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Friday, 11 December 2015 12:06

Burros Removed from Busy Thoroughfares

Animals Will be Relocated, Placed up for Adoptions

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9, 2015 – Riverside County Animal Services officers corralled and removed 18 burros on Tuesday from a Highgrove neighborhood, just north of Riverside.

The area, located between Spring and Center streets and parallel with Mount Vernon Avenue, has been known as a gathering area for the wild burros of Reche Canyon. There is a field where the burros have been congregating, often because people have been feeding the burros illegally and with great regularity.

The area is also near a section of train tracks that Metrolink will be using for additional train service, as part of the expansion of the 91/Perris Valley Line, scheduled to start operating in early 2016.

Animal Services Director Robert Miller participated in observing and assisting a team of his officers skilled in large-animal handling during Tuesday’s activity. He said the burros were removed for their own protection.

“The burro activity on or near the new Metrolink project is definitely a public safety issue,” Miller said. “The potential for serious injuries to people or burros in the vicinity of the train tracks kicked us into action.”

This area is clearly a problem area for motorists, too, Miller said. Just last week, a motorist driving on Palmyrita Avenue struck a burro before midnight Monday (Nov. 30), causing injuries to the animal, and forcing an animal control officer to euthanize it. “It’s our humane duty to do all we can to prevent further serious crashes.” Miller said.

All but two of the burros picked up on Tuesday are currently being cared for at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley. The goal is that all burros will be placed up for adoption, transferred to rescue group partners or the county will relocate some to safer Riverside County locations.

Two juvenile burros removed were directly sent to DonkeyLand Rescue Center, a nonprofit organization specializing in caring for special-needs cases involving the burros of Reche Canyon. Burros have existed in Reche Canyon for roughly 50 years. They are not native to the area. A few of them were freed into the canyon by a rancher and have multiplied to an estimated 300 to 500 burros, according to various sources.

“The critical message we want to share is that the burros are now safe,” Miller said. “We took this action in hopes of saving lives and preventing serious accidents. We want people to be safe and we definitely do not take any pleasure in responding to calls involving a suffering burro.”

Riverside County Chief Veterinarian Dr. Allan Drusys was also present when the burros were corralled. He stayed on sight to ensure the health and welfare of the burros. He also examined them and said their health appears excellent – but some may actually be overweight. 

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