Having saved the first donkey in 1972, Jo-Anne Kokas (OAM) formed The Good Samaritan Donkey Sanctuary Inc. (GSDS) to care for rescued donkeys in 1990. Shortly afterwards it became a registered charity.
Specifically, it offers shelter, food, refuge and care for abandoned, lonely and ill donkeys. And it also helps owners who are no longer able to care for their donkeys due to poor health or needing to move residence.
Most donkeys come to the attention of the GSDS via the public, RSPCA, police or rangers. Typically, donkeys are delivered to the Sanctuary but often it must organise collection from hundreds, even thousands of kilometres.
The GSDS covers some 300 acres, its paddocks provide hilly and flat grazing land. It also features an Intensive Care Unit with stalls and equipment to cater for very sick donkeys in need of constant care.
The total herd fluctuates between 70 and 150 donkeys, with up to 25 in the ICU. A further 100 donkeys are fostered out, mostly as companion but occasionally as work-animals. Donkeys are renowned guardians, protecting herds of sheep and goats from wild dogs. Fostered donkeys remain the property of the GSDS so they can be returned to the Sanctuary should their living or health circumstances change.
The GSDS is a non-profit registered charity. Without government funding, it is reliant on the generosity of the donkey-loving public.