June 05, 2014 - 10:37 AM
KAMLOOPS - A new property, a new barn and some new animals add up to one busy year for the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge.
Shirley Mainprize says they originally looked at moving out of the valley south of Chase but soon realized the valley offers the best environment for the donkeys. After visiting another property for sale they knew they had found the perfect place for the social and stubborn donkeys.
“We’ve been looking for a year and a half…. We just needed to walk around the property and we knew it was perfect for the donkeys,” Mainprize says. “It took six months of negotiations. It’s been an incredible journey.”
The new location is flat and offers lots of water. It was only missing outbuildings for the donkeys so that is the piece they are working on now. Mainprize says the new barn is coming together really well but finances are still a concern.
“It’s coming along really well, it’s actually falling together amazingly smoothly,” she says. “It’s just about the money. Though Kamloops Truss has made a substantial donation towards the trusses that are going up in mid-June and they’re trying to help with the roof as well.”
They are still in need of $235,000 to finish the first phase of the barn and then they will work towards the $50,000 needed to create an infirmary, which is necessary to help properly quarantine new or sick animals. The final phase of the barn will cost $300,000 and will take place down the road.
“People come out of the woodwork with expertise,” Mainprize says of the help they have received so far on things such as a new logo, brochures and architect drawings. “They do it because they care about animal welfare…. They do what they need to help.”
The new farm will allow the rescue to house up to 200 donkeys, according to zoning, which will allow them to focus on the animals that need help and not have to worry about turning any away because of size constraints. The refuge currently has 68 donkeys with two more arriving over the next week. Another three are planned for September.
The donkeys will start to move over to the new farm this week, in time for Donkey Days this weekend, though they will not fully move the operation over until they sell their current property.
The annual fundraiser will celebrate how donkeys and mules helped settle B.C. during the gold rush. It will be held at the new farm, 7877 Skimikin Road and will feature donkey buggy rides, donkey and blacksmith demonstrations, games and food. Donkey Days will take place Saturday, June 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The refuge began in 1999 with the purchase of Maximo and his elderly mother Maria. Since then the refuge has been offering a home for the neglected and abused donkeys of Western Canada, though it has only been open to the public for a few years.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014