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Thursday, 17 December 2015 11:30

County Seeks Adopters for Burros

Adoption Price Set at $50 to Encourage Interest

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 16, 2015 – Setting up a Nativity scene? Need a burro or two? Riverside County is now offering wild burros for adoption. (Sorry, you’ll have to find your own wise men.) The adoption fee is $50.

The burros were recently impounded from a pocket of land near a new Metrolink project area in the Highgrove area just north of Riverside. Animal Control officers with Riverside County Animal Services rounded up 19 burros last week. More burros are expected to be impounded in what is described as an ongoing operation.

“We’re trying to round up roughly 40 burros from a sub herd of the much larger herds famous in the Reche Canyon area,” Animal Services Director Robert Miller said. “This herd is the only known grouping in this particular pocket of Riverside County. Our intent is to preserve this sub herd by removing it from what will be a dangerous situation.”

A new Metrolink project, scheduled to start running in early 2016, will result in new train runs through the area where the burros have often wandered to and near. The burros, although described as wild or undomesticated, have exhibited very docile behavior tendencies. The burros’ mellow demeanor is attributed to a long-standing tradition of passersby feeding the burros carrots and apples, drawing them closer and closer to an industrial park and residential communities in the Highgrove area.

“We know that people have been feeding the burros for many years,” Animal Services field Commander Rita Gutierrez said. “That’s why, in our shelter, the burros are exhibiting a docile behavior. They are very easy to be around and approach. You can pet some of them without the animal getting skittish.” However, she said, adopters should know that the burros are defined as undomesticated. “Can they be domesticated? Yes, but it’ll take a lot of effort and time. Eventually they can become very tame.”

Riverside County Chief Veterinarian Dr. Allan Drusys, whose expertise is in equine veterinary work, said the burros are in very good health. He, too, cautioned adopters from considering the burro similar to a horse that can be broken. “An adopter shouldn’t think they’ll be able to put a halter on one and lead it on a rope from one place to the next.”

Of the 19 burros rounded up so far, two juvenile burros and one adult female have already been taken in by DonkeyLand Rescue, a local, nonprofit organization that has operated as a sanctuary for injured burros.

“The intent of this operation is to ensure we don’t lose a burro to another serious car accident or incident along the train tracks,” Miller said. “We know these burros have many advocates in this area, and we want to ensure these folks that the burros are being removed to make sure they live long, healthy lives.”