2022 Ag Spotlight: Rancho Burro Donkey Sanctuary
Meet Carlen and Jim Eckford of Rancho Burro Donkey Sanctuary
Say hello to Carlen and Jim Eckford, founders of the Rancho Burro Donkey Sanctuary, a nonprofit organizations in Arroyo Grande!
The Eckfords, along with sanctuary staff and volunteers, are dedicated to caring for donkeys that have been abused or abandoned. They also give presentations and attend community events to educate people about these marvelous creatures.
“People don’t think about how donkeys grow old and that they need the same care as a horse,” Carlen said, referring to landowners who decide to get donkeys. “They just think, ‘They’re so cute!’ They think they're getting a puppy."
For example, without proper care, a donkey’s hooves will grow in length and become deformed. This can cause a range of medical problems, such as infectious diseases and bone problems that are incredibly painful and restrict the donkey’s ability to walk and find food.
All of the sanctuary's resident donkeys (and one mule) receive regular medical care, meals, and lots of love, thanks to donations and support for the local community. On just 12 acres of land, they’re running at full capacity.
“People ask me to take on new donkeys and I just can’t. I don’t have anywhere to put them,” Carlen said. “We try to separate them when they’re eating so they don’t get into each other’s food, so they each need a stall of their own. It’s really hard."
Carlenand Jim are in the process of building a new, 46-acre sanctuary on Orcutt Road in San Luis Obispo. Pete Clark and Clark Company Real Estate had the pleasure of representing the seller in this transaction and are excited to see the new sanctuary, which will allow the sanctuary to rescue more donkeys in need and provide them with a loving forever home.
The property will have almost four times the space, which means there will be plenty of room for individual stalls and a bigger, better barn with a specially designed medical room.
However, the sanctuary relies primarily on donations from the public. People can donate to help pay for the new facility or they can sponsor a donkey, which helps pay for food and dietary supplements, regular vet check ups, hoof care, supplies, and more
“There are 44 million donkeys in the world and most of them have really hard lives,” Jim said. “Your donations help us provide lifetime homes for our donkeys."
For more information or to make a donation, visit ranchoburrodonkeysanctuary.org.