Our Story

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada was founded in August 1992 by Sandra Pady in Puslinch, Ontario with the vision of creating a sanctuary where donkeys, mules and hinnies could live free from neglect and abuse.

Sunshine
1992
The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada was registered as a charity in August, 1992. The origins began a couple of years earlier when circumstances led Sandra to foster three donkeys. From the first day that Riley, Bronwyn and Apache trotted into her life, Sandra was captivated. She could not get enough of the donkeys’ gentle stillness and soothing, restful presence, and found herself spending more and more time with them.
The Sanctuary's first donkey
Sandra’s first opportunity to rescue a donkey came unexpectedly. A neighbouring farmer had bought a donkey to guard a herd of goats. When the little donkey proved to be an ineffective guardian, the farmer saw no use for him and confined him to a stall, where he remained, lonely and despondent.

When Sandra learned about the donkey, she arranged to purchase him. Thus, Sebastian became the first donkey to be rescued by what was to become the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada (DSC).
Making international connections
Though initially, Sandra had not considered the possibility of their farm becoming a sanctuary. It was only after friends mentioned there were several donkey sanctuaries in England that she started to research them and to write letters requesting information.

Dr. Elizabeth Svendsen, founder of The Donkey Sanctuary in Great Britain - the world’s largest donkey sanctuary - replied immediately to Sandra’s queries, encouraging her to start a sanctuary in Canada. In addition, Dr. Svendsen provided helpful advice about organization and fundraising.

Our Mission

To provide a lifelong home to donkeys, mules and hinnies who are unwanted, neglected or abused, or whose owners can no longer care for them; and to promote the responsible stewardship of all animals through humane education.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which the dignity and worth of all creatures are recognized and respected.

Our Charter

We grant to every animal admitted:

  • peace, freedom and protection
  • the best possible care and medical attention
  • the right of life regardless of age or condition
  • a dignified, peaceful death, induced only in the event of extreme suffering and the loss of quality of life


We work to uphold the five freedoms:

  • freedom from hunger and thirst
  • freedom from discomfort
  • freedom from pain
  • freedom to express normal behaviour
  • freedom from fear and distress

We’re GFAS-Accredited! 

Learn more about what this means and why it is important to the donkeys and our supporters!

On September 28, 2017, The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada became the first equine sanctuary in Canada to have received accreditation from The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS).

GFAS is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting and strengthening the work of animal sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers across the world. It is the only globally recognized organization to provide validation of quality animal sanctuaries through a thorough evaluation process.

To be granted an accreditation by GFAS, sanctuaries must meet rigorous standards in regards to housing, nutrition requirements, veterinary care, well-being of animals, adoption and fostering and rescue policies.

We are proud to be the first-ever Canadian equine sanctuary to be granted accreditation. It demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest standards of care for all of our donkeys, mules and hinnies. It also demonstrates our responsible administration of the charity through strict governance policies and expertise management of operations.

DSC Organization Info

Board of Directors

Chair:  Elaine Crossland

Vice-Chair: Colleen Morrow

Directors

Katrina Merkies

Lena Levison

Renata Rusiniak

Brooke Billings

Paula Stanghetta

Ex Officio: Lesley Bayne, Executive Director

Founder: Sandra Pady

Staff

Lesley by pond (2)

Lesley Bayne

Executive Director
Brendan-Cole-Facilities-Manager_1

Brendan Cole

Facilities Manager
Melissa-Nantais-Fund-Development-Manager

Melissa Nantais

Fund Development Manager
Natalie-Pagnan-Office-Manager

Natalie Pagnan

Office Manager
Lyse-van-Arragon

Lyse van Arragon

Manager, Long Ears Boutique
Kayla-Johnson-Donkey-Welfare-and-Education-Manager

Kayla Johnson

Donkey Welfare and
Education Manager
Jessie-Doxey-Animal-Care---Medical-and-Barns

Jessie Doxey

Animal Care -
Medical and Barns
Grace-Paura-Animal-Care---Animal-Trainer

Grace Paura

Animal Care -
Animal Trainer
Martina-Brown-Stewardship-Officer

Martina Brown

Stewardship Officer
Julia-Casey-Animal-Care-Assistant

Julia Casey

Animal Care Assistant
Kishori-Opatha-Volunteer-Coordinator

Kishori Opatha

Volunteer Coordinator
Janine-Holman-Educational-Coordinator

Janine Holman

Educational Coordinator
Teagan-Bridges-Animal-Care-Coordinator-(part-time)

Teagan Bridges

Animal Care Coordinator
(part-time)
Sydney-Topfer-Animal-Care-Assistant-(Part-time)

Sydney Topfer

Animal Care Assistant
(part-time)

Donate

To achieve our mission, we rely on the generous support of individuals like you, who share our commitment to donkeys. Your donations could help rescue a donkey who is experiencing neglect, a mule who has never felt a gentle human hand, or teach equine caretakers the difference between a donkey and a horse so they can help donkeys thrive in different environments.

In appreciation for your support, donors receive a discount to our Open Days!
Please email info@thedonkeysanctuary.ca
for more information.