How to help the Sanctuary:



Early in June 2010 we were invited by RTE ONE to present an interview for national radio and television news coverage to highlight the equine crisis in Ireland and explain the plight of the vast numbers of horses, ponies and donkeys suffering through neglect and abandonment as a result of overbreeding and lack of traceability, all exacerbated by the financial recession. We were joined by Kevin McGinley, ISPCA Inspector, who expressed some of the main concerns of the ISPCA and told a harrowing story of a recent pony abandonment. The interview was broadcast on Bank Holiday Monday, 7th June, on the radio and on both the 6pm and 9pm television news. The resulting impact was huge and we extend considerable thanks to Bernadette O’Sullivan who set the ball rolling and to her Sligo colleague Eileen Magna who organised the interviews and highlighted our need for funds to buy extra land for the use of the Sanctuary animals. On the day of the broadcasts we had well over 4000 page hits on our website; a month's worth in one day! . . . and it continued. For the rest of the summer our feet never touched the ground with continuous phone calls and visitors to the Sanctuary; most of it with very positive results.

All of which boosted the already huge response to the Land Appeal (see below); many supported our appeal for funds to buy extra land adjacent to the Sanctuary by donating, sometimes considerable sums of money, and by running their own fundraising events (enormous thank you's are in order!) and we are absolutely delighted to report that negotiations to purchase this further 16 acres were successful!

Thank You, you are truly amazing!


We are now carrying out maintenance to the boundaries and planning extra fences and gateways, hedges, shelter belt planting, field shelters etc etc.... the list grows daily. See Newsletter Spring 2011 to see the new road down the side of the 10 acre field.


donkeys playing

We have just been offered the opportunity to purchase 16 acres of land adjacent to and contiguous with the Sanctuary, which would enormously benefit the animals in our care by doubling our grazing area. We currently rent over €3,000 worth of summer grazing to cater for the increased numbers in care or awaiting rehoming.

The purchase price is €58,000 of which we have already saved €10,000 but the rest is needed urgently.

We earnestly acknowledge the considerable support already given over the 20 years of the Sanctuary’s work and know it’s a huge ‘ask’ in the current economic climate to raise this large sum of money but if you feel you can help in any way, however small, from direct donation to fundraising events of all kinds, we’d love to hear from you.

Never before have we asked directly for financial help, preferring people to decide for themselves if they wish to contribute towards our work, and it goes against the grain to be asking now, but as this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity we feel we must include you, our loyal supporters, in this challenge.

Please, please, help us to continue helping donkeys and other equines in distress into the future.

Thank you from all at the Sanctuary





The white line shows the existing Sanctuary boundary.

The added red line shows the approximate boundary of the land offered for sale.








Donations and the Adopt-a-Donkey Scheme

If you would like to support the donkeys, donations of cash or feedstuffs (including carrots and ginger biscuits) are always appreciated.

Should you wish to sponsor one of the donkeys on the Adopt-a-Donkey Scheme, we recommend a minimum payment of €15 a year for which you will receive a signed certificate of adoption, a photograph of your chosen donkey and two newsletters within the year of sponsorship.

As a special gift for a relative or friend we will gladly include your personal greetings card, if you send it to us with an adoption application.

See below for the animals available for sponsorship

To Adopt-a-Donkey, please send your details along with your donation to the address below:

Adoption forms can be downloaded here:

Pages 1-4

Pages 2-3

Pages 1-4

Pages 2-3


Sue Paling


Sathya Sai Sanctuary Trust for Nature


County Sligo


Email address
00 353 (0) 7196 66196


The following animals are available for sponsorship under our Adopt-a-Donkey/Pony Scheme:

Joshua - a real boy, pushy, affectionate, used to getting his own way (with charm!) and loves nibbling buttons, zips, toggles, handbags and clothing; especially if he gets more cuddles that way.
Roki - an unusually marked “spotty” donkey gelding with a penchant for food especially carrots and ginger biscuits. He came to us when his previous owner, who had rescued him from an abusive situation, was obliged to move abroad
Luke - a handsome, strong, fawn coloured gelding with beautiful markings, who came to us as a 6 month old foal with his severely abused dam, Lady. When Lady died two years later Luke bonded inseparably with Morestina.
Benny - is an attractive mousey coloured gelding with dusty black points and a duo tone mane. He is a stocky little fellow with an ebullient nature who’s special friend is an older dark brown mare called Tessa, who suffers with lameness problems.

