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Nonprofit DonkeyLand Provided Vet Treatment

Animal Services officers have been very busy with burros.

Although the burros are classified as wildlife, Riverside County Animal Services responds to calls from the public when a burro has been injured or needs assistance for a myriad of reasons – some that can be comical, others more tragic.

In the past three weeks, officers rounded up four burros that needed assistance. One burro was suffering from a wound on his hind area; another was suffering from a growth on its penis that was bleeding; a third burro ended up with a piece of piping stuck on one of its hooves; a fourth burro gave birth but the foal did not survive and remained dangling from its mother’s vulva.

All the activities resulted after residents contacted Riverside County Animal Services and each incident involved great assistance from community members by corralling the burros. Also, three of the four burros received veterinary examinations and care from SoCal Equine Hospital in Norco. The vet services were paid for by DonkeyLand, a nonprofit organization based in the Reche Canyon area, the region where hundreds of the undomesticated animals roam.

The most recent incident involved the female burro whose foal was stillborn and partially retained within the birth canal. Officers responded on Monday (June 8) to the Pigeon Pass area but the burro wandered off with her herd. The burro was successfully corralled on Wednesday. She was transported to SoCal Equine and the foal was removed. One of the back legs was in a position that caused the foal to get stuck. The female burro remains at SoCal Equine for care and observation and her health remains a concern.

“We’re worried and it’s still touch and go,” said Dr. Paul Wan, a veterinarian at SoCal Equine. “She’s eating, but we’re concerned she’s not eating enough.”

Sometimes a burro will stop eating because of the stress they’ve been through, he said. Dr. Wan said he believed the foal, based on its stage of decomposition, had been in that position for about four to five days. If the foal was not removed, the mother could have become toxic and died.

On May 28, Animal Services received calls regarding two burros needing help. One burro appeared to be bleeding from the penis and a second burro, nicknamed “Anklet Burro,” had some type of pipe stuck on its back left hoof. Officers responded to the area multiple times but could not locate the animals. On June 3, the officers spotted the burros in a herd, hiked to the location, but could not capture them.

Eventually, on June 4, the injured-penis burro was corralled by a resident. It was transported to SoCal Equine and successfully treated.

Anklet Burro was finally corralled on the evening of June 8 in the area near Winship Way and Center Street in Reche Canyon. The pipe part was removed on June 9 by Officer Christopher Peck. The burro needed to be tranquilized to allow the officer the ability to remove the piping without risking serious injury. After one or two attempts, Officer Peck managed to wrestle the object off the hoof.

He and his colleagues treated some superficial wounds on the same leg with a medication that would protect it from flies. After the tranquilizer wore off, the burro was released to the wild.

Also, in late May, officers impounded a female burro and her foal. The mother had injuries in her hind area. Unfortunately, that burro did not survive, but the foal was transported to DonkeyLand.

“We want to thank all of our community members that played huge roles in assisting us with these recent burro incidents,” Commander Chris Mayer said. “There are many caring people in our county and we’re fortunate to have their help so we can get these injured burros the help they deserve.”

He also advised the public to avoid dumping materials in the areas where the burros roam.

“These burros often play with objects, such as traffic cones and buckets – many items,” Mayer said. “And, unfortunately, some of these objects can cause the burros to suffer injuries.”

Contact a Shelter

Western Riverside: (951) 358-7387 (PETS)
San Jacinto: (951) 358-7387
Coachella Valley: (760) 343-3644
Blythe: (760) 921-7857

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