. Hoof ailments started to appear at an alarming rate and too many animals were gaining too much weight.
As a result the DSC Board decided in April that improvements to housing facilities could be postponed no longer and that construction should be carried out before the next winter season. Eight weeks later under the guidance of Kim Hayes, our Operations Manager, the construction process for a new Donkey House is well underway. Kim’s thorough competence and extensive equine experience are exactly what is needed for this major project. Matters of drainage, materials, location and, of course, cost are all factors in every decision to be made. Added to those are considerations regarding the movement of the animals in every season, management of manure, protection from wind, rain and snow…….the list is very long and myriad unforeseen circumstances must be anticipated.
The DSC’s Donkey House and Drainage Project will cost $175,000. For us, this is a very great deal of money, one that we hope to realize through donor contributions, appeals to corporations and applications to granting foundations. Of course in an ideal world, we would have raised these funds before the start of the project. But that was not to be since the needs of the animals deserved precedence.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the new Donkey House. On the one hand, we are looking forward very much to this new facility for the donkeys; on the other hand, this major fundraising is a great challenge. Advice and suggestions re funding sources would be most welcome.
Sandra Pady, Executive Director