- came to us when his previous owner moved abroad.
Tommi is quite a nervous donkey with a chestnut, slightly shaggy coat and a mild spinal problem which makes him unsuitable for riding or driving.

Molly - came to stay at the Sanctuary as
a chronic laminitic who was being bullied by her bigger
companions. She is an adorable 11.2 hh pony mare with a gentle
and affectionate nature. She is the youngest of five small ponies at
around 11 years old.


Most of the donkeys who come to the Sathya Sai Sanctuary are elderly. Many are ex-working donkeys who have laboured for years bringing in the hay and the turf, carrying the milk churns to the creamery and even ploughing and harrowing the fields. Nowadays this work is done by tractors and other farm machinery.

They come to us from many sources: voluntary relinquishment when their owners can no longer care for them or have died; abandonment, when they are usually found loose on the road; or in cases of severe neglect or cruelty. The most common problems involve neglect of their hooves due to insufficient, inadequate and unprofessional trimming, plus keeping the animals in unsuitable conditions such as on wet, acid land with no recourse to somewhere dry.

Other common problems include skin disorders such as mud fever and rain scald due to living out, without shelter in Ireland’s wet climate. Whilst native ponies have waterproof coats, donkeys are indigenous to the hot, dry climates of Africa and Asia and have no waterproofing in their coats. They unquestionably require a dry shed for shelter.

Harness sores are rarely found these days but it is not uncommon to find a donkey or pony with rope burns or wounds on the face from having too tight a halter or headcollar left on permanently. On a young animal that is still growing this can prove disastrous.

Adoption fee : €15 per year. Thank you


The Foster Loan Scheme

Occasionally we have donkeys, ponies and horses that we feel would benefit from being in a smaller group where they would get more attention from just one or two people and not have to deal with the many visitors we have at the Sanctuary. When these animals become available we offer them on our Foster Loan Scheme.

This scheme works as a permanent loan of the animal to an individual or family who is prepared to abide by certain requirements laid down by the Sai Sanctuary. Many people have a misguided idea of what fostering is about. Almost all the animals that end up in a welfare situation have been neglected or traumatised in some way and many have a ‘history’ about which we have little or no information. The popular concept that quiet, easily managed, fully trained children’s riding ponies are available for free from equine rescue societies is a complete nonsense! Show quality ponies and horses are likewise rarely found in welfare situations unless they are aged or have been damaged in some way. Breeding mares, when available, come under our non-breeding policy.

We ask, therefore, that anyone interested in fostering an equine long term, seriously considers whether they have the facilities, the time, the patience and the love to give to animals which have, in all probability, suffered at the hands of humankind and may be defensive, timid and untrusting. Almost all will make a full recovery and become loving pets given time and loads of TLC. Many youngsters may be viable for training for both riding and driving but will rarely arrive on your doorstep with these skills!

It is highly recommended that you spend time visiting your chosen animal at the Sanctuary to get to know him/her and to ensure that you actually like each other as this is NOT an automatic guarantee! Inexperienced people will be required to learn the basics of equine care at the Sanctuary prior to delivery of their foster animal.


Conditions of Fostering

1. Donkeys are only ever placed in pairs as they are sociable animals who hate being on their own and are often noisy, become depressed, or develop into delinquent escape artists when they are lonely (sometimes all three)!

2. With horses and ponies preference will be given to a situation where other equines are already present as they too are sociable animals who, with a few exceptions, prefer company.

3. All applicants must agree to be homechecked prior to receiving an animal and be available for further checks, without notice, at any time in the future.

4. If for any reason the applicant is no longer able to continue keeping the animal(s) it must be returned to the Sai Sanctuary. It cannot be sold, rehomed or moved to other premises.

5. If, for any reason the Sai Sanctuary feels the animal(s) is unhappy or is being neglected or abused in the foster home situation, they reserve the right to remove the animal(s) without delay.

6. The Sai Sanctuary operates a strict non-breeding policy. All males are gelded prior to fostering. Any foal(s) born to a mare or filly while in the foster home belong to the Sai Sanctuary and are covered by all the same policies as above.

If you feel you can work with all of the above and wish to become a Sai Fosterer in Southern Ireland , please complete the form below and either email to or post to: The Sathya Sai Sanctuary, Castlebaldwin, Co. Sligo.

Thank you.

Application for Foster Home

Foster Home Regulations