"...Inyo County Animal Control was contacted on multiple occasions by several citizens who had serious concerns regarding the treatment of burros at the “Wild Burro Rescue and Preservation Project” in Olancha, CA. After an investigation, it was concluded that indeed the burros at this facility were suffering severe neglect such as overgrown hooves and lack of veterinary care.
“It appears to be a hoarding situation” said Mark Meyers.
Mark Meyers, Executive Director of the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (PVDR) was contacted for assistance. Officer Richardson found PVDR after doing a quick search of organizations that might be able to assist given that there are over 160 animals at the facility..."
In all, 150 former Death Valley Burros, 9 horses and 7 mules were removed from the "rescue". The animals are currently stuck in limbo awaiting the results of the criminal case against Diane Chontos. They have all had their extensive dental work completed ($26,000) and the first round of hoof restoration was completed.
Olancha Rescue Case Bullet Points
- 5 PVDR transport rigs
- 1 from VA
- 3 from TX
- 1 from AZ
- Mark Meyers was already out there working on the wild burro capture
- 12 trailer loads in all
- The animals are being kept in an undisclosed location but because there is a pending court case, we cannot remove them from the state. So aside from the associated costs, we have to dedicate an employee from our already overworked staff to keep these animals fed and protected. We will start reconstructive hoof care immediately, we will also be doing complete
- Dentals ($200 per donkey).
- We also will be doing our normal processing procedures.
- 150 donkeys
- 9 horses (including one Belgium Draft)
- 7 Mules
- 6 euthanized
- Severe neglect.
- Hooves and Teeth are in terrible shape, never treated.
- The were no gates…Only about 5% of the pens/corrals/paddocks had gates. The rest were bolted together indicating that the animals were never removed for treatment of any kind. The few gates that existed were inoperable from the pens never being cleaned.
- There was no order to the pen placement. It was obvious that Dianna had no experience in managing large animals.
- Jacks were kept next to jennet, creating frustration and further compounding the torment these animals suffered.
- There was no equipment to “work” the animals. Every large animal facility had tubs, alleys and chutes to facilitate hoof trimming, vaccines, deworming, etc.
- The hay being fed was mainly stalks and the donkeys only ate parts leaving a lot of waste on the ground to combine with the manure and create a disgusting soup that we all were covered in it by the time we finished the two days of loading.
While we were gone and short handed in Texas, we had a huge wind storm. One of our giant shelters was completely destroyed along with various building roofs. No donkeys were injured.
This is why rescues fail.