I first encountered Safe Haven in December 2015 when my Uncle and his partner gifted me a letter saying they had donated enough money to feed a donkey for a week as part of my present. Last year they sponsored a donkey for a whole year from the sanctuary, and I’m happy to say that Freddie is doing well, thanks to Safe Haven.
I spoke to Wendy Ahl who kindly agreed to answer a few questions about the work they do at the sanctuary.
Head over to the shop to help support this fantastic organisation – and enjoy the interview!
Hi Wendy! Can you tell us a little bit about Safe Haven?
Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land is a British-registered charity and its purpose is to care for donkeys in Israel and Palestine. These animals are very much still in use as beasts of burden but are so cheap to buy that if a donkey is too old to work or gets sick, it is easier for the owners simply to abandon it and buy another. This is where Safe Haven comes in – we have a sanctuary near the Israeli town of Netanya where we take in abandoned or unwanted donkeys. They come to us from all sorts of situations – we have donkeys that have been found at the side of a busy road, donkeys that have been tortured and others where the owner has simply called us and asked if we can take them in. All have a home with us for life. The charity’s work does not however stop at the sanctuary gates. Each month, we reach out to hundreds of working donkeys, mules and horses through our free veterinary clinics across Israel and Palestine. Our mobile clinic visits around 20 locations each month to try and keep the animals healthy enough to be of use to the owners who rely on them. In the long term, the only way to really help the donkeys is to change the attitudes of the owners and so education on animal welfare is also a vital part of our work.
Where did the idea to create Safe Haven come from?
It came from the discovery that although there were sanctuaries in Israel for small animals such as cats and dogs, there was nowhere for donkeys to go. There was a real need and so Safe Haven was born.
How many donkeys have you rescued so far?
We currently have 231 at the sanctuary but as we have rehomed some over the years and have sadly lost others due to age or illness, the total figure rescued is much higher.
How does the fundraising and donations help you?
We rely entirely on donations from members of the public to continue our much-needed work; we receive no statutory funding. If it wasn’t for the wonderful people from around the world who donate, sponsor a donkey or buy our donkey-themed gifts, we quite simply would not be here and we are very grateful to each and every person who supports us.
How and where can readers get in touch?
Our website is www.safehaven4donkeys.org or readers can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01444 470136 or even write to Unit 23 More House Farm, Ditchling Road, Wivelsfield, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 7RE.